But What Are You?, I Know I Am

By Samantha Bee

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Readers` Reviews

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
patrick van der leer
If you like Chelsea Handler but find her to be too crass, and you like Sloane Crosley but find her to be too tame, then this is the happy medium you have been looking for!

Samantha Bee writes about her life experiences in short essays that will surely have you in stitches. She has a very relatable voice and her stories just might have you saying "been there, done that". The book remains largely upbeat and doesn't wallow in self-pity as so many books of essays in the memoir genre do. Bee has a sharp wit and has put together a page turner! Not to be missed, I Know I am, But What Are You leaves me looking forward to what Bee offers up next.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
pianogal
I listened to this book in my car, and laughed out loud. I will add that the first chapter or so of this book did not lead me to believe I would be laughing anytime soon. I was wrong. It was funny, and I suspect Samantha Bee's narration probably made it even funnier than it would have been in print. One day when I've sort of forgotten about it, I'll buy it on Audible instead of getting from the library. That is saying something.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
caitlen
I was so very disappointed. I had heard the book reviewed on the Terry Gross radio show on NPR. I was very excited to read this book but after about half way through decided it was a waste of time. If I had bought this book locally I my have tried to have my money returned. I will give it to a local book sale!!!!!!!! Maybe not I hate to have anyone else burned.
The Uncensored Story of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour :: Pawnee :: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything - The Element :: Trying To Live With The Dead (The Veil Diaries Book 1) :: This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
andrew homan
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 the store 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.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
patrick
...but I think this might have been a little over the top! Don't get me wrong, it was a hilarious collection of stories that relived a bizzare upbringing and life. It's just that there were very few breaks in the constant snark, wit and overall weirdness. I honestly had to give this book a couple months off before going back to it. It presented some interesting, tough, uncomfortable and sometimes just plain funny situations with a singular focus on making everything outrageous and or hysterical. She succeeds a lot of the time, but it is exhausting to read a book with no "stright man" - no break in the action to level set you. I sound way harsher than I mean to. It's definitely a funny, revealing book, I just focus on the "negatives" to warn you this is not a breezy, light comedy read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jennifer chau
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.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
gretchen heber
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I have read a lot of biographies lately, but this one stands out. The experiences that Samantha had as a child are very unique. I gave the book four stars because, although the book was entertaining, it was not the humorous memoir that the description promised. It had some funny parts, but most of her childhood experiences were more shocking or sad than they were funny. Either way it was a good read. I will be buying a hardcopy so I can share it with my friends.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
melanie noelle
I loved this! I read this while at the airport and was audibly chortling. I'm already a fan of essays, but this one beats out David Sedaris for me. It was a light read that's perfect for situations where you might not be able to focus super hard. It's a short, feel-good book. I finished it yesterday and have already started passing it around in my friend group.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
galmurphy
I am a huge fan of the Daily Show, but a lot of times I've found Samantha Bee's sense of humor to be extremely hit or miss, so I approached her book with a certain amount of trepidation. But I was delighted to learn that Samantha Bee's subversive humor works extremely well on the page, and she has clearly put a lot of thoughtful work into this.

This book is a collection of humorous essays, but unlike a lot of comics who write these types of books, Samantha Bee has clearly put a lot of effort into making her book very cohesive. Each essay links directly into the one before it, with a clear overall purpose and plan. This was a fantastic and funny book, and I found myself reading sections out loud to others, and everyone really loved it. My favorite section was a truly hysterical section where Samantha is asked to describe her perfect job while applying for a soul-sucking mall position, and she carefully responds that it would be spent in a cushioned room napping with baby animals.

This was really funny, and probably one of the best humor books to come out of a Daily Show alumni yet.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
angie fanset
I love Samantha Bee and The Daily Show. I thought this was well-written (and quite an easy read). Many laugh out loud moments and some very raw moments as well. You will have a new appreciation for this lady (and her husband) after reading this book.

