Surprisingly juvenile and annoyingly one-note. Each story is a one-joke pony... the Kennedys were elitist and cruel sans torturers, Princess Diana was elitist and self-involved, Hanson was not just a band but a band of Jesus freaks, etc. Safe, unfunny "humor" by a "comedy expert" "grownup."Tommy
A very funny book and, along with Steve Martin's "Pure Drivel" and Chris Buckley's "Wry Martinis", my impetus to write my first (quite sloppy) collection of essays on pop culture, "Smirking into the Abyss".Jon juxtaposes some great cultural icons, such as the correspondences between Princess Diana and Mother Teresa, Vincent Van Gogh trying to communicate with his brother in an internet chat room, The Last Supper taking place in a trendy restaurant, Hitler guesting on "Larry King", and my favorite, the progression of the yearly 'Christmas form letter' from the mom of the kids from Hanson. The only pitfall is, as with any pop culture-driven book (as I quickly learned) is that the shelf-life can be very brief, so some references are stale, unless you can take yourself back to the late 90's as you read to appreciate the pith with which Jon nails the reference. But, for the most part, the pieces hold up remarkably well. This is a very funny book.Joshua
Jon Stewart is a pretty funny guy.That said I expected a lot more more from this collection of his essays. Of them only the first in the book ("Breakfast at Kennedy's") stood out, which is why this is getting 2 stars rather than one. The rest, while I appreciated his mixing absurdist comedy with Borscht Belt humor, seemed strained. The book as a collection was disjointed and seemed cobbled together as an effort to cash in on his early popularity by publishing... well... anything.Rhonda
I enjoyed this book to no end...well, until it ended. ;)I feel like I was snickering through most of it if not laughing out loud for the rest. I especially enjoyed the chapters with Hanson's Christmas letters & the Larry King interview of Hitler. Oh & the Last Supper at "Jerry's" in Jerusalem. *snickers* See? Still snickering. I wouldn't be surprised if I re-read this at some point. My love of Jon Stewart apparently knows no bounds.Jonathan
This collection from 1998 will be disappointing for most of Stewart's fans (I am one). The first story is a pretty good dissection of the Kennedy family mythos which nicely demonstrates Stewart's raunchy-but-good-natured wit. Unfortunately, the rest of the book is pretty pointless: juvenile, facile, and rarely funny. The stories seem to grope toward satire, but with neither the deserving targets nor the clear moral point of view that make the Daily Show so sharp, articulate, and entertaining. The result falls somewhere between Woody Allen at his silliest and the wise-ass fifteen-year-old that Jon Stewart presumably once was.I found this book interesting to read, but only because it captures Jon Stewart at a turning point in his creative life, as he began to mature from a good stand-up comic and so-so talk show host into the accomplished social critic and satirist he has become. This book is mostly a series of misguided attempts, but luckily for us he started figuring out what to do soon after it was published.Patrick Breen
This book has many hilarious stories. From a young jewish boy spending time at the Kennedy Compound toChristmas with the Hanson family(mmmbop)! Also, check out Larry King's interview with Hitler and not to mention Martha Stewart's decorative tips for a certain part of the female anatomy. I could not stop laughing at this book!Ryan
Meh. I love me some Jon Stewart and Daily Show, and I love how his work over the last decade has become timeless. The Daily Show has a long shelf life. This book does not. I bought it in a bargain bin maybe eight years ago, and forgot about it. After the Rally To Restore Sanity, I thought I'd give this a try. It's a bunch of short essays about pop culture of the late 90s, where Hanson Christmas cards detailing their decline, a Martha Stewart sendoff, and Princess Diana's immature letters to Mother Teresa all seem very dated. Somewhat "heh" but not enjoyable. The other pieces that are older (the secret Gerald Ford tapes, Hitler's Larry King Live interview, JFK's Jewish schoolboy chum's trip to the Kennedy Compound) should have more staying power but somehow don't. I'm glad Jon Stewart is doing what he's doing now. We're all better off this way.Colie!
It's incredible what a book written for its time is like shortly after that time has expired... this is pure late nineties. The Zeitgeist is so thick you can spread it on your bagel. Despite the fact that you get that eerie cringe of an outdated joke (think Monica Lewinsky jabs in this day and age) every now and then, it's still a fun read for passing an afternoon without internet or tv (which is how I employed it.)Brett Thornton
If you're bored by the first half of the book just stick with it. The "essays" are typically within 4-8 pages so it's an extremely simple and light read. My favorites were "A Very Hanson Christmas, 1996-1999", "The New Judaism", "Pen Pals", "The Last Supper, Or The Dead Waiter", "The Cult", "The Devil And William Gates" and of course "Adolf Hitler: The Larry King Interview".Maria
Maybe I wasn't wearing my smarty pants when I was reading this because Stewart's topical and satirical wit just went over my head. I wanted to like this so much more than I actually did. I'll stick to my nightly fix of The Daily Show.Chris
This was a present from some friends, for which I am very thankful. It's a series of comedic essays, similar to Steve Martin's Pure Drivel or Woody Allen's Without Feathers, and it is quite funny. Not really laugh-out-loud funny, but funny. I think Stewart's comedy is best rendered as a spoken art. He's fantastic with inflection and timing, which unfortunately doesn't translate so well onto the page.Still and all, there's a lot of good stuff in here. "The Devil and William Gates" is excellent, as are "Adolph Hitler: The Larry King Interview" and "The Cult."Yes, I know, quite a change in tone, but that's what keeps life interesting.Kathleen
A quite amusing selection of humorous, shall we call them... essays? Published in '98 one or two of them are a little dated (specifically the one on AOL chat rooms, do people still do that?), but they are all completely hilarious. I highly recommend this book for a quick laugh.Lori
I love Jon Stewart, but this book, while clever in concept. is super gimmicky and not really my kind of humor. There were too many chapters I just couldn't relate to at all and ended up skipping over – perhaps I'm not "whip-smart" enough to understand them. In addition, much of the book feels very dated, although the stories that included AOL chat room conversations were among some of my favorites.Dinah
Eh... I guess this book is occasionally clever? Stewart certainly knows his history, and gets in a good rib at seminal figures every twenty pages or so, but the majority of chapters/vignettes in this book were honestly a slog. I'll be sticking to the Daily Show.Sarah
Though most of what I read was very humorous, I feel like I'm not well enough educated to truly appreciate the whole book. So, if you are more attentive to politics and/or current events than I am, you would most likely enjoy it a lot.