Jack Rowley's Reviews > Last Words

Last Words by George Carlin
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Sep 28, 11

Read in September, 2011

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.
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Kerry Bogert Beautiful review.


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