My only wish is for more discussion of The Daily Show. There was not a lot of that. This was more about Samantha growing up. Maybe a future book!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ravichandra
I can trust some writers, most notably David Sedaris, to make me laugh out loud. In this book, Samantha Bee was responsible for making me laugh so hard that I lost my breath and found myself gasping for air. My husband rushed into the room once to ask if I was o.k. There is something about her deadpan recollections of bizarre life experiences that just hit the right note of absurd humor. This book is a poignant yet hysterically funny collection of anecdotes about her formative years in a highly dysfunctional family. For her sake, I hope that some of it is exaggerated, but regardless of its verisimilitude, it is a very enjoyable book.

By the way, I am not a relative, despite my name.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
amenar
I like Samantha Bee. I've only seen her on the Daily Show, but she's entertainingly insane - in a good way. This book ran the gamut from giggle inducing to full on belly laugh creating, causing me to have to explain to my husband what my seizure-like symptoms were regarding. One nice thing about her being on the Daily Show was that I can hear her voice in my head as I read.

This was fun. Not exactly PG-13 fun, but definitely fun!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
sha narah
I have been a fan of "The Daily Show" for a long time and Samantha Bee is one of my favorite "correspondents". It's one of those shows (for those that either do not watch tv *gasp* or don't have cable) that takes your average everyday WTH stance on politics and gives it the proper twist so that you don't feel all alone in your horror and can actually laugh at that horror.

This book is hilarious! I caught myself laughing on several occasions annoying my sleeping dog (he hates to be waken up during his beauty sleep). It is definitely an adult read and not for the youngsters as you might well guess. And although I am thoroughly convinced that Samantha will go to gerbil/rodent hell in her afterlife I still will say this is one good read. If you like your biography with a large dose of humor, do pick up this book. You won't be disappointed.

I give this book 5 stars. It is exactly what I expected and a bit more.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
carole denise dixon
If you ever wondered what Samantha Bee was like growing up-here's your chance to find out. She discusses everything you might want to know about the underbelly of Canadian society (I didn't know there was an underbelly!) Interesting, mildly depressing and on occasions, flat-out funny.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ankit
I don't know where to start except to say: read it. It's a hoot and a half.

The natural comparison is David Sedaris, and it does have the self-effacing wit and hilarious family stories of my favorite Sedaris books. If you love Sedaris, you'll love this as well.

I always like Samantha Bee on The Daily Show, but she's exponentially funnier in feature-length format. She's a wry self-aware, frank storyteller with a knack for letting the narrative wander where the funny takes her. Seriously, dude. This book reads itself & you'll be giggling with alternate recognition and horror the whole way through. Yay!
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
martijn heemskerk
I know what I am, but what are you? is a book I really wanted to like. I like Samantha Bee and the Daily Show so I was looking forward to a funny and insightful book, something along the lines of a David Sedaris in terms of style and impact. Maybe Bee was going for the funny look at life in the 70's and 80's, a kind of updated version of "Do black patent leather shoes really reflect up?" which was a funny look at growing up in the 50's and 60's. She missed the mark.

Please hear me out as I have reasons for this point of view and they are not all the author's fault.

Unfortunately this book disappoints not because its not funny, but because it is in the wrong structure. By that I mean that Bee takes on an autobiographical tone and structure. The chapters are organized in rough chronological order, they are filled with statements of what happened, regardless of how those things build up to a punchline or high impact observation. The result is that you read up to what should be a good laugh and it just kind of sits there. For example, Bee tells the story of her mother's practice of Wicca at a time when she was deeply religious, so you expect there to be some keen observation, some point of humor. There was not. What was there was a clear description of the actual events. More Dragnet than Everyone Hates Chris

The book is way too chronologically and descriptively accurate to make for a poignant and sharp commentary on our world and the humor in it. This is not a humorous or a particularly charming book because of this. Either Bee is trying to be too accurate about her life growing up -- which makes the book mundane, or she is suddenly reaching for a deep thought that never quite gets there because she feels the need to really describe what being there was like.

