Whether it involves musing on the inevitable and annoying ironies of everyday life, spouting off about anything and everything that gets his goat, or just plain figuring out new and improved ways to be difficult, George Carlin’s comedy is incorrigible and unmistakable. Following the runaway success of Brain Droppings, Carlin now delivers all-new rants, what-ifs, observations, and out-and-out damnations in his cantankerous new collection, Napalm and Silly Putty.
Carlin is at his best taking on the whole world and telling it like it is—or at least how he sees it. From the “Airline Announcements” section (“…here’s a phrase that apparently the airlines simply made up: near miss. Bull****, my friend. It’s a near hit! A collision is a near miss.”) to “Cars and Driving” (“One of the first things they teach you in Driver’s Ed is where to put your hands on the steering wheel. They tell you to put ’em at ten o’clock and two o’clock. Never mind that. I put mine at 9:45 and 2:17. Gives me an extra half hour to get where I’m goin’.”), Carlin takes you on a wild ride through a life you’ll never look at the same way again. He identifies the experience of “vuja de”—“the distinct sense that, somehow, something that just happened has never happened before”—and posits existential questions including, “If there really are multiple universes, what do they call the thing they’re all a part of?” and “If the reason for climbing Mt. Everest is that it’s hard to do, why does everyone go up the easy side?” Of course, it wouldn’t be George Carlin if he didn’t say a whole lot more that we just can’t print here!
Including more lists of things he’s had just about enough of, and hilarious short takes that will put you in stitches, Napalm and Silly Putty is Carlin’s comic opus on life at the dawn of the 21st century. In it, he asks, “Have you ever started a path? No one seems willing to do this. We don’t mind using existing paths, but we rarely start new ones. Do it today. Start a path. Even if it doesn’t lead anywhere.” Carlin has certainly started his own path—read Napalm and Silly Putty and decide for yourself where he’s going. (Elise Vogel)