Truly the voice of a generation, George Carlin gave the world some of the most hysterical and iconic comedy routines of the last fifty years. From the "Seven Dirty Words" to "A Place for My Stuff," to "Religion is B******t," he perfected the art of making audiences double over with laughter while simultaneously making people wake up to the realities (and insanities) of life in the twentieth century.
Few people glimpsed the inner life of this beloved comedian, but his only child, Kelly, was there to see it all. Born at the very beginning of his decades-long career in comedy, she slid around the "old Dodge Dart," as he and wife Brenda drove around the country to "hell gigs." She witnessed his transformation in the '70s, as he fought back against-and talked back to-the establishment; she even talked him down from a really bad acid trip a time or two ("Kelly, the sun has exploded and we have eight, no-seven and a half minutes to live!").
Kelly not only watched her father constantly reinvent himself and his comedy, but also had a front row seat to the roller coaster turmoil of her family's inner life-alcoholism, cocaine addiction, life-threatening health scares, and a crushing debt to the IRS. But having been the only "adult" in her family prepared her little for the task of her own adulthood. All the while, Kelly sought to define her own voice as she separated from the shadow of her father's genius.
With rich humor and deep insight, Kelly Carlin pulls back the curtain on what it was like to grow up as the daughter of one of the most recognizable comedians of our time, and become a woman in her own right. This vivid, hilarious, heartbreaking story is at once singular and universal-it is a contemplation of what it takes to move beyond the legacy of childhood, and forge a life of your own.
The home life of legendary countercultural comedian George Carlin was a barrel of laughs, drugs, and dysfunctions, according to this wry, raw memoir by his only child. Kelly Carlin, a radio host and monologist, recounts her parents' devotion to booze, weed, cocaine, and pills; their multiple arrests for obscenity, drug possession, and DUI; and her mother's near-death from alcoholism. Carlin also describes the electric aura of fame surrounding her father and the shadow it threw on her and her mother, as well as his miscellaneous psychotic breaks, including the time George urgently warned family and friends that the sun had exploded. The legacy for the author was an incredibly lax upbringing, her own epic substance abuse (in high school her dad happily gave her money to buy pot), ill-considered relationships, crippling panic attacks, and a feckless adulthood spent nibbling at the edges of the entertainment industry. Carlin's absorption in herself and her family melodrama is intense; the narrative is full of neediness, narcissism, and name dropping "Nothing could possibly top having sex with Leif Garrett in Ryan O'Neal and Farrah Fawcett's bed" and her accounts of her parent's funerary rites drag on for chapters. Still, she captures the wackiness of celebrity-hood, and pens a vivid portrait of her parents, with acerbic wit and real pathos.