Celebrated comic George Carlin, has been doing stand-up for more than 30 years. He was the first host of “Saturday Night Live” and a popular stand-up comedian. Besides his well known sketches, he is the author of three books. The newest, though good for a few laughs, is less than is typically expected from the renowned comedic mind.
“When Will Jesus Bring the Porkchops?” is a compilation of odds and ends. It serves as a gathering of Carlin’s random thoughts, many of them taken from sketches performed during his comedic career. Carlin’s style throughout the book — which mirrors his style in real life — consists of hard, caustic humor and loud opinions. He writes “I don’t think it’s right that ugly women should be allowed to get plastic surgery and get fixed up to look real nice. I think if you’re born ugly you should stay that way.” His humor has an edgy, sarcastic appeal, but there is something a little uncomfortable about reading a 67-year old man’s statement that “…at any given moment, (his) thoughts are probably on pussy.”
Some of Carlin’s material is witty and clever. One of the continuing threads of humor he uses in the book is a rant on euphemisms, the softening of language to increasingly laughable degrees. “And I hope you took note of that word associate. That’s a hot word with companies right now. I saw a fast-food employee mopping the floor at an In-n-Out Burger and — I swear this is true — his name tag said ‘associate’…apparently, instead of money, they now give out these bogus titles.”
Carlin never backs down from bashing hypocrites. He dedicates whole sections of the book to dissecting what he calls “Politician Talk.” In this respect, his book is a success, dissecting the pomposity of society with humor and intelligence. But the impact of this is dimmed by the sometimes overly crude jokes. More conservative readers may find it difficult to laugh at Carlin’s book, especially with a section entitled “Tips for Serial Killers.” In this section he writes, “Because I enjoy following the exploits of serial killers, I’m always hoping they never get caught. So I’ve compiled a list of suggestions to help them stay on the loose longer; that way they can provide me with maximum entertainment.”
His morbid, sometimes crass brand of comedy can be alternatively attractive and repelling, which is a major weakness of the book. It lacks a strong focus and is simultaneously a rant, a reflection and a commentary on cultural weakness. Its appeal is weakened by what some will call offensive material. Although Carlin’s renowned wit will basically allow him to get away with anything, “When Will Jesus Bring the Porkchops?” shows that after a while, the same humor just isn’t funny anymore.
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars