I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that the book signing event at Barnes and Noble in Union Square for Earth, A Visitor’s Guide to the Human Race was by far the funniest and weirdest book signing event I’ve ever been to. The book was, after all, written and edited by the team from The Daily Show.
With Jon Stewart at the lead microphone and 18 writers joining him onstage, the floor was open to what was supposed to be a few questions; Stewart graciously decided to give more time to the Q&A. And what a Q&A it was. The tone ran the gamut from bizarre to angry and Stewart handled each exchange with aplomb and wit.
Right out of the gate, a woman wanted to know why there were only two women on the stage and how much of the book Stewart actually wrote himself. There were serious questions about what The Daily Show’s popularity might say about the state of the country, but Stewart the comic/thinker was at his let’s-keep-things-in-perspective best when he simply said, “We’re going to be OK.” Really.
A couple of really angry fellows made their way in and shouted comments from the back of the room. Stewart was intent on hearing them out. The first wanted to know when he started aligning with Glenn Beck on 9/11 and then yelled it was an inside job. The second asked, “What year did you sell your soul to Satan?” Again, Stewart was amused but gracious in his replies.
Friends Kathi, Susan and I leafed through Earth as we waited for the event to begin. Its humor is so clever, at times shocking and, well, sometimes just plain frat boy. A favorite section so far is the one on prayer. A sample of a “typical prayer” in Wicca:
Goddess, please use your eternal powerness to make those bitches on the pep squad stop picking on me.
Even the signing portion of the program was smooth and allowed for some banter with the writers, all of whom signed all the books. Even got the chance to have a laugh with Wyatt Cenac and John Oliver as we made our way down the table.
Terrific evening. I’ll bet the whole crew is still there signing books. Impressive.