George Carlin is undoubtedly one of the greatest stand-up comedians of all-time, and now—like Lenny Bruce before him—he’ll be the subject of his very own biopic, as the Jackal Group has hired Moneyball screenwriter Stan Chervin to pen the script.
Carlin influenced an entire generation (or two) of comics, and he was known for pushing the envelope with his razor-sharp observations on language, politics, religion, and the world. His “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television” bit made it all the way to the Supreme Court, though many cable networks have since relaxed their strict rules on swearing, surely much to his chagrin.
Carlin hosted the first Saturday Night Live, recorded 14 HBO comedy specials, wrote three bestselling books, and won five Grammy Awards for his solo comedy albums. He also appeared on The Tonight Show more than 130 times and was awarded the Freedom of Speech Award by the First Amendment Center and the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in 2002. In addition to being exceptionally witty, Carlin was also a good actor, having appeared in the Bill & Ted movies and a trio of Kevin Smith films. In June 2008, he was named the 11th recipient of The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, and he died later that month at the age of 71.
The Jackal Group has acquired exclusive rights to produce an official Carlin biopic, which will be produced by its chairman/CEO Gail Berman and president Joe Earley. Chervin will also produce along with Carlin’s former agent, Bruce Kaufman of Wood Hollow Pictures, as well as Jerry Hamza, Carlin’s best friend, former manager, and the executor of his estate.
“We are honored to tell the story of one of the most important and influential comedians of all time, and to do so alongside those who knew him best. In addition to shaping comedy and culture for decades, and entertaining generations of audiences, Carlin’s battle to protect free speech continues to impact our daily lives and is as relevant as ever,” Berman and Earley said in a joint statement.
“I’m very excited to be involved with a film based on George’s life. It was wasn’t until after George died, I realized he was a hero. As a performer, George would never ‘sell out,’ and never comprise his beliefs – I learned so much from him. I think the public will be very happy to learn about George’s life. He was truly the top of the ladder in his field,” added Hamza.
Chervin received an Oscar nomination for co-writing Moneyball with Aaron Sorkin and Steve Zaillian. He’s represented by ICM Partners.