'The Sopranos,' 'Larry Sanders' & more: 20 great shows from 40 years of HBO
Great dramas, comedies, concert specials and more illustrate the pay cable channel's sweep
"George Carlin: What Am I Doing in New Jersey?" (1988)
You could cite any of Carlin's many HBO specials as your favorite, and I wouldn't object. Me, I've always had a fondness for this one, not just because it was filmed in my home state, not just because it was released at a time when I was turning myself into a real student of stand-up comedy, but because it's the moment when Carlin's persona, and career, transformed forever. This is the beginning of Carlin's angry period, and it is glorious to behold, whether he's ranting against political hypocrisy (his attack on the Rev. Donald Wildmon is, unsurprisingly, a delight) or giving us a long list of the people he can do without, including: "guys in their fifties named "Skip." Anyone who pays for vaginal jelly with an Exxon credit card. An airline pilot who has on two different shoes. A proctologist with poor depth perception. A pimp who drives a Toyota Corolla."