Sorry I believe that Bee can be really funny and that she has something to say, but this is a case where the format and the structure get way too much in the way.

I bought this book after listening to Bee's interview on NPR's Program Fresh Air. I should have known it was not the book I was expecting when I listened to the interview as it was more autobiographical in nature and had two of the funniest bits recounted in the discussion. Kind of like the best parts of a movie being shown in the previews.

This is not to say that the book is bad. No its humorous and interesting, but it could have been much much better if Bee had chosen to use her life experience as a way of introducing observations and funny situations. Bee grew up in Canada and some of the observations are uniquely Canadian and that may also account for some of its tone and structure. I checked this out with my Brother in Law who grew up in Ontario and he confirms that there are points here that are more intended for a northern audience.

If you want to read a book about growing up in the 70's and 80's then this is an OK book, but it lacks the social criticism of the fond memories of all the funny and stupid stuff that happened at this time. If you want to read this book because you like Samantha Bee and think that she is funny, go ahead, but be advised this is more autobiographical than observational and while valuable, most autobiographies are not particularly funny.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
purvesh
Perfect for those who enjoy the smart humor of The Daily Show, this series of essays delves into author Samantha Bee's family live and skewed sense of humor.

Especially funny? The chapter on being mistaken for her mom's lesbian lover. Laughed out loud.

Chapter list:

1. Camp Summer Fun
2. Man-Witch
3. The Birds and the Bee
4. Bad Kid
5. Old Lady Hands
6. Smooth Criminal
7. Penis Envy
8. May December Never Come
9. Sailor Moon
10. When Animals Attack
11. Gurr-Bulls
12. Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
eureka
[...]

This lady is cuh-RA-zee! lol But in the best way and I love her.
Samantha Bee's first book, i know i am, but what are you?, is a twistedly funny memoir. It has the kind of half embarrassing and half hysterical stories that we tend to laugh like crazy over with family and close friends, but when asked by an outsider "what's so funny?", you reply "nothing" and keep it as an inside joke. The great thing about really funny comics like Samantha is that she shares these anecdotes, and you just can't help but laugh harder for it. One of my favorites when she talks about her mom's visit with her to Woodstock. I won't ruin the story but dang that made me laugh :D

You can check out Samantha Bee on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Monday through Thursday nights at 11pm/10c) where she holds the title of Most Senior Correspondent after having systematically eliminating all those before her.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
chloe
I really did laugh quite a bit while reading this one. I thought I would die when Samantha (I can call you Samantha, right?) related her sexual education when her mother gave her a little red book. I can't imagine a nice Catholic girl posing her Barbies that way. You can see what I am talking about by buying the book and looking at the back cover. No peekies here.

I am really missing Samantha on the Daily Show, especially her bee costume. Maybe she should have her own show on Comedy Central? I think anyone who enjoys Jen Lancaster or David Sedaris will love this one.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
j l ficks
She is a disgusting human being! After watching her on full frontal, anything that has her name on it is probably as disgusting as what comes out of her mouth. So I'm giving this a one-star.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
bellablumama brockert
Samantha Bee's new book, I Know I Am, But What Are You?, capitalizes on her Daily Show visibility, and offers a very concentrated dose of her humor, most of which she pokes at herself. I found enough of the book to tweak my funny bone that I plowed through to the end. On too many pages, though, I winced rather than laughed, and found little humor in her subject or treatment. Readers may want to sample a few pages before making a commitment. After all, humor is a matter of taste, or the tasteless.

Rating: Two-star (Mildly Recommended)
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
bonney freeman hughes
I like Samantha Bee on "The Daily Show" and got this book eagerly anticipating a good read. What I got was... well, it isn't bad, but it isn't great. It basically just "is". It exists.

