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Synopses & 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 acer-bic humor with never-before-told stories from his own life.
In 1993 George Carlin asked his friend and bestselling author Tony Hendra to help him write his autobiography. For almost fifteen years, in scores of conversations, many of them recorded, the two discussed Carlin's life, times, and evolution as a major artist. When Carlin died at age seventy-one in June 2008 with the book still unpublished, Hendra set out to assemble it as his friend would have wanted. Last Words is the result, the rollicking, wrenching story of Carlin's life from birth — literally — to his final years, as well as a parting gift of laughter to the world of comedy he helped create.
George Carlin's journey to stardom began in the rough-and-tumble neighborhood of New York's Upper West Side in the 1940s, where class and culture wars planted the seeds for some of his best known material, including the notorious "Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television." His 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.
The autobiography that George Carlin had nearly completed before he died.
One of the undisputed heavyweight champions of American comedy, with nineteen appearances on the Johnny Carson show, thirteen HBO specials, five Grammys, and a critical Supreme Court battle over censorship under his belt, 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, including encounters with a Who’s Who of 1970s celebrity—from Lenny Bruce to Hugh Hefner—and the origins of some of his most famous standup routines. 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 wit and unblinking honesty that made Carlin one of the best-loved comedians in American history.
With fourteen HBO specials, five Grammys, a critical Supreme Court battle over censorship, and countless appearances on the international comedy circuit, George Carlin saw it all and made fun of most of it.
Carlins journey to stardom began in the rough-and-tumble neighborhoods of New York in the 1950s, where class and culture wars planted the seeds for some of his earliest material including the infamous Seven Dirty Words routine. Carlin describes his major influences as an up-and-coming comic, talking about the origins of some of his most famous stand-up routines. The people he encountered on his rise to stardom reads like a Whos Who of 1970s celebrity, from Lenny Bruce who took him under his wing to Hugh Hefner who gave him his first big shot.
Carlin spares no details as he describes his life and career. He discusses his own battle with substance abuse, his often turbulent relationships with the women in his life, and the politics that informed so much of his stand-up. From the high points on stage to low points in the hospital, Last Words is George Carlins life told with the same brash, unblinking honesty that defined his comedy.
About the Author
Born in New York City in 1937, George Dennis Patrick Carlin was one of the greatest and most influential stand-up comedians of all time. He appeared on “The Tonight Show” more than 130 times, starred in an unprecedented thirteen HBO Specials, hosted the first “Saturday Night Live” and penned three New York Times bestselling books. Of the twenty-three solo albums recorded by Mr. Carlin, eleven were Grammy nominated and he took home the coveted statue five times including a 2001 Grammy win for Best Spoken Comedy Album for his reading of his best seller Brain Droppings. In 2002, Carlin was awarded the “Freedom of Speech Award” by the First Amendment Center in cooperation with the US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colorado, and he was the named eleventh recipient of The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in June of 2008. George Carlin passed away at age seventy-one on June 22, 2008 in Santa Monica, California.
Tony Hendra was recently described by The Independent of London as “one of the most brilliant comic talents of the post-war period” He began his comedic career with Graham Chapman of Monty Python, appeared six times on the Ed Sullivan Show, was one of the original editors of National Lampoon, edited the classic parody Not The New York Times, starred in This Is Spinal Tap, and co-created and co-produced the long-running British satirical series Spitting Image for which he was nominated for a British Academy Award. He has written or edited dozens of books, most of them satirical, with the exception of two New York Times bestsellers: Brotherhood (2001) and Father Joe (2004). He is a senior member of the Board of the nation-wide story-telling community, The Moth.
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