Last Words (George Carlin 1937-2008 with Tony Hendra) - Free Press/Simon & Schuster - 2009 - 295 pages

George Carlin was my favorite comedian of the 1960s.  As the years past, he became less funny and more angry.  More than anything else, he was an excellent writer and thinker.  However, he insisted upon using the repetitious and profane nouns, verbs and adjectives of the street.  I do not object to the occasional use of profanity but I am offended by the repetition.  The English language is rich with wonderful descriptors.  Carlin taught himself to use the language effectively but always peppered his non-FCC regulated shows with street language that only encouraged others to do the same.  These vocabulary-limiters are a major cause of the common persons' shrinking ability to express themselves.  He had an abusive, alcoholic and mostly-absent father who probably shaped his dysfunction.  Carlin dropped out of high school, was kicked out of the air force, never held a regular job, was fired many times by various club owners, and generally taunted any sort of authority figure throughout his life.  In spite of being a successful, highly-paid stand-up comedian in constant demand, his family struggled financially because of his abusive lifestyle that included an expensive cocaine habit.  In this book, he honestly confronts his dysfunctional relationships with people, drugs and the Internal Revenue service.  This abusive lifestyle was certainly the cause of numerous cardiac episodes that shortened his life.  Although I avoided his performances during the angry period, I found that this book filled a need for closure with someone I once admired.  His writing is excellent and brutally honest.  Co-author Hendra deserves our plaudits for the final edit after Carlin's death.  [JAM 1/7/2012]