“I Know I Am, But What Are You?” by Samantha Bee (2010)

I don’t have cable, heck, I don’t even own a television. I haven’t for quite some time, and so while many people are even passingly familiar with The Daily Show, I am not so much. I know that Jon Stewart is not the host anymore, but aside from the odd clip, I have never watched the show. I am aware that many talented actors and comedians have appeared and featured on the news show, but I really couldn’t name more than a couple. So when it was announced that one of the former correspondents of that show was getting her own late night series on TBS, the only thing that registered was that she would be the only female late night host on television. And then Full Frontal with Samantha Bee premiered and I saw a few clips on YouTube and found myself impressed with her brand of snark, humor, passion, and the expression of her beliefs and point of view. I became a very quick fan of hers and started following the show. I then also found out that she had written a book, and so decided to read it. I am, after all, a big fan of books written by funny ladies I admire, so why not?

i know i am but what are you

I Know I Am, But What Are You? is a collection of essays inspired by Bee’s personal life. Differently from other comedienne penned books, this is not really an autobiography, nor is it a discussion of show business (which isn’t even mentioned), or a look at the life of a semi famous person. Instead, this is just a series of funny and, yes, snarky essays that offer reflections on a variety of situations and topics from the perspective of a woman with a sense of humor. The book shares more in common with David Sedaris than with Tina Fey.

Bee hilariously discusses topics such as gift giving, living with an overly attractive and impressively dimwitted male roommate, pets, and unfortunate haircuts with self-deprecating humor and little patience for those who can’t keep up with her. The first half of the book, while entertaining and interesting, lacked any serious guffaws or moments that made much of an impression. The second half of essays, however, had me in stitches, laughing out loud, and shaking my head in horror as she discussed topics that would be horrifying and taboo if they weren’t so freaking funny.

I really enjoyed the book and am now an even bigger fan of Bee’s and really hope that her show stays around for quite some time!


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