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Last Words [Kindle Edition]

George Carlin , Tony Hendra
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (230 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $10.38
You Save: $5.62 (35%)
Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc

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Book Description

This ebook features added multimedia content: an interview with George Carlin’s daughter Kelly about life with her dad, and a tribute video with interviews with Susie Essman, Michael Ian Black, Richard Belzer, George Wendt, and Jeffrey Ross, who talk about Carlin’s incredible ability to make people laugh.

One of the undisputed heavyweight champions of American comedy, with nineteen appearances on the Johnny Carson show, thirteen HBO specials, five Grammys, and a critical Supreme Court battle over censorship under his belt, George Carlin saw it all throughout his extraordinary fifty-year career, and made fun of most of it. Last Words is the story of the man behind some of the most seminal comedy of the last half century, blending his signature acerbic humor with never-before-told stories from his own life, including encounters with a Who’s Who of 1970s celebrity—from Lenny Bruce to Hugh Hefner—and the origins of some of his most famous standup routines. Carlin’s early conflicts, his long struggle with substance abuse, his turbulent relationships with his family, and his triumphs over catastrophic setbacks all fueled the unique comedic worldview he brought to the stage. From the heights of stardom to the low points few knew about, Last Words is told with the same razor-sharp wit and unblinking honesty that made Carlin one of the best-loved comedians in American history


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

For more than a decade before his 2008 death, groundbreaking stand-up comedian Carlin had been working on his autobiography with writer Hendra (Father Joe), who finished it by distilling hours of conversations with the irascible social commentator. Armed with an eye for detail and a seemingly photographic memory, Carlin retraces his life in full, chronicling petty crimes and stolen kisses, escalating drug problems and the death of his wife with unflinching honesty. He applies that same precision to the mechanics of comedy, giving would-be comics a veteran's insight into the dynamics of crowds, the structure of a performance and the importance (or unimportance) of the social and political landscape. Tracing his evolution as a comedian from the first time he made his mother laugh to performing for an empty room in Baltimore to the series of HBO specials he made over the course of his career, Carlin peppers his narrative with the routines that have made him famous (though this is no gagfest, a la Brain Droppings, When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?, etc.). Throughout, Carlin comes off as a smart, humble everyman with a strong distaste for hypocrisy in all its forms; fans may be surprised at his discipline and drive, and anyone interested in comedy should find this autobio as illuminating as it is funny.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"Seven particular words are associated with the late comedian George Carlin, and sentimental is not one of them. But that's the surprising portrait that emerges from Last Words."

--Houston Chronicle


Product Details

  • File Size: 85847 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; Reprint edition (November 10, 2009)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002U4XPK6
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,552 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
604 of 615 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What can I say? November 10, 2009
Format:Hardcover
Okay, so I AM biased. BUT! I even learned things about my dad that I didn't know. So imagine, if you are a fan, how fun it will be for you. My dad kept his inner life pretty close to his chest, and in this book he shows his hand fully.

Enjoy.
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136 of 143 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars RICK "SHAQ" GOLDSTEIN SAYS: "HOW CARLIN BECAME CARLIN." November 12, 2009
Format:Hardcover
This long overdue posthumously released biography of comic genius George Carlin provides fans detailed personal information in a no holds barred format. Though there are bits and pieces of his famed skits... that is not the reason you should buy this book. There are innumerable videos... DVD's and albums available that contain unlimited sketches. What the reader learns within these pages... is what George eventually... with a lot of self-searching... learned about himself over a lifetime. Carlin had to eventually come to grips with what he felt and believed as a person... through an introspective journey... that encompassed painful truths of his parental heritage... childhood environs... religious culture and beliefs... along with alcohol and drug abuse.

The fact that George was developing this book for almost fifteen years is explained in an enlightening introduction by his friend Tony Hendra. A summary of why this book took so long to be born... could probably be best described by a John Lennon lyric: "LIFE IS WHAT HAPPENS WHILE YOU'RE BUSY MAKING OTHER PLANS." Though George may have been a "Clown-Prince" on stage... his family's foundation was less than regal. His Father was an alcoholic bully... who beat George's beloved older brother... and self-proclaimed "best pal" Patrick from the time he was small... thus leading to the family's separation. In one chilling scene Carlin's Mother is sitting in a Doctor's office... mere minutes away from aborting George. "MY MOTHER'S PRIMARY MOTIVE IN LEAVING MY FATHER WAS TO PROTECT ME FROM THE BEATINGS HE GAVE LITTLE PATRICK." Patrick was a role model for George... and not always in the best of lights. As an example when George followed Patrick into the Air Force the Carlin boys accrued five court- martial's between them.
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84 of 87 people found the following review helpful
By J. Ward
Format:Hardcover
I picked up this book yesterday and finished it this morning. It is a revelatory read, as George's previous three books are along the lines of his standup material, whereas this book is a narrative. We finally get a full three-hundred page book worth of the "real George" that we saw glimpses of throughout the years in his interviews and less guarded moments.

As a lifelong fan of Carlin, I could never understand why there weren't a ton of biographies written about him. There are lots of revelatory moments in the book; the amount of catastrophe that followed Mr. Carlin around in the 70s and 80s is truly staggering. However, George never displays a victim mentality; he never blames others for his problems, and his attitude as the narrator is charitable towards the individuals he knew.

It is made clear how easy it would have been for George to take the path of least resistance at his turning point in the early 1980s, struggling with a cocaine problem and owing massive amounts of back taxes. It is also made clear just how much of a lifesaver his 1980s business manager, Jerry Hamza, was for George.

Carlin details his business problems as well as all of his heart problems and heart surgeries, and he dives headlong into the mess of the 1970s and talks about his years of drug abuse very candidly, as well as his marriage to Brenda Carlin (née Hosbrook) and his wonderful daughter Kelly. He talks candidly about both his and his wife's near-death experiences in the 1970s and 1980s, and her death in 1998 from liver cancer.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book, shoddy production. November 23, 2009
By Raymond
Format:Kindle Edition
I have just finished reading the Kindle edition of "Last Words" and it's brilliant and funny and well worth reading. However, I was struck by how awful the copy editing and production is. The book is so full of typos it's like reading a blog or something. Words are run together, and many proper names are uncapitalized. The title of chapter 18 is written as "BWING, DOING, GETTING", for instance (it's correctly written as "BEING", not "BWING", in the TOC). The photo at the head of Chapter 15, identified as "George and Patrick Carlin", is in fact a photo of Carlin performing, repeated from the previous chapter. And so on. Really, this is shockingly bad. I hope the print edition is better.

Still, great book!
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars (Soon To Be Famous) Last Words. November 11, 2009
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Most comedians have a short shelf life. They blaze onto the scene at the right time, and for a while they're molten, seeming to capture the zeitgeist. They say what people want to hear, perhaps validate some prejudices, and then they fade from the scene. Carlin continues to burn bright, even now, because he captured something lasting and true while still managing to be a rebel - a nearly impossible task. He was an intelligent man, perhaps a genius, and spoke to other thinking people. He pointed out hypocrisy, he punctured some sacred cows, and he made us give thought to the words we take for granted and the words we assign too much power.

Here now is his life in his words. The mother who taught him the power of language, the father who wasn't present but from whom he inherited an ability to see through the bull, his upbringing in New York, his time in the military, his family, his early career, and how he transitioned into the iconic performer we think of when we hear his name.

Last Words is an engrossing read for Carlin fans, people who are interested in one of the major voices of the 20th and early 21st centuries. Some events, some people, are unimaginable to imagine never having existed, and some of Carlin's thoughts are deeply rooted in our iconography. The book carries on in the tradition of making us think, even if there's not always agreement. We are reminded, reading this, that he will be a tough act to follow, but we desperately need people to keep trying.

This is a thoughtful book, but Carlin's wit is still very much on display. In the midst of a poignant anecdote he would land a great line, and I would find myself laughing when a moment before I was in complete solidarity with him over whatever sadness he was sharing.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars With increasing light in the morning
My first brush with George Carlin was getting his AM & FM album the Christmas after it arrived in stores. I listened to that thing until I had it memorized. Read more
Published 8 hours ago by Imre Nemeth
5.0 out of 5 stars Always Great
Love him, his mind and his humor. The book is great as usual. Sad he is gone.
Published 18 days ago by RRK
5.0 out of 5 stars Go George
Loved George Carlin!!!! So this book was a no brainer.
Published 1 month ago by Rene' Bost
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic book for all Carlin fans
Must read for all Carlin Fans. An auto biography that could only be told by the man himself even though he didn't write it, but instead had someone else do it for him.
Published 1 month ago by Aaron D
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Greattttt
Published 1 month ago by danielle43
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Good once you get into it but slow moving at first.
Published 1 month ago by Richard Crocker
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Fascinating story of his life in the historical context of the surrounding events.
Published 2 months ago by Alexandr Normuradov
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great guy
Published 2 months ago by Jane McCord
3.0 out of 5 stars ... book rambles a little too much but gives some good insight to...
The book rambles a little too much but gives some good insight to Carlin's life and his changing philosophies and routines.
Published 2 months ago by Otto Mattik
4.0 out of 5 stars Who doesn't like George Carlin?
Who doesn't like George Carlin?
Published 2 months ago by L. Sommers
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Did George Carlin change your life? And if yes, how?
I believe George Carlin had a freeing influence on my mind as a teenager, as I was an extremely quiet and reserved loner. In my eyes, coming from a good family, I saw the "world outside" as a grim, scary, life-denying realm of people taught to deceive their true selves through... Read More
Nov 12, 2009 by Michael D. Orifice |  See all 17 posts
"And Here's the Kicker: Conversations with 21 Top Humor Writers-KINDLE... Be the first to reply
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