Most humor doesn't age well. He comes across as grumpy and random, not as witty as I remembered him from years ago. George was radical and amazing in the 70s and 80s but listening to him rant is sort of like listening to disco music - you understand why people liked it at the time and also why no one listens to it anymore.
Regret at having bought it.
People say I resemble my dog (and vice-versa). He can hear sounds I can't hear, but I'm the one who listens to audiobooks.
In the preface to Brain Droppings, the first of three short books of humor performed here by the late great master comedian himself, George Carlin identifies three of his main sources of humor -- the English language, aspects of everyday life (like driving and pets), and larger social and political issues plaguing the human condition.
His dissection of the way we use language will make you change the way you speak, will make you think twice before using common words and phrases, even the way you say goodbye or tell someone what time it is. It should be taught in high school and college, especially the redundancies, oxymorons, and incorrect usages. It really takes the cake -- or why the cake, why not pie? That would be as easy as pie. Piece of cake. That kind of stuff.
His riffs on what he calls the "small things" of life will likewise crack you up as it makes you think twice about things you take for granted. Like, did you ever notice that everyone who drives slower than you is an idiot, but everyone who drives faster is a maniac? And do you really want to take a non-stop flight? Wouldn't you rather they make at least one stop?
Priceless stuff, much of it familiar if you've already seen his stand-up routines or heard his recordings. Having it in this form is the best of both worlds -- the original published print books allowed Carlin and his editors to hone the material down to its most perfect verbiage, and then having him perform it in audio format in his inimitable style, reflecting his years of doing this material on stage, is simply hilarious. You'll be quoting him for quite some time (I've been quoting him for decades -- like, did you ever notice when you wear a hat for a while, it starts to feel like it's not there, then you take it off, and it feels like it's still there!).
Now, the bigger stuff, the political and social criticism, that's more hit and miss, depending on your personal views. He takes great pains in his preface to make it clear that he has no agenda other than being an acerbic observer of our larger foibles, but it may definitely rub one the wrong way when his omnicritcal take on our world mercilessly skewers your own opinions. His pre-9/11 jokes about terrorism are especially anachronistic. Just remember, it's all meant to be humorous.
Likewise his vulgarity, Although his most famous routine, Seven Dirty Words, is not part of this collection, he uses a lot more than seven dirty words here. Many of his punch lines are not really punch lines, they're just flat out in your face cussing. You probably knew that before considering whether to listen to him, but better to be prepared for it -- and remember, it's all a joke. (Bonus points for anyone who can pick out the phrases used in this review that Carlin would eviscerate.)
I wasn't all that familiar with George Carlin before this book, so I wasn't sure what to expect, and I certainly wasn't let down by high expectations. In the end, I didn't find this work all that funny or engaging. There were some very funny and pertinent commentaries that showed a clever brain behind the man, but the in-your-face blustering wore me down.
It was well read by the author, but his voice enhanced the feeling I had that Mr. Carlin is a curmudgeon. I'm not sure this is a person I'd want to meet in person.
So, if you like Howard Stern or similar comedians, then you may like this book. For me, I'm just glad I got it on sale.