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Literature / I Am America (And So Can You!)

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I Am America (And So Can You!) is a Satire/Parody/Pastiche of self-help books, written by Stephen Colbert and the cast of The Colbert Report.

Compare America (The Book) and Earth (The Book), by Colbert's rivals from The Daily Show.

In 2012, Colbert released a sequel titled America Again: Re-becoming The Greatness We Never Weren't.


  • Alt Text: The book has red notes in the margins, like the "The Word" segments on The Colbert Report.
  • Bowdlerize: Colbert praises the efforts of censors and claims that contrary to some prevalent opinions, censorship encourages creativity. For example, writing "Flip you, codbucket" takes more imagination than the more obvious, profane alternative.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: To be the World's Strongest Man, Colbert lists a mule, Auguste Rodin's The Thinker, and "Rodin's The Thinker riding a mule" as what you need to lift.
  • Camp Straight: Austin, the former homosexual from one of the "Stephen Speaks For Me" sections.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: The Guy Sitting Next To You At The Stadium. And wouldn't you know it, he's in two "Stephen Speaks For Me" sections.
  • Comically Missing the Point
  • Department of Redundancy Department: The Fun Zone for Hollywood has the same answer for Leonardo DiCaprio, Rosie O'Donnell, Sheryl Crow and Alec Baldwin: d. "Hey! Look at me!" Also, most editions say "from the author of I Am America (And So Can You!)" at the top.
  • Dirty Communists: Mort Sinclair, the communist TV writer from one of the "Stephen Speaks For Me" segments. In the audiobook, he's voiced by Jon Stewart.
  • Eagleland: Apparently, just opening the book's front cover will make you 25% more American.
  • Godwin's Law: Done with people other than Adolf Hitler. For example, he calls women's rights activists "Femin-Idi-Amins".
  • Have a Gay Old Time: Done in the chapter on Homosexuals.
  • Henpecked Husband: According to Stephen, he is in charge in his family. As an example, he provides a time when his son asked him for a new laptop. Like a strong leader, he told his son... to go ask his mother. As proof that his son always does what he says, he explains that his son followed his order to go ask his mother. That's respect!
  • He's Just Hiding: Invoked by Colbert's parents, who told him that their dog, Shasta, went to live on a "big farm up north". After 20 years Colbert hasn't figured it out, thinking that the dog had just abandoned him for greener pastures.
  • Hitler Ate Sugar: Inverted. One of the margin notes says Josef Stalin was a good dad. note 
  • Intentional Engrish for Funny: From the back cover:
    WANING! Several reportages of illegal produced issues of this book from Glorious People Republic of China stealing into bookstores. Do not! Buy only likely copies only authorized STEPHEN COLBERT'S I AM AMERICA AND SO ARE YOU books like this one itself!
    —Yours, U.S.A. Publisher
  • Interservice Rivalry: Colbert doesn't like the Army-Navy football game, because "either way, you're rooting against our boys."
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Gil Honeycomb, the oldest man in the world, suffers a fatal heart attack in the middle of his "Stephen Speaks For Me" segment.
  • Loophole Abuse: Colbert suggests circumventing the letter of the First Amendment (but not the spirit) by pointing out that it only prohibits the Congress from establishing a Christian-only nation. It doesn't prohibit the President from doing the same via a decree.
  • Metaphorgotten
  • Mistaken for Racist: Colbert, in one of his recollections. He likes to remind everyone that he doesn't see race (unless Mexican immigrants are involved).
  • Mister Seahorse: The species itself is mentioned in the chapter on Sex.
  • Never Say "Die": His parents' use of this trope has led Stephen to believe that his childhood dog, Shasta, was living on a big farm upstate. He insists that his current dog is so much better, and will be with him forever, unlike Shasta and his grandfather.
  • Once an Episode: Every chapter ends with a segment called "Stephen Speaks For Me", a short passage from some character who more or less agrees with Colbert's beliefs.
  • Product Placement: Colbert sells the naming rights to the chapter on sports... three times.
    • Averted: In that same chapter, he mentions digital video recorders by the generic name because, as he lampshades, Tivo didn't pay for the chapter's naming rights.
  • Stage Names: Parodied. Colbert claims that Joan Crawford was born as Shprintzel Anatevkawitz and Cary Grant was born as Balgok-Uth, Devourer of Souls.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Colbert believes in this.
  • Strawman Political: Follows Colbert's right-wing doctrine.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Colbert sure has daddy issues. This book even provides the trope's page quote.
  • You Put the "X" in "XY": You can't spell "parentry" without "try". Also you can't spell "emotional abuse" without "bus", which is why Colbert never takes public transportation. And if you think books aren't scary, you can't spell "book" without "Boo!"