George Carlin: Last Words

I love reading, hence why I review books constantly in my blog.  I also love video games, which I’ve mentioned.  Another thing I love is stand-up comedy.  And the absolute king of stand-up comedy is George Carlin.  I just finished reading Last Words, a memoir written by George and organized by Tony Hendra.

George Carlin is a comedian unlike any other I’ve ever heard tell a joke.  He didn’t just say the first words that came to him to tell the joke, which can often be funny enough, he tweaked the words until the joke was perfect, and then kept trying to make it better.  He was a stand-up comedian for over 50 years.  50 years!

I started working about 10 years ago, and in that time I’ve had 4 different jobs, and I’m currently looking for my first full time job after graduating from college.  Can you imagine having the same job for 50 years?

The introduction to the book talks about how Carlin separates himself from the interchangeable parade of stand-ups on Comedy Central because of the thought that he put into his words.  This is easy to show, go look at Carlin’s material from 20 years ago, it’s still just as funny as it was then.

If you have any appreciation of intelligent humor, you need to read this book.  If you’re a fan of Carlin, this book is a wonderful insight on the life path that led to the greatest comedian of all time.  I think that anyone can learn something from reading about his life whatever you’re planning on doing.  More than anyone else I’ve ever seen, Carlin truly understood that words have power, and he exploited that.  He was fearless and no topic was out of bounds.  Even if you disagree with where he took you, you would look back on the experience and be glad that he took you there.

Carlin was fearless, a lot of people my age or younger won’t know this, but George Carlin went to the Supreme Court in defense of Freedom of Speech because of his 7 Words You Can Never Say on Television routine.  He was a genius of a kind that I will likely never see again in my lifetime.

If you have any appreciation of comedy, writing, the power of words, entertainment, or even just seeing someone excel at what they do, this book is a wonderful read.