Read Last Words by George Carlin Tony Hendra Online


As one of America’s preeminent comedic voices, 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. Carlin’s early conflicts, his long struggAs one of America’s preeminent comedic voices, 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. 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 honesty that made Carlin one of the best-loved comedians in American history....

Title : Last Words
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781439172957
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 297 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Last Words Reviews

  • Patrick
    2019-02-02 19:27

    I picked this audiobook up at my local bookstore years ago without even thinking about it. I'm terribly fond of Carlin, and the thought of hearing him read his own memoir was a no-brainer. A few days later, I looked at the box more closely and saw it wasn't actually read by George Carlin himself. My desire to listen to it immediately evaporated, and I put it on the shelf, pissed. It sat for years until just a couple days ago, I was going on a long drive and figured it would be better than sitting in silence. In short, I was amazed and delighted and surprised. If you like George Carlin, you should absolutely pick this up. The first thing on the CD is actually an interview between Carlin's daughter and Tony Hendra. Hendra was Carlin's friend, and they'd been collaborating on the book for years before Carlin died. The narrator, it turns out, is George Carlin's older brother, Patrick. Not only does he *sound* like George, but George Carlin credited his brother with helping him deveop his own personal philosophy and his comedy. Did I mention that he sounds like George Carlin? He really does. As I listen to it, I constantly forget that it's his brother reading it. As for the content of the book itself, it's everything I'd hoped for and more. It's got the funny, sharp-tongued, irreverent wit that I loved about Carlin. But more than that, it's brutally painfully honest. He talks about his relationship with his parents and pulls no punches. He talks about the times in his life when he was an asshole and lays it all out unashamedly. Of particular interest to me is how he talks about the trouble he had coming to grips with being a success. He talks about his failures and fuck-ups. He talks about how he changed from being a social conservative to someone whose whole art revolved around pointing out bullshit and hypocrisy. He talks about his struggles being a father and a celebrity at the same time. In short, I loved it. My only regret is that I didn't listen to it sooner.

  • Khadidja
    2019-02-19 19:51

    Last Words tells the story of George Carlin's life from his conception , This book is both funny and thoughtful i loved it his childhood was so sad but the way he tells his story is so funny ! i can't wait to read more of his work , RIP George Carlin !!

  • Diane
    2019-02-14 20:40

    I grew up listening to George Carlin. His HBO comedy specials, which frequently aired in the 1980s and 90s, shaped my ideas and opinions. Carlin was brilliant when he discussed language and euphemisms, and his famous bit about the Seven Dirty Words You Can't Say on Television was memorized and giggled over with friends. Carlin talked about the stupidity of Politics and War.* He talked about our obsession with Stuff. And he said Religion was Bullshit, which was the first time my young mind had heard an adult say that. What a revelation!I mention this to stress how much George Carlin meant to me. His stand-up comedy was never just jokes -- they were ideas. He was a powerful social critic who had a big influence on not just me, but several generations of young adults. "I was beginning to realize something ... Getting laughs all the time wasn't my only responsibility. My responsibility was to engage the audience's mind for ninety minutes. Get laughs, of course, dazzle them from time to time with form, craft, verbal fireworks, but above all engage their minds ... Laughter is not the only proof of success." Carlin had been working on his autobiography for a number of years before he died of heart failure in 2008. This book, "Last Words," was published after his death. I listened to it on audio, read by his brother Patrick, and it was surprisingly moving. Patrick has a similar edge and vocal inflections, and frequently I forgot that it wasn't George who was speaking. It was as if George were alive again and sharing his story."Last Words" covers George's Catholic upbringing in New York City, his tense relationship with his mother, his adoration of his big brother, how he got his start in comedy, his drug use, and his evolution as an artist. I particularly liked learning about his change from being a suit-and-tie wearing, clean-cut guy in the 1960s to a long-haired performer who wore jeans, swore a lot and who criticized the government and religion in the 1970s. It's a great read, both thoughtful and funny. I think any Carlin fan would love it. *This book includes the text of a number of Carlin's bits, and I was happy he discussed one of my favorite pieces on war from the early '90s. I liked it because his point of view was so diametrically opposed to all of the hyper-patriotic speeches we typically saw on TV in the United States: "America loved war, I said. In our history we've had a major war every ten years. We suck at everything else but we could bomb the shit out of any country full of brown people. Only brown people. The last white people we bombed were the Germans. Because they were trying to dominate the world, and that's our job!"

