Kelly Carlin nicely defies expectations. Having grown up in an L.A. celebrity home, she is authentic and down-to-earth. The daughter of one of America's most acclaimed stand-up comedians, she's felt no need to try to be a jokester. And in a town where people with her family-name situation have projects greenlit, regardless of having a command of the craft or a story to tell, she backs up her solo show, A Carlin Home Companion: Growing Up With George, with formidable talent and a seasoned writer's sense of story, pacing and emotional impact. In this gripping and funny yet poignant show, expertly directed by Paul Provenza, Carlin tells the story of father George Carlin's ascent from 1950s working-class Manhattan streets to comedy superstardom in L.A., all while he maintained a far-out, bohemian, tumultuous home alongside wife Brenda Hosbrook and daughter Kelly. The video clips of his act interspersed throughout are fascinating, hilarious and smartly tied in to the content of the show. "Even though my dad was known as the go-to, truth-teller guy, part of my family's history and dynamic was this co-dependent, alcoholic, addiction-denial dance we did with each other." Kelly Carlin says. "And strangely, maybe unexpectedly, I've realized how my father's journey mirrors my own." Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 Fourth St., Santa Monica; Thurs., Dec. 20, 8 p.m.; $20. (310) 394-9779.
Thu., Dec. 20, 8 p.m., 2012