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I Know I Am, But What Are You? Hardcover – June 1, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books; 1 edition (June 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439142734
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439142738
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #923,902 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A senior correspondent for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, the Toronto-born comedian pokes fun at herself in a witty collection of personal essays. Recalling her upbringing, she lightheartedly and hysterically skewers her parents, stepparents, grandparents, and even the nuns who taught her math, half of whom "looked and smelled like the rejection of life itself." Bee's stepmother took camping "very seriously," and preparing for a trip was "like preparing for the End of Days;" her father, claiming to be thinking up strategies for better fuel efficiency, was really "just reading Penthouse on the toilet." Regarding the nuns at her Catholic school, Bee doesn't hold back: "You could see that they had all their lady parts, but you just knew that once a month they menstruated dust." Bee takes readers from childhood to adolescence and beyond, reminiscing along the way about her first boyfriend, comparing their sexual chemistry to that of a "sea cucumber that sits motionless on the cold, dark ocean floor and dreams of dry-humping a nearby scallop." Bee successfully brings her witty, self-deprecating, slightly cynical, and semi-scathing world view from screen to page.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Samantha Bee joined the cast of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart in 2003 and now holds the title Most Senior Correspondent, having systematically eliminated all those before her. (Her husband Jason Jones joined the cast in 2005.) In addition to her work on The Daily Show, Samantha played the role of Cinnabon Cashier in The Love Guru and can be seen opposite Uma Thurman and Minnie Driver in the upcoming feature Motherhood. She was born and raised in Toronto Canada and is the recipient of the 2005 Canadian Comedy Award for 'Pretty Funny Female'. When she is not working she enjoys walking her toddlers in circles around her tiny apartment and correcting spelling errors on menus.

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Customer Reviews

Samatha had an interesting childhood, but I didn't get the ha ha funny part.
S. E. Miller
I bought this book as a big fan of Samantha Bee from the Daily Show and am now a bigger fan after reading this book.
L. Frucht
Overall I HIGHLY enjoyed this book and thought it made for the perfect summer breezy read.
Chicago Book Addict

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Todd Bartholomew TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Any time a comedian writes about their life there's a "through the looking glass" tendency to question how much of it is truth and how much is played strictly for comic effect. As a regular contributor to "The Daily Show" Samantha Bee has shown herself to be one of the sharpest wits on television and a master at deftly skewering an array of idiots, gasbags, blowhards, and freaks. What will shock and surprise readers the most is not only Bee's sharp sense of humor and wit, but her laying bare her past in shocking details. "I Know I Am" is by turns not only hilariously funny yet also thought provoking as you read all the drama that Bee has gone through in her life. Like any good comic Bee finds the humor and laughs in her past and plays it to comic effect. Ostensibly a series of essays on various aspects of her life, "I Know I Am" holds together well as a biography of sorts and also as musings on the absurdities of a misspent life doing an array of crazy things. That she wound up on "The Daily Show" is nothing short of surprising, given the strange things she's done in her life, all told in a voice that is distinctively hers. If you've enjoyed Samantha Bee on "The Daily Show" and want to know more about what makes her tick then you'll definitely enjoy "I Know I Am"! But there remains an otherworldly strangeness to the book that makes you wonder if its all true or invented; such is the nature of Bee's humor.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jean E. Pouliot on June 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The key to Samantha Bee's humor is in her contradictions - she plays a repressed person who is outrageous. And unlike many comics whose work is hilarious on TV, she can actually write funny stories that are worth reading. This memoir of exaggerated tales of her childhood, adolescence and early adulthood probes the frustrations, hurts and stupidities of growing up human on planet Earth. Her strongest material is the least self-conscious. Bee's portrayal of herself as an ugly, awkward, indoorsy bookworm and TV watcher is both affecting, worrying and probably close to the truth. Her adolescent years, in which she made dangerous visits to older men, are scary and true-sounding, echoing the way that naïve youngsters find their way in the tricky and perilous word of the sexually savvy. Bee hit a few sour notes in her diatribe against May-December relationships. Her comments about the problems of older people crossed from wickedly insightful to needlessly mean. She redeemed herself with tales of her hunky college roommate, simultaneously irresistible physically and repulsive mentally.

"I Know I am" is a quick read -- I devoured it over a weekend, which is superfast for me. While Bee doesn't have the depth, insight and subtlety of a David Sedaris, the book was a fun read. It didn't achieve Sedaris's laugh-out-loud funniness, or oh-my-god appallingness. But it was a nice autobiography of tarted up truths about growing up in the Western world.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By The Good Life VINE VOICE on September 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I got to about page 90 when I lost interest in reading Samantha Bee's "i know i am, but what are you?" I am a huge fan of hers on The Daily Show, and I never cease to be happily shocked by the crazy stuff she says on the show, especially when she's interviewing someone (she has the biggest cojones of any female I've ever seen).

But for some reason, this book fell kinda flat for me. Maybe I wasn't in the right frame of mind, or maybe I was distracted by wondering how much of it is actually true (if it is, yowza). There are definitely funny moments, but nothing that elicited more than a chuckle (whereas I routinely laugh my butt off while watching TDS). It's just realistic enough that her anecdotes could be true, at least partly true, but then the absurdity of her experiences really aren't funny if that's the case. Just kind of odd and sad (which certainly explains her sense of humor today).

If you want a laugh-out-loud book from someone on The Daily Show, then pick up Jon Stewart's "Naked Pictures of Famous People." Now THOSE essays are completely over the top and sidesplittingly funny. It's one of my favorite books of all time.

For this book, I'd read an excerpt, either here on Amazon if they published one or at your local bookstore, before deciding whether to buy it yourself. It'll either work for you or it won't, and it's a very personal thing for this kind of writing. So try before you buy if you can. I'm surprised I didn't find this interesting enough to keep reading, but I think it really is because there's too much reality behind the bizarreness. Had she made it completely ridiculous like Jon did his essays, I would have loved it for sure. That's what I was expecting, and it didn't deliver.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Thomas E. Davis TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"I Know I Am, But What Are You?" is an intermittently comic, hopefully exaggerated memoir of Sam Bee's childhood and young adulthood. The blurb on the back cover promises "candid, outspoken, laugh-out-loud funny essays," and while they are certainly candid and outspoken, I never laughed out loud. In fact, I found the in-your-face sexuality and crudeness in many of the essays rather icky and sad. The overall effect was the one you might have when an acquaintance decides to overshare: too much information, thank you!

You might need a stronger stomach or a different sense of humor than I have to really enjoy this book. I could see the absurdity in Bee's recollections (her crush on Jesus, for instance, or her work at what she calls a "penis clinic"), but her graphic descriptions of strangers' genitals and her pets' sexual aggressiveness and her much older lover's poop problems all grossed me out, and the story of how a friend's stripper boyfriend "entertained" her was squirm-inducing.

Especially grim are her memories of the desperately poor parenting she received from her mother. The woman attempted to enlighten her daughter by giving her sex manuals and showing her porn and letting her gay friends regale her with tales of fisting, autoerotic asphyxiation, and other things one should not share with an eight-year-old. This goes a long way toward explaining how neurotic and caustic Bee became as she grew up and why she found refuge and healing in comedy.

If you enjoy Bee's work on the Daily Show and would like to learn more about her personal background, this book will fill you in. Indeed, it may well tell you more than you'd like to know.
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