  • Jason Koivu
    2019-02-14 13:48

    Last apt title for an autobiography penned at the time of the author's death.I wasn't sure I wanted to read a retrospective of a dead comedian's life. I've done it before and it can be depressing. Plus, I love George Carlin in a way. I mean, I was a fan back in the 80s/early 90s, but I haven't followed his career since. What interest would I have in the life of a man I hardly know? I thought about it, realized I was talking about one of the great comedians of our time, spanning generations, and decided I really ought to know more about the man. Who better to hear about him, but from himself? As always when reading books by comedians, I suggest going with audiobooks, especially when they're read by the author/comedian themselves. Books by Tina Fey, David Sedaris, and Amy Poehler are all recent reads of mine that attest to the value of that wisdom. There's nothing like hear the intonation, the inflection, the rhythm of the words as they were intended. In the case of Last Words that was going to be a problem, as Carlin died before he finished it. Luckily George has a brother, Patrick, who narrated this book with his magically "Carlin" voice so very similar to George's that after a couple hours of listening I forgot it wasn't George speaking. Ghost-written with friend Tony Hendra, who said in an included interview with Carlin's daughter that the experience was more like writing with a ghost, Last Words lays out Carlin's entire life in a very satisfying, linear timeline, touching on all the important personal events, as well as the history moments, that molded him. His Irish-Catholic upbringing, childhood joys, and growing up with an alcoholic, abusive and estranged father kick it all off at the perfect pace and just the right amount of "sharing"...after all, don't we read these books with some amount of snoopy curiosity? Of course we do. Carlin was never what you'd call "straight laced", but he did spend time in the military and started out with somewhat of a right-wing, conservative mind. He takes us through the relationships and times that changed this young, self-admittedly ignorant person into the radical comic of the '70s.As the times changed, so too did the thinking of what already would've been considered a very successful comedian. He could've rested on his laurels, but he pushed on, reinventing himself, while somehow doing that most uncommon of things, becoming more true to himself and his ideals. It's an incredible transformation and one quite worth reading about. All of Last Words is quite worth reading. I highly recommend you let Patrick take you through the raucous life of his beloved brother George.

  • Licha
    2019-02-08 16:33

    DNF at about p. 103-129?I was aware of who George Carlin was when I picked up this book, however I was not familiar with his comedy. This is the second book I pick up about a comedian whose book I did not enjoy reading because it delved too much into the business aspect and work process of the artist. I don't want to read about that. I want to read about their life and how that influenced their comedy. Or give me some funny thoughts about life in general. Jut don't tell me about how you managed to book this club and that or how you pursued a particular talent agent. If I'm picking up a comedian's memoir I want to be able to laugh and maybe even cry. I don't want to be bored reading about the behind-the-scenes aspect of business.I enjoyed reading the first chapter as George talks about his family and growing up with mom and brother. That's what I wanted more of. I realize this was not for me and maybe not really knowing much about George didn't help either. Someone else may like this more. I didn't hate this so I'm giving this two stars for what I did read, but this rating in no way reflects the sum of the book.

  • Ken
    2019-01-27 12:51

    A must read for every fan of Carlin, and those who want a look inside the mind of the word-obsessed, meaning-searching stand-up comedian. What we find inside is not always pretty, but it's as honest and truthful as any memoir can be.While the book is, at times, uproariously funny, the focus here is not on comedy, but on how comedy is made. Humor, it turns out, is no laughing matter. Carlin worked meticulously on notes on topics, slowly and carefully shaping his 'bits' over years, carefully nursing them until they were ready for public view.This book, too, was decades in the making, and the effort paid off. Those who hate Carlin will find reason here to find him as the self-centered, uncaring, drug addled freak that they expect. And those who love Carlin will find the working class intellectual who rose above two-dimensional shtick to rip the lid off polite society and show it for the hateful, greedy, violent mess that it is, and did so with great humor.They're each part of who George Carlin was, and what made his work unique. I miss him, I miss his work, and I am grateful that this book invited in one last time.

