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Last Words

4.04  ·  Rating Details ·  9,148 Ratings  ·  472 Reviews
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 strugg ...more
Kindle Edition with Audio/Video
Published (first published January 1st 2009)
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Oct 05, 2013 Patrick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 sittin
Feb 14, 2016 Khadidja rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 !!

Jun 18, 2014 Diane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 he ...more
Jason Koivu
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 genera
Sep 22, 2016 Licha rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comedy, memoir
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
Sep 19, 2014 Louise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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 h
Aug 26, 2010 Ken rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 nursi
Diamond Cowboy
Oct 30, 2015 Diamond Cowboy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Seamus Thompson
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
May 24, 2012 Sheri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Aug 08, 2014 Joseph rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 liste ...more
Jan 09, 2011 Jesse rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
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 tra ...more
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
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
Jack Rowley
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
Gus Sanchez
Dec 28, 2009 Gus Sanchez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 t ...more
Amy "the book-bat"
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
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 att
Jan 15, 2010 Patrick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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 describe
Apr 12, 2013 Barney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 Fo
Feb 23, 2010 Johntaylor1973 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Rena Jane
Nov 29, 2010 Rena Jane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Larry Coleman
Apr 11, 2011 Larry Coleman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
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 ...more
Interesting story on Carlin's early life and career, ups and downs, drug issues (and there were a LOT of drugs), and I particularly enjoyed his early days and reminiscences of Mike Douglas, Merv Griffin, John Davidson, etc. - brought back a lot of memories.

Carlin was unquestionably funny and sharply intelligent, but I'm still not sure if he was really nice. Everyone is either similar to him or an asshole; every idea is either in sync with his or just bullshit. His anger and crankiness played a b
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
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.
Scott Erickson
Jul 31, 2016 Scott Erickson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been a huge Carlin fan ever since his first album (I bought AM & FM on vinyl). His last few HBO specials were pure brilliance, outrageous humor combined with biting social commentary. His radical view that humanity is doomed has (sadly) become my own. This "sorta autobiography" gives a great view of what was going inside while evolving as a person and as an artist. Carlin had an early chance at mainstream success, which he gradually realized was at the expense of his soul. So he gave it ...more
Nov 03, 2014 SuperHeroQwimm rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Cliff Yates
Mar 23, 2016 Cliff Yates rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comedy
As a comedian this is a must read. Especially to get a look at the detailed process that George Carlin used in writing material. A matrix that could be easily followed by anyone. What would be harder to model is his commitment to the process while performing. He had things he wanted to say, and say well. He had a structure to his material, and a set up and punch format, that he crafted to be said conversationally. Totally comfortable with silence, and didn't have the need to be getting laughs al ...more
Don Murphy
Aug 08, 2012 Don Murphy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To say thorough would be an understatement. More like absolute, all-encompassing, complete, comprehensive, detailed, scrupulous, slam-bang, soup to nuts memoir of Carlin. He told his story to a fellow comedian who painstakingly and honestly transcribed it, posthumously. Kinda fitting, I suppose. He goes from his earliest memories of growing up fatherless in New York to his ideas of the his future undertakings. All of this is wrapped around the idea of how life and his mind has shaped his comedy ...more
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Madison Mega-Mara...: # 25 - Last Words by George Carlin 1 3 Feb 17, 2015 01:45PM  
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George Denis Patrick Carlin was a Grammy-winning American stand-up comedian, actor, author, and philosopher.

Carlin was especially noted for his political and black humor and his observations on language, psychology, and religion along with many taboo subjects. Carlin and his "Seven Dirty Words" comedy routine were central to the 1978 U.S. Supreme Court case F.C.C. v. Pacifica Foundation, in which
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“But when you're in front of an audience and you make them laugh at a new idea, you're guiding the whole being for the moment. No one is ever more him/herself than when they really laugh. Their defenses are down. It's very Zen-like, that moment. They are completely open, completely themselves when that message hits the brain and the laugh begins. That's when new ideas can be implanted. If a new idea slips in at that moment, it has a chance to grow.” 171 likes
“The larger the group, the more toxic, the more of your beauty as an individual you have to surrender for the sake of group thought. And when you suspend your individual beauty you also give up a lot of your humanity. You will do things in the name of a group that you would never do on your own. Injuring, hurting, killing, drinking are all part of it, because you've lost your identity, because you now owe your allegiance to this thing that's bigger than you are and that controls you.” 54 likes
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