The book is an account of Bee's life growing up, being Catholic, moving along in the world. It's not notably hilarious, and frankly much of it is pretty dull. Her writing style is not what I had hoped for. It's breezy and informal, but not particularly amusing, at least not to me.

I'd wanted to be left laughing and instead I was left shrugging. It's not a bad book, but it's not great.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
auntie m
"I Know I Am, But What Are You?" is chock-full of awkward moments, someone ELSE'S awkward moments, presented in a series of personal essays that make it terribly convenient to laugh out loud at them. Assuming that Samantha Bee has merely hit the highlights of her life so far, and hasn't taken too much comedic/artistic license in the exaggeration department, then holy smokes, it's a wonder she lived to tell the tale of her life! Because she captures in such detail her adolescent crush on Jesus- yes, that Jesus, and her various youthful exploits, and a terrible turn as a live-action "Sailor Moon," Samantha Bee allows her reader to cringe and cringe again at the awkwardness, while laughing hysterically at her misery. All is as it should be!
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
chris jarrett
I expected a good, funny read. Meanwhile, it is a very sad, vulgar book about a very disturbing life. She almost got raped at 14, complains about her hands (??) for a chapter, and seems pretty okay with her poorly supervised childhood and adolescence...
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
miriam
The Daily Show reporter submits a series of true-life (?) anecdotes about her upbringing in Canada, life as a nerd, dealing with pets, etc. Pretty inessential stuff, but an effortless read. The author is a little self-consciously wacky, raunchy, and irreverent; the stories seem really tarted up for maximum shock value and/or out-there humorous impact. Sort of a less snobby Sarah Vowell.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
karen lucas
I read the reviews. I heard Samantha Bee on "Fresh Air" (NPR). I find her interviews on "The Daily Show" very funny. And I could not get beyond page twenty of this very, very poorly written book. Readers can check other assessments I make of books to know that I seldom write a one-star assessment. This is very badly written. It is not funny, at least those first few pages aren't.
So I did what I do with books I can't finish: I left it on the city bus.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
lale yildirim
I have never seen The Daily Show and did not know who Samantha Bee was, but after reading her book, I find her to be witty and hysterical. I enjoyed this memoir. It's good to laugh and one self and a few people caught my laughing out loud as I read this book.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
dinko
First of, let me start of by saying I LOVE Samantha Bee on the Daily Show. For some reason, I have not been able to get into this book. I have read several of the short stories and they just have not grabbed my interest. That said, still a fan of her humor - just did not translate to the written word, for me personally.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
natasha o rourke
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. She writes in a charming and disarming style, and while she is quick to put herself down and make herself the butt of each joke, one can see her humor, kindness, and honesty throughout each essay. I would love to read more from her--as she jokingly said on the Daily show, she is leaving her marriage and work stories for later books to complete the trilogy.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
jill hutchens
I first saw this book plugged on the daily show. Sam Bee dressed as a bee seemed like a bad joke, like when Steve Martin wears a fake arrow through the head. It's intentionally bad and corny. But in this book's case, you can judge a book by its cover.

Samantha Bee isn't exactly my favorite Daily Show correspondent. But I figured perhaps being on the Daily show, she could be funnier than her correspondent pieces let on. I was disappointed.

The problem here is that Samantha Bee isn't famous enough for her to write an autobiography - which is what this book purports to be. If she was more famous, I could see reading her autobiography. But she would have to be like Abe Lincoln famous.

I'm not sure what I was hoping for; jokes I guess. But this book tracks Samantha Bee's life from depressing child hood through depressing adulthood. The dry sarcasm and cynicism isn't funny, it's just sad. I didn't laugh out loud once or even cracka smile.