  • Steven Walle
    2019-02-11 19:24

    George Carlin left us with a great read. This is an autobiographical book of experiences in his life never shared before, and his comedic houmor. He was a genious in many ways and had a different slant on the world's happinings. I recommend this book to all. You can find a copy on youtube read alowd by his brother Pat.Enjoy and Be Blessed.Diamond

  • Louise
    2019-02-06 14:40

    George Carlin's unique career as a standup comic spanned over 4 decades. In this book, he shows that how success was not easy either at the business or the content ends.I laughed at Carlin’s (what were then called) “party records” in the early 1960’s, saw him perform live in the late 80’s and caught him from time to time on The Tonight Show, HBO, and later, internet clips. Since I had only followed him loosely, this book put the pieces together. While his monologues looked effortless, he shows how they were culled, shaped and honed. The longest part, proportional to his lifespan, is his youth. He shows how the attitude that defines his work was formed. He writes of his family, his strong determined mother who left his successful, abusive, alcoholic father and his experience in the diversity of his neighborhood. His stint in the Air Force was perfect (for him): he left with only two court marshals and experience in radio. He absorbed his mother’s republicanism, but partner, Jack Burns, gave him the political perspective that informed his work. Carlin gave up (what appeared to be overnight) success with the Burns and Carlin team to set out on his own. His career can be characterized by independence, risk taking and growth. Through the book you see the ups and downs of it, his marriage and the influence of drugs and alcohol. He covers the Supreme Court case over his content (FCC vs. Pacifica) and the tax problem that dominates his later financial life.In the introduction, Tony Henora writes how the book began from Carlin’s tapes and notes that were produced over a ten year period. They called this work in progress a "sortabiography". After Carlin's death, Henora “shaped it”. Whatever he did to the material was just right since the book reads seamlessly and is always in the unmistakable Carlin voice.

  • Seamus Thompson
    2019-01-24 13:43

    I've been an admirer of Carlin for so long that it was impossible not to relish the autobiographical details and craft observations throughout this book. Since I listened to the audiobook I was also treated the eerie experience of hearing Carlin's brother, Patrick, read this book--Patrick's voice is similar to George's and, at times, he seemed to be channeling his younger brother.Near the end of Last Words, Carlin reveals that he had always wanted to do a live one-man Broadway show about is life (a la Lily Tomlin, etc) so that he could put the characters that inspired his many voices and personas onto the stage more fully. This autobiography was intended as the first-step toward making that happen. It's a shame George Carlin died before he could bring that project to life, for as fun as this book is to read (or listen to) the fact is that Carlin was, first and foremost, a performer. So much of what made Carlin's words funny and profound was his way of bringing them to life for his audiences through voices, expressions, gestures, and sheer charisma.Still, this book is a worthwhile consolation prize. It is worth the price of admission to read Carlin's account of how he pulled himself together in the late 1980s and produced some of his finest work in what many had assumed was the twilight of his career.

  • Joe
    2019-01-27 18:32

    How easily art masks the artist. Surely George Carlin, the renowned wordsmith, studied hard and emulated the masters. Surely Carlin, the longstanding celebrity in a field fraught with flame-outs, knew how to pick his battles and keep his financial house in order. Surely Carlin, that discerning, precise, slender gentleman, built his life on keeping his nose clean and his body healthy. Surely this man I emulate and respect was largely like me; a quiet, sensitive lad who took the long path of listening and watching before finding worthwhile ways to connect to those around him. Surely.But no of course not. Carlin grew up on the tough streets of Irish Harlem with a brilliant but controlling mother and a brilliant but psychotic father. He made friends, mimicked them and made them laugh with ease from an early age and in return his friends conscripted him into their gang of larcenous hoodlums. Even looking back on his childhood many decades hence, Carlin, a skilled and thoughtful writer, admitted no regrets about being a vandal and petty thief; with 'kids being kids' and 'the yuppies deserved it' being the chosen excuses.And this is the pattern of George's life; that of the brilliant, organized mind that rarely brought that power to bear on the world around him in any form but the entertainment he provided. Carlin joined the air-force and bounced around in rank so many times he must have felt the g-forces. He gained success as a comic early in life but couldn't find a way to hold onto the money he was making, even when he was living within his means; at different times he loses his nest egg to theft, tax mismanagement and even having it literally fly out the window. Even his touching, monogamous, love-at-first-conversation marriage nearly ends in tragedy several times from drug abuse and lack of communication. Even his fit-looking frame proved an illusion, as within lurked a heart as prone to attack as Carlin's increasingly political mouth.By the end of Last Words, I looked upon Carlin's long career of relevance as not so much a testament to his brilliance but as a miracle of persistence. For every time it looked like his life would tumble into the abyss, he found a way to crawl away from the edge. And in the end he does find a measure of peace in his old age; freedom from cocaine, stability in his relationships and comic material that fulfills his need for meaningful social critique. How easily he could have been just another genius comedian who gained success too fast and died too young. And had Carlin's life been cut short I never would have come to think of him as such a stable personality, only to have my expectations so thoroughly shattered as I laughed along reading about his life.

