Monday, April 14, 2008

I Am America (And So Can You!)

So as to have some listening material for a series of connecting flights to a cruise last month, I downloaded Steven Colbert's audio book version of I Am America (And So Can You!)

If you didn't know this already, Steven Colbert is the comedian to conservatives. He is one of America's most promising satirists. The Yang to his previous employer, if not mentor, the decidedly liberal John Stewart of the Daily Show on Comedy Central. Truth be told, I think he's funnier than Stewart and I think Stewart knows it!

(not to be confused with this John Stewart who is also entertaining but by no means a liberal)

Colbert's thesis? Fix America!

I Am America is so in your face, so over the top that if you are not careful you will miss the even funnier subtleties laced in the narative.

From the introduction:

Now, you might ask yourself, if by yourself you mean me, "Stephen, if you don't like books, why did you write one?" You just asked yourself a trick question. I didn't write it. I dictated it. I shouted it into a tape recorder over the Columbus Day weekend, then handed it to my agent and said, "Sell this." He's the one who turned it into a book. It's his funeral.
But I get your "drift." Why even dictate?

Well, like a lot of other dictators, there is one man's opinion I value above all others. Mine. And folks, I have a lot of opinions. I'm like Lucy trying to keep up with the candy at the chocolate factory. I can barely put them in my mouth fast enough.

In fact, I have so many opinions, I have overwhelmed my ability to document myself. I thought my nightly broadcast, The Colbert Report (check your local listings), would pick up some of the slack. But here's the dirty little secret. When the cameras go off, I'm still talking. And right now all that opinion is going to waste, like seed on barren ground. Well no more. It's time to impregnate this country with my mind.

Colbert leaves no conservative stone unturned.

Part 1: My American Childhood
Chapter 1: The Family
Chapter 2: Old People
Chapter 3: Animals
Chapter 4: Religion

Part 2: My American Adolescence
Chapter 5: Sports
Chapter 6: Sex and Dating
Chapter 7: Homosexuals
Chapter 8: Higher Education
Chapter 9: Hollywood

Part 3: My American Maturity
Chapter 10: The Media
Chapter 11: Class War
Chapter 12: Race
Chapter 13: Immigrants
Chapter 14: Science

Conclusion: The Future

The narrative is filled with strident opinions, sound effects, and guest narrators. As it is narrated by Colbert himself, I can't imagine the written version being nearly as funny.


Aaron APC said...

I have the written version, and it's hilarious. One thing you won't get in the e-version are the stickers and markers, hilarious footnotes that probably can't be conveyed in the e-version. If you're familiar with the show and know his delivery, I doubt the sound effects make much of a difference. It may be worth your time to read the printed version also...

Then again, I've been wrong before...

jkruse said...

Steven Colbert is the comedian to conservatives

Ummm, you do know that what he's doing is a caricature, right?

Have you seen this?

I also think he's funnier than John Stewart, but it's because he makes so many conservative positions seem sooo stupid.

jroosh said...

I don't care what he is.

He's funny, although that video isn't his best stuff.

Too little material stretched to fit too much time and the crowd sort of confirmed as much in their reaction. Thanks for sharing it though!

jkruse said...

and the crowd sort of confirmed as much in their reaction

I think the lukewarm reception from that crowd is a result of two factors:

The press club gathering is traditionally a fluff-fest for the president. Remember his hilarious, "no WMD's here" routine? I think the crowd was uncomfortable witnessing a thorough take-down of the president who sat 10 feet away from the speaker.

The press themselves were just as much a target as the president. I don't think they have much of a sense of humor when it comes to their own flaws.

When you have time, google his commencement address at Knox College. He opens by stating roughly, "I'm Steven Colbert. I play a character named Steven Colbert. I'm not sure which one you invited here today..."