Publication Date: November 2, 2010
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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 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.
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 14 HBO Specials, hosted the first “Saturday Night Live” and penned three New York Times bestselling books. Of the 23 solo albums recorded by Mr. Carlin, 11 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 U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colorado, and he was the named 11th recipient of The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in June of 2008. George Carlin passed away at age 71 on June 22, 2008 in Santa Monica, California.
Before his death in June 2008, comedian George Carlin spent 10 years working on a memoir, Last Words, with his longtime friend Tony Hendra. Hendra, a writer and comedian, talks with Rebecca Roberts about Carlin's life and legacy. More at NPR.org
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"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."
More than 150 writers from 40 events will gather in New York City for PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature, April 28 – May 4, 2014.
For its 10th anniversary, the festival celebrates those who have dared to stand ‘on the edge,’ risking their careers, and sometimes their lives, to speak out for their art and beliefs. Join us for a wide range of events, including debates, one-on-one conversations, participatory workshops and performances in venues throughout the city. Use the code PEN14 (use PEN2014 for events at The Public Theater) and receive a 20 percent discount on most events. www.worldvoicesfestival.org