  • Sheri
    2019-01-20 13:28

    I've been an admirer of George Carlin since I was a teenager. My high school boyfriend took me to see Carlin in concert in KC at a time when Carlin was being threatened with arrest in every city he performed in if he did his "Seven Dirty Words" routine. Well, he did the routine, but only after having the operators of the stage lights turn up the house lights so he could point out the Kansas Bureau of Investigation agents stationed at the back of the room. Perhaps not surprisingly, he didn't get arrested that night. When I was in my 20's, while attending law school, we read the Pacifica case in my constitutional law course, which dealt with that very Carlin routine and whether it could be broadcast on the radio. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court found Carlin's routine "offensive," and upheld the sanctions that the FCC had imposed on the radio station.Fast forward to the last ten years, when I've been teaching constitutional law myself. I always played the Carlin routine for my Con Law students, and asked them what, if any, message Carlin was attempting to convey to his audience. They almost uniformly responded that he was both trying to entertain by being funny AND to criticize how arbitrary the "establishment" can be in attaching sanctions to words that the dominant culture doesn't like. That latter message is core political speech -- something that virtually all scholars believe lies at the center of our First Amendment protections. Nonetheless, the Supreme Court inexplicably failed to comprehend that message in Carlin's monologue.Carlin was a brilliant satirist and wordsmith. His death in 2008 was a great loss for people who enjoyed his combination of social commentary and extraordinary command of the English language. This book is Carlin's autobiography, in his own words. Unlike many famous folk whose memoirs read like an after-the-fact justification for how wonderful they are, Carlin is quick to point out his personal shortcomings and life mistakes. He still had more amazing insights & viewpoints to share with us, but unfortunately, his ticker gave out. So read this book, and listen to one or more of his comedy routines. I highly recommend "Seven Words ..."

  • J.K. Grice
    2019-02-14 15:36

    I always liked George Carlin, and this is a very upfront memoir about his life. I especially liked the insight into the early years of TV comedy, and what it was like to be labeled as a "comedian." Then, how comedians evolved and stood by their own particular styles the way Carlin did. You also realize the things Carlin missed out on in his life because of booze and drugs. A very poignant and funny look into the life one of the most ingenious comics that ever lived.

  • Jesse
    2019-01-20 20:52

    I was given this as an Xmas gift from a friend and read it all the way through in part for that reason-- the feeling that when given a book as a gift, one should see it through. I hadn't listened to Carlin in years-- since I was teenager at least, if not earlier, but I had a fond recollection of him, a sense that he was a pretty sharp social commentator and a funny guy. Maybe that was true, but it doesn't come through in the book, for the most part. The writing is poor-- in part because it's transcribed from discussions (by Tony Hendra, who I expected could do much better), but in part because it's not terribly inventive, creative, or evocative. Most shocking is the terrible unfunniness of the bits he includes, so unfunny that it's almost embarrassing to read them. The Carlin I remember from when I was younger seemed funny on every topic, but what he quotes here is just flat on the page. Toward the end, as he gets into his more political works in the 90s, it picks up a little, but that's really only in the last 50 pages. Even then-- his politics are a little weird, and there's a lot of stuff about his complaints about having to pay huge amounts of tax and being chased for being a celebrity that he doesn't seem to notice clash against his righteous anger about the divide between rich and poor in America.But also unsettling is the undercurrent of misogyny that runs through the book, starting when he describes his "first group sex," which is a bunch of teenaged guys holding down a girl and fondling her breasts. He says she "didn't struggle" but was clearly upset by it but still plays it for a laugh-- that really left me disgusted. Similar stuff about him fighting with his wife made me really uneasy. Altogether a real disappointment in many ways and on many levels.

  • Kirsti
    2019-01-31 17:23

    I had no idea that George Carlin was once arrested for armed robbery. (It really did turn out to be a crazy misunderstanding.)Carlin and his cowriter Tony Hendra did not want to write a memoir because, to them, that word was a tiresome combination of me and moi. So they referred to this as a "sortabiography.""I used to mark my really severe drug use by the years I couldn't remember who won the World Series. There were three or four years in there, mid to late seventies. Cincinnati Reds? Twice in a row? When the fuck did that happen? How the fuck did that happen?""Fuck the drug war. Dropping acid was a profound turning point for me. . . . More people should do acid. It should be sold over the counter."One of his regrets was that his 10-year-old daughter had to stage an intervention because he and his wife were threatening each other with knives. He was a heavy user of cocaine; his wife was an alcoholic.Of the 14 HBO specials he did, he felt that 1992's Jammin' in New York was his best."The audience shapes the material. They are part of the process. I write, they edit.""I love anarchy. Anarchy and comedy are a team."

  • Gus Sanchez
    2019-02-10 20:52

    In Last Words, George Carlin takes a crack at writing his autobiography. Not content with the self-serving, aggrandizing tone that just about every autobiography takes, Carlin coins the term "sortabiography" to reflect upon his storied career, his childhood, his upbringing, and other seminal events in his life. Having completed his "sortabiography" just before his death in July 2008 (and edited by his longtime friend Tony Hendra, whom you'll remember as the well-meaning but clueless manager of that legendary band Spinal Tap), Last Words is a wonderful read for the fact that, if anything, Carlin's love affair with words and language is also evident in his writing style. As you're reading the words on paper, you can hear Carlin's cadence come through, tentative and young early on, muscular and playfully belligerent towards the end. Carlin doesn't spend much time going over some of his now-legendary routines. He name-checks Al Sleet, the hippy-dippy weatherman, and when he does finally talk about Seven Words You Can't Say on Television, it's to discuss the now-infamous lawsuit versus the FCC that the Supreme Court ruled in their favor. For Carlin to have been part of a case heard by the Supreme Court, and for that case to be later dissected and studied in law schools across America, it's a huge source of pride for him. Carlin probably figured you've heard his Seven Words riff, and other riffs before, so there's probably not much more he can add to what you already know, because, as a comedian, he's fully aware that how he tells the joke (rather than the joke itself) is what you take away from that experience.Nor does Carlin skimp on the less-savory aspects of his life, especially that period in the late '70s when cocaine threatened to derail his career, and his foolish (his words) rebellion against the government in the form of tax evasion. Simply put, Carlin suffered from the very same big-headedness that many of his peers (especially Richard Pryor, whom George speaks of very fondly, and knowingly, considering Carlin was very aware Pryor was his only true contemporary), and his hubris nearly cost him everything. But he eventually grinned and beared it, kicking his habit and working tirelessly, without complaint, to repay all the taxes he hadn't paid. Yet he never lost that anti-authoritarian streak that was part and parcel of his act, and his comeback in the early '80s showcased a leaner, meaner machine ready to make you laugh and think at the same time.The one thing you'll take from this "sortabiography" again is George Carlin's love of words. But that's exactly why you loved George Carlin in the first place; any stand-up can tell a dick joke, but no one told a dick joke the way George Carlin told a dick joke.

  • Jack Rowley
    2019-02-19 15:51

    I was always a fan of George Carlin; one of my first purchases was his first album Take-Offs and Put-Ons, which I played so often that even today I can repeat major portions of it.If you're looking for this to be as funny as his concerts, you will be disappointed. If you want to know about the guy, which I did, you'll find this an engaging read. I really respect the way he expressed his thoughts and his love for words. Although we are both Irish Catholic, he's much more into the Irish thing and I'm considerably more into the Catholic thing. It was interesting to see how obsessive-compulsive he was in preparing new material and the many paradoxes in his life, such as: - anti-war and anti-authority but joined the air force; - no respect for his father who drank and ruined any relationship with his family, yet Carlin became addicted to cocaine and alcohol and once got into a knife fight with his wife while his daughter tried to intervene.He has no problem laying out many sordid details along the way. Interestingly, he and his wife stayed together for 38 years until she died of cancer. Carlin noticeably pulls back in describing Brenda's death. It's noticeable; as if paragraphs are missing and one can feel that the guy who had no problem talking about anything just can't bring himself to revisit that moment.I also found it interesting that in concert he spells out in no uncertain terms that he is an atheist, but throughout the book there are many "if God is real..." moments. Maybe that's just my wishful thinking though.As you would expect, he doesn't think twice talking about the celebrities he's met along the way, most memorably when he hosted SNL and suggested to cast member Billy Crystal that the two of them someday work together. Crystal blew him off and said something condescending to the effect of "Yeah, I don't see that ever happening." He admired Jon Stewart, Dennis Miller's mind (although he thought Miller was arrogant)and was touched that when he told Steve Martin that he liked his work, Martin seemed genuinely moved by the comment. His days on the panel of The Mike Douglas Show and "Merv" offer some nice insight of the forced grouping of celebrities.I didn't want it to end, which is how I felt about the author's life.

