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Last Words: A Memoir by George Carlin

The life of one of the most brilliant comedians ever as told to Tony Hendra

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Finally I Really Know My Favorite Comedian!

  • Feb 1, 2010
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Thank you Tony Hendra for keeping George alive with a fresh look at his material and what went in to creating it!  Carlin's life was always on the edge and this book shows how many times he nearly bought the farm and never "evolved" from someone who could give you gut wrenching laughs to being able to keep the audience entranced for several minutes listening intently to something you always knew but never thought of.

For someone who was almost aborted at birth and really had no father to know, it is amazing that George mastered the ability to make people laugh taking what he learned from Lenny Bruce to unexplored heights.  We learn why George did so much controlled variety style tv (like forcing Elvis to go away from rock to a white rhinestone suit in Vegas).  Some of George's best stuff was between drug and alchohol stupors.  The myriad of heart attacks he had and the experimental procedures that he just happened to get almost each time to bring him back.

For any fan of George, this book is the most have one to own!

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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.
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