You Are All Diseased (1999)
HBO special and album
Recorded on February 6, 1999 at the Beacon Theater, NYC
Eardrum Records / Atlantic Recording Corporation / Wea International Inc.
Location sound by Terry Kulchar. Edited by Mike Stone. Mastered by Steve Hall at Future Disc, Hollywood CA.
Art Direction & Design by Benjamin Niles. Special support and applause: Sally Wade.
I remember anxiously awaiting this show. I had my VCR all set and ready to record the live broadcast on HBO. And taped it, I did. If there’s a performance of his that I’ve long considered to be Carlin’s magnum opus, it’s You Are All Diseased. The title itself appeared as a single, isolated line in the book Brain Droppings (1997).
The album closes with two pieces that have since become Carlin classics: “Religion” and “There Is No God”. I made a point in closing the very first episode of my podcast with these, and starting with the track “Angels”. He had done an earlier version of these on the George Carlin: 40 Years of Comedy (1997) special, and I saw him do the pieces live on the road in 1998 or so. In fact when I saw him live, the piece was preceded by his rant on “American Bullshit”, and the line he used to segue into the “Religion” piece was: “There’s enough bullshit in the news media to fill a second Bible.” By the time he recorded You Are All Diseased, he had changed the set to include the routine “Businessmen”, which meant changing his segue line into “In the bullshit department, a businessman can’t hold a candle to a clergyman.”
You Are All Diseased was nominated in 2000 for the Grammy for Best Comedy Album, but lost to Chris Rock’s Bigger & Blacker.
The liner notes to the You Are All Diseased album include several quotations:
“Morality is the best of all devices for leading mankind by the nose.” - Nietzsche
“If you want to see the dregs of society, go down to the jail and watch the change of the guard.” - Mark Twain
“When a man ceases to believe in God, he does not believe in nothing. He believes in everything.” - G.K. Chesterton
“We’re all hostages from hell, and all we can do is cry for mercy.” - Marshall Efron
“Paranoia - you only have to be right once to make it all worthwhile.” - unknown
“The right people never get hurt.” - Reid Fleming: The World’s Toughest Milkman