  • Jeanette
    2019-01-23 17:48

    Nothing spectacular, but well edited and thus not overlong like some bios. It was interesting to learn the personal history behind the public image. I always enjoyed Carlin's unique perspectives, although some of his humor was admittedly a little raw and crass. I liked the way he refused to conform to trends of "correctness" and often said things the rest of us were thinking but weren't bold enough to say.

  • Amy
    2019-02-09 16:46

    I love George Carlin! I think I like that his comedy tends to be a little more cerebral. I also love his word play. This book was more than just comedy pieces. It was also a memoir that told where his life was at the times of certain comedy pieces and performances. I thought it was enlightening to see how life and comedy intersect.

  • Terrance Seamus Obradaigh-Gavan
    2019-01-26 14:53

    Georgie Carlin grew up with an alcoholic father, a neurotic mother, a brother who served as the punching bag for their dad and tyhe imprimatur of all of new York shaping his childhood..he was a class clown/ He loved his wife.. His brother Pat reads his bio or auto bio on audible.. Carlin was flawed? Of course.. all comics are flawed.. But thus so are we all...Comics just get to put their flaws on display... he credits LSD with opening up his tight ass sensibilities... he spent his early life attempting to pleas ethe public and in the latter half he spent his time attempting to live down all of that crowd pleasing crap..he talks of the birth of the seven words.. and he recalls his many arrests.. he was arrested along with his partner (yes he was part of an two guy act) Jack Burns at a Lenny bruce concert.. He and Jack waited .. in the audience and offered some epithets to the cops who had stopped Lenny mid hum... As the cops bum rushed him out the door?He turned to his long-suffering wife... Honey I'm going to jail ... don't wait uphe chats about his cocaine/grass habit and he is honest to a fault about his coke problems.. His schtick about several appearances on the Ed Sullivan are hilarious... he talks about Sullivan's celebrated lack of edit... about how Ed was always on stage with his guests and about his outrageously inappropriate intros and exit lines...Carlin was called over once to chat after his set... "You're Catholic? he asked.. george nodded.."Ladies and Gentlemen George Carlin.. a funny man and he's catholic .. Let's hear it for George!"Jesus.. His friend Jose Feliciano appeared on Sullivan and Carlin was there for this intro from Ed..Ladies and gentleman Jose Feliciano tremendous singer and guitar player... He's BLIND! And he's Puerto Rican.. Let's hear it for Jose Feliciano... he asked Pat to read the book because it was finished posthumouslyPat Carlin never backed down from his dad.. and his dad was a terror...he became a car salesman in California until george gave himn a nudge to get his funny on.."Pat was always a great writer.. and I thouight he was wasting that talent as a used car salesman.. Pat is a great writer and he sounds like?Guess who..His brother Georgie..he reads the bio lovingly... he always had his younger brother's followed his brother into the army ..when they left they had five court martials between them..Pat had three and George had two...The army gave George his one big break.. they trained him to be a radio announcer... and he took that training and ran with it..he ran into another comic in newsers clothing jack Burns... Burns he credits with giving him the liberal sensibilities that followed him the rest of his life.. George grew up in a republican household and in his youth was a big fan of Joe McCarthy and J Edgar Hoover.. yes.. those guys were role models for the young New York Irish kid... Burns drove the crazy right out of george... they burgeoned as a comic duo....They traveled .. George his new bride and jack.... on the road across america playing small clubs / big clubs and many of the sixties art houses.. Carlin became friends with the legends/ Seeger/the folkies who were just then occupying prominence in the hippie dippie movement.This is a very good book...Of course you should read it.. but do yourself a favor..get an audible book subscription and listen to his older brother pat spin tales about his brother..There's love ion every word...Terry Gav

