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#2 – I Am America (And So Can You!)

January 8, 2008

who’s the television host understands what matters most?There’s never been a more pointless book review than me recommending Stephen Colbert’s I Am America (And So Can You!) to you. If you’re already a member of the Colbert Nation, you’ve either read the book already or you’re absolutely determined to, and if you’re not a fan of Colbert, then nothing I can say will convince you if he’s failed to do so. Suffice to say, if you like The Colbert Report, then you are definitely going to like I Am America (And So Can You!). It’s very simple.

In all seriousness, I really did love this book. Colbert’s ridiculous right-wing blowhard character is portrayed perfectly here, to the point where you can practically hear him delivering lines like “I deliver my truth hot and fast. Fast and Furious. So either accept it without hesitation or get out of the way, because somebody might get hurt, and it’s not going to be me.” There’s even a Word-like commentary running throughout the book’s sidebar adding commentary, such as following the previous line with “It’s going to be you”. The end result is not unlike watching an epic, giant episode of The Colbert Report which covers most aspects of society, with none of those stupid segments with people who are not Stephen Colbert getting in the way.

The most obvious comparison to make for this book is The Daily Show‘s America: The Book, but just as the two shows have a completely different feel to them, it’s the same with these books. The comedy here comes from Colbert (the character)’s ill-informed belligerence, stubborn adherence to elaborate and ridiculous theories, and his seemingly random and constantly changing vendettas (“The biggest threat facing America today – next to voter fraud, the Western Pinebark Beetle, and the memory foam mattress – is the national news media”, for example). While America: The Book is an application of The Daily Show‘s overall satirical outlook to US history, I Am America (And So Can You!) is very much a one-man show. Stephen Colbert is all over this book, from its front cover to the About the Author blurb on the back flap (full text: “Stephen Colbert is America.”).

You don’t need me to tell you to read this book, you should already be reading it. As an added bonus in addition to the games and removable stickers that the book contains, the appendix is the full text of Colbert’s legendary speech at the 2006 White House Correspondents’ Dinner, complete with commentary of semi-questionable accuracy. If you haven’t heard it, then I insist you check the video out after the break; hiring Stephen Colbert to give this speech is likely going to prove to be the most positive thing the Bush administration accomplished in 8 years.

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2 comments

  1. I’m trying really, very hard to hold out for the paperback. But, arrgh! why is it taking so long! Yeah, I know it came out late last year and I’d better settle down for the long haul, but still I wanted that book before it came out. Ah what the hell, I think I’ll suck it up and just buy it this weekend.


  2. Excellent choice, J.S. In Colbert’s own words: “This book is for America’s Heroes. And who are the Heroes? The people who bought this book. That bears repeating. People who borrow this book are not Heroes. They are no better than welfare queens mooching off the system like card-carrying library card-carriers.”

    I, for one, am proud to count myself among the ranks of the Heroes.



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