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Napalm & Silly Putty Paperback – April 10, 2002

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Editorial Reviews Review

Standup comic George Carlin follows up his dark-horse smash bestseller Brain Droppings with another compendium of cranky meditations, cinching his reputation as the Andy Rooney of boomer hepcats. "Road rage, air rage," Carlin rails. "Why should I be forced to divide my rage into separate categories? To me, it's just one big, all-around, everyday rage. I don't have time for fine distinctions." Carlin is not into the lengthy essay--he's a sprinter of the mind. Most sentences in the book could be lifted out to stand alone and provoke deep thought: "How can it be a spy satellite if they announce on television that it's a spy satellite?" Good question. "Why do they bother saying 'Raw sewage'? Do some people cook that stuff?" Yuck, but yes, Carlin's got a point.

He can do an extended bit too, most memorably the transcript of Jesus on a talk show plugging his new tell-all memoir about the Trinity, Three's a Crowd. Carlin is funny, but genuinely angry and poignant at times: "You live 80 years and at best you get about six minutes of pure magic," he says. Sad, but about right.

And how did Carlin get into his line of business, "thinking up goofy s---," as he puts it? There's a clue in one entry in this book: "As of 1995 the number of people who had lived on earth was 105,472,380,169 ... it means that at this point there have been almost 1 quadrillion human bowel movements and most of them occurred before people had anything to read. These are the kind of thoughts that kept me from moving quickly up the corporate ladder."

Thank god Carlin stayed low on the corporate food chain and high on his own utterly idiosyncratic ideas! --Tim Appelo --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

It's mildly disappointing to listen to Carlin (Brain Droppings), a comedian revered for his edgy content and shock value, and feel one's heard it all before. Here, listeners will recognize more than just Carlin's signature, rocks-in-his-throat style, as many of the pieces are recycled. That's not to say that classic bits like the distinction among drivers between idiots and maniacs aren't funny, but they lose some of their verve the second (or fifth) time around. This recording, however, will scarcely be a letdown for Carlin's legions of fans; short of watching him perform on stage, listening to his masterful, hilariously-inflected delivery is undoubtedly the best way to experience his work. There's just no substitute for hearing Carlin use an innocent, dopey tone as a setup for delivering his punch line like Boris Karloff at his grouchiest. The words and themes themselves are often just as sinister, and though this recording has entertaining moments, some of Carlin's magic has worn off in the wake of his own influence. Sometimes he sounds like just another comic salvaging otherwise middling material with liberal doses of profanity. Simultaneous release with Hyperion hardcover (Forecasts, Apr. 9).

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Hachette Books; Reprint edition (April 10, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786887583
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786887583
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (181 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #89,183 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Joel L. Gandelman VINE VOICE on May 28, 2002
Format: Paperback
During George Carlin's four decades long comedy career he has been hailed as a comedic genius who has constantly pushed the envelope...and he is at his outrageous BEST in Napalm & Silly Putty.
If you are a Carlin fan, you will LOVE this 269-page book, take it with you and re-read it often. If you don't know who he is and want to find out what all fuss is about after reading
books on comedy, this will give you a good idea of who he is. You don't get his hilarious facial expressions here, or his act-enhancing body language, but you'll clearly see why he
has been hailed as the true successor to Lenny Bruce....except for the fact that Carlin is more often than not hilarious. If you're upset by x-rated language, this book isn't for you.
Napalm & Silly Putty is actually divided into three sections throughout. His various routines on various subjects such as driving, cats, dogs and Jesus, his Short Takes, and his
bits on the news. One of my favorites routines is his bit on the fear of germs, where he notes that "in prisons before they give you a lethal injection they swab your arm with alcohol...And you can see their point: wouldn't want some guy to go to hell AND be
Then there are many riffs on the news. and his Short Takes. Short Takes are in the form of hilarious one liners, short jokes and blunt-but-true observations ("Joan Rivers has turned
into one of the people she used to make fun of.")
This book is GREAT for a)anyone who loves to laugh, b)fans and collectors of comedy books, c)Carlin's fans, d)anyone interested in comedy writing or comedy. I always highlight comedy and joke books, then re-read the ones I like -- and when I re-read
Napalm & Silly Putty I laugh out loud, all over again. Carlin is a treasure...and so is this book.
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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 10, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Those people who are offended by the humor in this book: do you even know who the hell George Carlin is? Why on earth would you buy his book, and then complain about angry, profanity-laced, pro-drug, anti-religion humor? It's like buying a gallon of milk when you know you're lactose intolerant. That's who George Carlin is! Why are you surprised?
For those sane people who expect George Carlin humor when buying a George Carlin book, you will find an awful lot to laugh about in Napalm & Silly Putty. Sure, he's got a few old routines in here (not nearly as many as others have suggested), but if, like me, you haven't heard them in 20 years, you'll find them funny all over again. The sections on sports and death are particularly hilarious, and the Short Takes have many gems ("The reason I talk to myself is that I'm the only one whose answers I accept;" "When Ronald Reagan got Alzheimer's Disease, how could they tell?").
It may not be as good as Brain Droppings, but this is still a very funny book by one of the most creative comic minds of the past century. Read it and laugh.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Michael Crane on July 12, 2001
Format: Hardcover
George Carlin is without a doubt one of the best comedians of all time. If you enjoy hearing his comic mayhem on CDs or seeing him live, you'll fall in love with "Napalm & Silly Putty".
Filled with humor, both new and old, this book has just about everything from airplane announcements to expressions that make no sense; from life to death; from organ doners and random thoughts; and a whole lot more! Also, this book contains short takes just like from "Brain Droppings". This book will have you laughing out loud and begging for more.
This book will offend people who dispise others for thinking on their own and voicing their openions, hypochondriacs, and people with no sense of humor. As for the rest of you, buy this book!! It's a must have for any Carlin fan.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Robert Wellen on June 10, 2002
Format: Paperback
The great thing about George Carlin, is that no matter how old he gets (and he would like that I call him old, as he says in the book "simple language"), he never loses that edge.
Carlin is not for everyone. Many people might be offended by his ideas..., but then they aren't meant to buy this book.
What I love about him is how believes there are no sacred cows. He makes you shift in your seat as you realize how idiotic somethings you do are--and cry with laughter when you relize how brillant he can be. Perhaps the funniest parts are the one liners. Although his musings on abortion, religion, and "simple language" are grand. Some of this stuff will make you cringe--but he NEVER compromises. That is what makes him so amazing.
This book makes you re-examine this american life and see it as nothing more than absurd. This guy gets it right.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Miriam Rouziek on December 23, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
George Carlin is one of the few things my dad and I have in common (which gets him bonus points because my dad and I are as similar as night and day). Napalm and SIlly Putty essentially covers all areas of his ranting - religion, airline safety, the government, and others - with nothing really *new*. However, the rants themselves have been updated and redone to cover new areas of complaint.
This probably isn't the best work he's done, but I think it's awesome nonetheless. I highly recommend it for any Carlin fan. However, if you have "Your Are All Diseased" on CD, it's nothing new, but it includes more things that aren't on the CD. Buy it to complete or start a collection and I think you'll be amused.
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