  • Barney
    2019-02-04 15:24

    I saw Carlin perform twice in my life, but became aware of him when I secretly watched Carlin at Carnegie when I was about 10 or 11 while my folks were bowling on a Friday. I didn't understand a lot of what he was saying, but I knew some bad language when I heard it. It was the stuff that my dad and mom yelled at each other all the time. Except this was incredibly funny, not filled with menace and fear.I still own several of his CD's, my favorite being a double CD set of his AM/FM, Occupation Foole and Class Clown releases. Perhaps the thing I liked about this book the least was the somewhat lengthy quotations from these albums. Shit I've had those fuckin' things memorized since I was about 12 or 13. The three things that make this a must read book are:1. Yes, there are drugs here in mass quantities. But it is not a story about the glories of drug abuse, nor the lamenting of the effects of drug abuse. Carlin maintains an attitude of that is in the past. With many other writers I would call Bull Shit, but not him. With many "show biz" biographies, tales of drinking three cases of beer with Peter Fonda or insert-known-addict-here and winding up teabagging insert-celebrity-you-despise-here are banal. Carlin was there, did that and spent the last four years of his life sober. 2. Carlin was first and foremost a performer, and his writings about audiences are insightful and grand. A word that gets abused in this culture is "authentic", but Carlin was authentically one of those people at his best on a stage. He knew it and here is matter of fact about it, again a refreshing item. There is also little or no name dropping, something I can't stand. I really don't give a shit about who celebrities hang out with in their spare time. I want to learn about how they do what they do, and Carlin is exhaustive in the hows-and-whys department.3. The growth in his comedy lay in the fact that he never stopped learning or trying to find new information. While an excellent lesson for each of us, I never realized how much of an effect this has had upon me as a writer. Carlin's stuff stands up well because, as he so eloquently put it, "Bullshit is the glue of our society." Since he is always riffing on the thing that most Americans instinctively despise (hypocrisy) his writing and shows will remain relevant.

  • Jeff
    2019-01-25 15:36

    This labels itself as a "sortabiography." Carlin met with Hendra many times over the course of 15 years, developing this as a book about his life. Sometimes they would have a specific theme or time period in mind, and sometimes they would just have a conversation with the tape recorder going. And although they never had the time to put it together while Mr. Carlin was alive, Hendra took it upon himself to assemble all the bits and pieces.And the result is amazing. I have always been a Carlin fan, from since way before I should have been allowed to watch his stand-up. But my parents knew that he was saying important things that I needed to hear. Eventually, I read his three books as well. They are more about language and funny business than ideas, but Carlin was a man of depth. From abortion to war to religion to snot to dogs to drugs to words to prison to leftovers in the fridge to sports to...stuff. I absorbed it all.And this book told me things I never would have thought to ask about. I had heard some of the stories before, but much of it was new to me. And it was great to have the scope of the man's whole life, chronologically. Sometimes chrono-illogically. I got to see how changes in the world caused changes in the man, and how those changes caused changes in his work. Which caused changes in comedy. Which caused some changes in the world. It was pretty amazing.And Tony Hendra must be some kind of genius. Carlin died a year and a half ago. This book came out last week. Yet somehow I felt as if there were no middle man. It was so intimate, conversational, and well put-together...for a while, I forgot he was dead. And that was a nice feeling. The world needs more George Carlins. And this book adds to a body of genius that might well help create some more.Highly recommended.

  • Tiara
    2019-02-19 18:45

    George, I had no idea. I grew up in the 90s/00s so I always knew George as the guy who cursed-- and I liked that. Little did I know that his career started anything but. Its obvious that hollywood is filled with mindless chatter, but George brings that out and confirms it. He was so real- such a realist- and in that day and age.. those were pretty hard to find. His parts on individuality and group-minds rang so true for me. I never felt part of a group and hated what the group-mind did to people. Loved people.. one on one. It is so hard to have a group collaborate in an organic way. I remember in college, kids would have their clicks and one even mentioned how a perfect group consisted of 5 people.. no more, no less. And I witnessed these groups bash other people just because they weren't part of their groups..Okay, ranting a bit off topic from this book. It told the story of his struggles, but still keeping who you are in the midst as well as giving an understanding that even if you stray for a moment-- its a learning experience.At least, that's what I took from it and it very much spoke to me.I'm not even one for biographies much, so one of the better biographies I've read.

  • Johntaylor1973
    2019-02-02 14:31

    My dad had CARLIN ON CAMPUS, one of his HBO concerts from the 80s. I used to sneak a peek and laugh laugh laugh. I had his entire routine memorized. I was lucky enough to see him in concert in Raleigh, NC, in the early 90s. I went with my parents, and while it was fun...several parts were PRETTY UNCOMFORTABLE watching with my parents (though I looked over a couple times to see my parents red-faced and laughing along with him!).I've read Napalm and the sequel. Those were more standup put in print. This was a really good account of who he was, what made him...Carlin. It was funny, sometimes sad, and he was honest. I liked that.In the preface it's mentioned that it is not really a finished product. I agree. It seems to skip ahead a decade or two (from the mid 80s, when Georgie was hitting his stride and coming into his own) to the end. It does feel rushed at the end, but I think the fact he died suddenly is probably a contributing factor:)All in all, if you're a fan of Carlin, this book is a MUST.It's great to see how he went from somebody associated with the establishment (Sullivan Show) to someone who spends every waking minute challenging it.RIP Carlin. You rock, Sir.