Maybe I don't get chick humor. Reading Sam Bee complain about her old-lady-hands for a chapter is really not my cup of tea. There's an entire chapter about how she really tries hard to get other people great gifts, but is insulted when theirs fall flat. I guess this book is for anyone who just thinks Sam Bee is the best Daily Show correspondent or enamored with her for some reason. Otherwise, this book is pretty dry.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
bossrocker
simply not funny nor entertaining.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ritesh sheth
and I worship Tina Fey. I've never written an the store review before, but I kind of get the feeling that Samantha B. reads these and wanted to give her some props. This is a must-read for anyone with a less-than-ideal upbringing in the 70s and just plain made me feel better, in a twisted way, about a lot of things. It's very well written, has a lot of heart, and I think anyone who gave a mediocre review may just have a mediocre sense of humor. I also have 100% Ontarian genes, which may explain something (as do 95% of successful comedians/Hollywood writers). Can't wait for her next book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
stephanie bone
Samantha Bee enters the scene that people like Sedaris and Barry have been dominating for years with a fresh, new, clunky style that surpasses Dave Barry by far.

Her style is that matter-of-fact-but-in-retrospect that Sedaris sometimes experiments with, and it is great for the events she tells about. Sheer brilliance, really, possibly even better than her segments on the Daily Show.

Her insights and memories are not only hilarious but sometimes insightful, thought provoking and often interesting. All in all, a book to reach up there with Sedaris and others.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
collett michelle
This book is ridiculously funny and smart.
I love Samantha Bee
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
karen gray
kinda funny, but also very hackneyed, really - little original, some that is vexing and irritating.

Bee's TV persona, that of a close-minded far Left demagogue for whom the world is neatly divided into Evil White non-Leftist Males and Good Everyone Else - is not dominant here, to her credit, but the sort of mindset that Bee projects while she is bloviating about her limited understanding of political issues and nuance...is reflected here.

It's okay to have a strong opinion, but if you're ignorant and trying to mock the 'other' side... sometimes it's neither funny nor illuminating. But ifd you agree politically - you aren't going to care. No way is this a 4 or 5 star comedy book... but it may be if you too are a far Left Democrat and statist. And sure, this might work were some one on the right as relatively unoriginal and politicized.. but it would still be more the politics of someone in a cognitive bubble with a penchant for acting superior...

This is the vulgar, predictable, sometimes sorta funny effort of a hackey, Leftist comic. If you're a Leftist and think everyone who isn't is mean and stupid - this may be for you.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
michelle engebretsen
Laugh-out-loud funny in parts, but pretty ordinary for the most part. My main takeaway was that she had an unbelievably messed up childhood. Watch her on The Daily Show instead.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
loopy
*small spoiler alert* I listened to the audio version of this, and found myself cringing. For example, I don't think a 13-yr-old girl being seduced by a 30-something man is funny. These stories felt icky, disturbing, and sad. I stopped listening half way through. Perhaps it improves, but I just couldn't take any more.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
brad eldredge
I've been in love with Sam Bee since I first saw her on The Daily Show, and this book definitely didn't make the love subside. Brilliant imagery pair with hilarious story-telling make this a hilarious read that was hard for me to put down.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
alfred stanley
I have never reviewed a book on the store before, in fact I bought it from Walmart, not the store. However, I felt so compelled to write after finishing this hysterical book. It was THE funniest book I have ever read, I laughed so damn hard I peed myself, multiple times! Who cares if any of it was real or even if she uses proper writing technique, she has such a warped view on everyday situations anything she talks about ends up being hilariously funny.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
raj brar
I was extremely disappointed by this. I love nonfiction and biography style writing and can appreciate almost anything. But this, this is different. She tried to be humorous and use cynicism, shock, and wit.. but it really just comes off as a really poor attempt to use big words and run-on sentences. And do NOT get the audio version.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
wamberg
For anyone that can appreciate her sense of humor in her Daily Show segments, you'll find that same style of irreverent but truthful wit here. I thought it was a great read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
rafik ramzi
This is a great book! So funny, I read it at work and couldn't stop myself from laughing out loud!!! Loved It!!!!!!!!
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
james douglas
I thought this was suppose to be funny. Samatha had an interesting childhood, but I didn't get the ha ha funny part.
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