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Seven Dirty Words: The Life and Crimes of George Carlin Paperback – Bargain Price, May 24, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Creative Loafing Charlotte, 6/7/11
“[A] detailed look at Carlin's life, which helps fill in some of the gaps in the comedy legend's own version. Sullivan does a good job of presenting a linear rundown of the various incarnations Carlin went through in his 71 years…He's smart enough to let Carlin's story tell itself—and to put it in the context of how one man's inner growth matched the changes many people in America were going through at the same time.”
Top Customer Reviews
There are many problems with this book but the main one is that the author appears to be championing Carlin when an objective writer would provide perspective. I'm glad I read it only because I now understand a little of what made the comedian tick--he was a rebellious Irish Catholic whose dad abandoned the family and died when George was only 8. He had no male authority at home and quickly became a trouble-making brat who skipped through numerous schools, got kicked out of camp, never graduated high school, got in trouble with the law, and got addicted to drugs. Namely, he was screwed up since childhood and that came out in his comedy routines.
If you're looking for behind-the-scenes details on things like how he worked with Marlo Thomas or Doris Day while performing a raunchy comedy act you'll not find it here. Neither as famous or brilliant as this writer claims, Carlin remains a bit of a mystery after reading this. The basic facts are here without depth but when they're told in boring book-report style you end up not feeling you really know the person.
The first nearly 100 pages of this book however were pretty grueling going and if you've read George's own book could be skipped...go to where he is a working stand up after his partnership with Jack Burns and the rest of the book has many interesting points to make and the author is good at pointing out how Carlins career relates to other events in media and our culture.
Bottom line, if you have all the DVDs, CDs and books and want more...then by all means invest...but ONLY after you have exhausted the complete Carlin authored material.
The book also reveals little of comedy as well. If you are a big fan of George Carlin, then this book provides some info that I had been previously unaware of. If you are looking for a book with a lot of laughs, this is not it!!!!
The book's high points include:
- Early comedy influences and famous people George met on the way up.
- Snapshots of some of his better-known sketches as they evolved over time.
- History of the "dirty words" Supreme Court case and its effects.
- Carlin's running battle with censors and audience members on stage and TV.
- Drugs, drugs, drugs and occasional rehab.
The overall picture is of a high school stoner who made good. Carlin's comedy routines were developing long before he began trying to build relevance around them. His message matched his times as a more specialized version of rebellion against convention and authority. He did some good by inviting us to look more closely at language. It's good for him and for the rest of us all that this all turned out so well.
George Carlin was a world-class comedian with a glib tongue and a well-honed sense of irony. But his language humor required listeners to skip along the surface, ignoring deeper meaning. This is good entertainment, but no kind of philosophy or politics. So read the book and give George his due. But not more than his due.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great if you're reading for laughs but also as a younger reader it gives a detailed perspective of not only carlin but of the people who surrounded him throughtout his lifetime. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Alex Manzie
Reasonably well-written, but lacking depth in a number of areas, especially concerning Carlin's personal life. If you are a George Carlin fan, it is worth reading.Published 13 months ago by Thomas R. Luneburg
George Carlin at his finest! If you don't know him or his work, this is a great introduction. Like all his comedy, I found him to be more philosopher than anything else (like I do... Read morePublished 15 months ago by J. Gill
The very first Carlin's book I read, and enjoyed very much; couldn't wait to read the others... R. R. SolorzanoPublished 15 months ago by Rodolfo R. Solorzano
A really well done look at the career of George Carlin. He was truly a comic mind of the first order and worked very hard to be so good. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Brian Keller
Very funny! I believe I have most of his records; that is why I wanted to read this book about his life.Published 20 months ago by Susan V. Bowers
My short list of complaints starts, like everyone else's, with the virtual absence of one-liners. How better to demonstrate an adept comedian, and lighten up even a serious book in... Read morePublished on April 10, 2014 by Tom Gregg