  • Patrick
    2019-02-09 18:44

    This book reminds me of what a classical liberal really think. He also cut down on the liberal ideology, the othrodox ones, and even confessed to doing something conservative like showing his daughter's abusive boyfriend a baseball bat and saying that he's not really a baseball player but use that to persuade certain people to either change or simply don't come back. He is also for other people's abortion, just not his own. My favorite part, where I actually laughed out loud was when he described one of his setbacks, in where he performed at a club where the owner who already paid his fee did not like the materials. While Carlin was on the stage, the lights slowly dimmed during his bit, 'slow like a sunset' until he was completely in the darkness on the stage and then they slowly reduced the sound of his microphone to silence so all the audience saw was a skinny stiloulette trying to gamely continue to perform. You have to admire his tenaciousy.It is a fine thin book, very well written and not a bulky tome. I really learned a lot about himself and his off kiltered way of thinking and how he developed his skill and talent as one of the greatest comedians of all times.

  • Rena Jane
    2019-01-22 15:47

    I always like George Carlin for his rebellious questioning and honest summaries of things in politics and the popular culture that seemed skewed to me.This book is like him, very honest and blunt about his life and his struggles as a performer, person, artist, son, father, husband and man. I should have realized, listening to his monologues over the years, how much he drank and did drugs, but at the same time, my denial was telling myself that someone so clever couldn't be doing THAT many drugs or getting THAT drunk. Silly me. But, like many other very gifted people, maybe alcohol and drugs helped fuel some of his creativity. How do we know? Perhaps he had to quiet the demons long enough to access the creativity.At any rate, and possibly every rate, Last Words is an honest commentary on a life lived with purpose and honesty. I'm sorry George left us, but we have the legacy of his words.

  • Larry Coleman
    2019-02-07 20:35

    It's amazing that a dead George Carlin wrote a better autobiography than a live Steve Martin. There's nothing in here that will make those who don't like and/or don't understand him suddenly get the confrontational and cerebral comedian he was. Nevertheless, it's certainly a solid overview of his life and thought processes and how the interplay of the two eventually molded him into what he became by the time he died: a unique (and desperately needed) social critic whose message was so un-PC that it could only be delivered via comedy; what Ambrose Bierce or H. L. Mencken would have been on piles of cocaine.This book would probably only be worth somewhere between 3-4 stars had he still been alive to work on it, but considering its quality in light of the fact that he's too dead to have had a chance to polish it up and flesh it out makes me give it five stars.

  • Emily
    2019-01-30 15:32

    The late George Carlin taped several interviews with the author Tony Hendra. They intended to write an autobiography (or, as they call it, a "sortabiography" because they think only assholes write autobiographies). Sadly, Mr. Carlin died last year, before the book was published. And after reading this, I'm left thinking that Carlin was taken too soon. He speaks a lot about a Broadway show he planned to write, and more HBO specials. But those dreams never materialized. Some readers might not like it, but I was glad that Hendra pieced together the chapter on the B'Way show and then simply stopped. No more book. No trying to make it out like there was a plot. Carlin died. Show's over. That's life.

  • Lori
    2019-02-17 20:37

    This is a memoir by George Carlin that was published after his death. He writes of his life from birth when he was born in New York and was raised in Harlem with his older brother. He was mostly raised by his mother since his violent alcoholic dad left the family. He is honest about growing up and joining the services for a few years. and the road to becoming a stand up comic. The marriage to his wife Brenda, and birth of is daughter Kelly. His slow rise to becoming a successful comic. I like that he prints some of his famous comedy bits like seven curse words you cannot say on TV. getting a house to "put his stuff" and so many other of his funny bits. This is a pretty good memoir for the most part. If someone is a fan of George Carlin, they may enjoy his memoir.

  • SuperHeroQwimm
    2019-02-05 20:33

    Like many of the things George Carlin has to offer, this was amazing. There was the blunt punch lines and forward thinking that made me love him in the first place. He will continue to be an inspiration.

  • Fadi Tibi
    2019-01-26 18:34