Recorded at Beverly Theatre, Beverly Hills, California.
Composer: George Carlin.
Audio Mixer: Bob Merritt.
Recording information: Beverly Theatre, Beverly Hills CA.
Editor: Bob Merritt.
Playin' With Your Head turned out to be a landmark outing for George Carlin -- the last truly funny album he made before attempting to become his old mentor, Lenny Bruce, and spent the '90s railing against right-wingers in most unamusing fashion. The less-topical, more lighthearted routines here are complemented by Carlin's devastating sense of timing, which had never been sharper (newly sober, he'd completely ditched the stoner voice and meandering riffs that sometimes marred his '70s work) and makes even the corny and mean-spirited material work. But most of these segments, culled from a performance recorded at the Beverly Theatre in Los Angeles, are much better than that; overall, this is a fine companion piece to his 1981 classic, A Place for My Stuff, with "Losing Things" and "You're Lost" offering the same hilarious examination of a mundane and universal experience ("That's the first thing that happens when you get to heaven -- they give you back everything you ever lost. That's the whole meaning of heaven!") that Carlin perfected on that album's title track. Other gems in the same vein include "Love and Regards" and "Sports," which posits baseball, football, and basketball as the only real sports and takes down all the pretenders ("Swimming isn't a sport -- it's a way to keep from drowning! That's common sense!"). The disappointment of hearing Carlin at the top of his game here is that it didn't last past this recording, but at a time when comedy albums were beginning to pop up by the dozen, this one stood -- and still stands -- as one of the best of its era. ~ Dan LeRoy