Let me start by saying that I’ve been a fan of George Carlin since I was a kid. I have fond memories of sitting around with friends laughing at his record Class Clown on which appears the famous (or infamous, depending on your point of view) skit ‘7 Words You Can Never Say on Television’. There was a time when I had most of that skit memorized and I can still rattle off those seven words. Carlin’s irreverent sense of humor and sharp social criticism clearly helped inform and influence the development of modern stand-up comedy. For better or worse (again depending on your point of view), it certainly was formative to my own idea of what is funny and what is proper. Last Words tells Carlin’s story from the moment of his birth (literally) to the last few years of his life. While charting the highs and lows of his career Carlin also discusses his struggles with drug addiction and his sometimes tumultuous home life. The result is occasionally harrowing. But make no mistake this is a very funny book. It’s funny the way Carlin was funny, smart and cynical and just a bit off kilter. It’s autobiography by way of stand-up routine and like the best of Carlin’s routines it stings just a little bit even as it tickles your funny bone.
— Matt, Los Angeles
Now in paperback, this posthumous work by an American classic was a fitting last book, an instant bestseller, and a huge success!
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.
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.
"Last Words, a posthumous autobiography from George Carlin, is a jazzy, inward-looking piece of work...as a chronicler of the working of his own mind, Carlin is terrific."
-- The New York Times
"...what "Last Words" ultimately reveals is how Carlin became a political protester, slam poet, cynic, polemicist and performance artist whose messages were delivered under the veneer of humor."
"The book is at turns biting and touching, and often both, which is what you would expect from a man for whom the sacred was profane and the profane, sacred."
"...frank and insightful..."
"This is not a collection of setups and punch lines, but a candid, fearless accounting of his life and art...Last Words shows a comic master at the height of his storytelling powers and with no limit to what he had left to say."
"For comedy fans, this book is vital. It's easily worth its weight in gold for the biting observations on showbiz and its personalities."
--San Francisco Chronicle
"[Last Words] sounds as if he is still with us, rested and ready to ridicule the latest cultural hypocrisies."
--The Washington Times
"Seven particular words are associated with the late comedian George Carlin, and sentimental is not one of them. But that's the surprising portrait that emerges from Last Words."