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Napalm & Silly Putty Hardcover – April 24, 2001
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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
From Publishers Weekly
Politically incorrect comic and Grammy winner Carlin has shown no signs of burnout during a four-decade career arc as solo stand-up, TV writer and sitcom actor (That Girl; The George Carlin Show), with 18 hit recordings and 10 solo HBO specials, plus film roles (Dogma; The Prince of Tides). Living in L.A. and Vegas, he continues to take his act to stages across the country. Four years ago, Carlin's huge fan following kept his Brain Droppings on the New York Times bestseller list for 40 weeks, so it's no surprise he's back for another round of acrid and oblique observations on modern mores. He covers a wide range of issues from rape and religion to the homeless: "There's no war on homelessness... it's because there's no money in it." And any topic is fair game: abortion, airport security, cars, funerals, language, organ donors, sports, technology, TV and war. On the latter, he says, "Men, insecure about the size of their penises, choose to kill one another." Over 100 scintillating short pieces are interrupted by loony lists and hundreds of clever one-liners. The fragmented format and colloquial style of writing suggest that much of this laugh-out-loud book is drawn directly from Carlin's stage act. Several satires here ("A day in the life of Henry VIII," a nine-page interview with Jesus, an avant-garde play program) indicate a different direction Carlin might consider for future books. (May 1)Forecast: HighBridge's abridged audiocassette and CD might lead some to peruse the book, which splashes in the wake of a massive Carlin retrospective ("From Class Clown to Social Critic") two months ago at the Museum of Television & Radio (N.Y./L.A.). With a 10-city author tour and national publicity, sales could equal those of Brain Droppings (700,000 copies).
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Top customer reviews
George Carlin is a hoot. I keep this around the coffee table. Many pick it up and look at it for a while, for a laugh. Sometimes it takes only a few moments and they laugh. Sometimes longer before they get the gist of what it is, they just got handed to them about a topic that is so obvious, after George would let you in on the humor of his mind's view of what he sees. I miss having him around. I hope he is well now, floating around the universe wise cracking on all that is out there.
The nice things about the book is that its written in a variety of styles and in short sections...so it makes for an easy pick it up and read a bit anytime.(but that also means nothing may grab you to finish the entire book quickly) There are no real chapters nor table of contents and the subject matter changes frequently (even aside from the breaks of "short takes" which are much like his "Brain Droppings" one sentence observations)
Some of the material is thought provoking, some of it is just silly. Some of it is just thrown out there to see what bites and move on. You will find yourself laughing aloud, especially when caught off guard by an absurd "short take".
To appreciate the humor, I also found it helpful to really have Carlin's voice and delivery style in your head (watch a recent HBO special to get familiar with it). Without that definite "Carlin" rythm, you may miss the pure comedy to the writing.
Overall, you will find this smart comedy and although some of it seems quickly assembled, it does contain purpose and thought.
A word of warning: For those not familiar with Mr.Carlin, there is a fair share of obscene language, religious satire, and other possibly offensive subject matter. With that all said, enjoy!
If you're looking for new material, you'll have to look pretty hard. There isn't much, and where there is, it's mostly in the form of his "Short Takes" sections dispersed throughout the book - sections that are comprised of one liners. There's lots of great stuff, don't get me wrong, but this book seems like it was conceived in some executive's mind as a way to make some more cash. It's the book equivalent of a sitcom clip show - very little new material passed off as otherwise.
That being said, if you are a Carlin fan you must have this book. If you are a Carlin fan you must have Braindroppings and When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops as well.
I have read each book numerous times and when I read them I can hear his voice saying it outloud. A must have for any Carlin fan.