American Freak Show: The Completely Fabricated Stories of Our New National Treasures

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Overview

“Willie Geist is one part Twain, one part Carrot Top, two parts Heckle, and one part Jeckle.”
—John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, authors of Game Change

“I’ve read laminated airplane safety cards with greater intellectual heft. Turning serious: Willie Geist is the perfect guy to chronicle our decidedly imperfect times."
—Brian Williams, NBC Nightly News anchor and managing editor

In the hilarious New York Times bestseller American Freak Show, ...

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American Freak Show: The Completely Fabricated Stories of Our New National Treasures

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Overview

“Willie Geist is one part Twain, one part Carrot Top, two parts Heckle, and one part Jeckle.”
—John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, authors of Game Change

“I’ve read laminated airplane safety cards with greater intellectual heft. Turning serious: Willie Geist is the perfect guy to chronicle our decidedly imperfect times."
—Brian Williams, NBC Nightly News anchor and managing editor

In the hilarious New York Times bestseller American Freak Show, Geist takes the smart, biting observation loved by his television audience to new satirical extremes. The real-life characters who now haunt our daily lives are cast as stars in completely made-up scenes that are frighteningly close to reality.

Geist gives us the first look at President Sarah Palin’s unconventional 2012 inaugural address, performed live on WWE’s Monday Night Raw. We go inside the ballroom for a Dean Martin–style welcome roast of Bernie Madoff upon his arrival in Hell, with Pol Pot serving as roastmaster. George W. Bush’s batting-cage-and-waterslide-themed plans for a presidential library are laid out publicly for the first time. And new for the paperback edition, Geist puts us in the room as Jesus joins Facebook, with the help of a modern-day messiah named Mark Zuckerberg.

From Obama to Oprah, Afghanistan to Lohan, Snooki to the Salahis, Willie Geist spares no one as our host of this wild American Freak Show. You’ll laugh out loud while weeping for the future of America.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Whether your target of choice is Barack Obama or Sarah Palin; Bernie Madoff or Miley Cyrus; Captain Sully or Snookie; you know that MSNBC's Willie Geist of Way Too Early fame will keep you giggling. American Freak Show collects Geist's satirical essays on topics way too funny (and real) to be ignored. A parody of celebrities, pseudo-celebrities, and "balloon-boys" of every description. A treat for fans of Jon Stewart—and Willie Geist.

NBC Nightly News
"I've read laminated airplane safety cards with greater intellectual heft. Turning serious: Willie Geist is the perfect guy to chronicle our decidedly imperfect times."
(Brian Williams, NBC Nightly News anchor and managing editor)
Publishers Weekly
For his first book Geist, from MSNBC's Way Too Early and Morning Joe, imagines private conversations, e-mail exchanges, Twitter feeds, speeches, and other scenarios involving top newsmakers from our time. Such luminaries as Hillary Clinton, Kate Gosselin, Tiger Woods, Levi Johnston, and "President" Sarah Palin are subjected to Geist's wooden, repetitive send-ups. As Geist tells it, most everyone--including all 20th century presidents--seem to be identical to each other, right down to their speech patterns: they are arrogant, lack self-awareness, and have a penchant for swearing. While they may, indeed, share certain qualities, individual personalities are lost on Geist. Occasional "true story" vignettes about real-life "freaks" feature much fresher and funnier content; while recounting a news story in which a man was arrested for pleasuring himself with a coin-operated car wash vacuum, Geist muses, "One assumes Whitesnake was playing on the radio." Clearly commentary, rather than storytelling, is Geist's strength, so it's a shame that narratives make up the bulk of this effort. (Oct.)
Kirkus Reviews

Chat-show host takes aim at American celebrity culture and modern politics.

MSNBC veteran Geist (Morning Joe) graduated from producing that network'sThe Situation with Tucker Carlsonto writing and eventually co-hosting the popular morning show. While his TV antics (campaigning for McCain-Palin on New York's Upper West Side) might seem iconoclastic on-air, this low-brow, tepid collection of brief satiric essays leaves much to be desired. The book opens with a gig that was tired on SNL a year ago: the inaugural address of President Sarah Palin, delivered during an episode of World Wrestling Entertainment'sMonday Night Raw. "The last time I checked, Ronald Reagan beat the Communists a long time ago. Oh, and get me an egg roll while you're up," and "You abort an unborn child, we abort you," are two of her tasteless, if believable bons mots. But wait, it gets worse. Ever wanted to sit in on Tiger Woods' sex-addiction group-therapy sessions? It's here, complete with Wilt Chamberlain (really?), Charlie Sheen and God's own Ted Haggard. Obama gets a visit from the ghosts of presidents past ("What was I talking about? Oh yeah, I ended the Cold War today. Game over," from the aforementioned Gipper). Other selections include "Hillary's Private Campaign E-mails," between herself and her husband, which are even more tiresome than they sound: "Trying to remind everyone that he's a black guy who loves blow. What else?" Hillary moans near the bitter end. The beatification of Oprah, a roast of Bernie Madoff in Hell and a Parenting magazine interview with Kate Gosselin ensue. A parody of the George Bush presidential library is a particularly easy target. Sprinkled with true stories that feel culled from Darwin Awards rejects, this compilation makes Al Franken's parodies seem almost senatorial.

A mostly bipartisan satire that caters to the lowest common denominator on both sides.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781401310523
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • Publication date: 8/2/2011
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 8.12 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Willie Geist

Willie Geist is host of MSNBC's Way Too Early with Willie Geist and co-host of Morning Joe and is a contributor to many NBC News programs. Geist also hosts Zeitgeist, a satirical video blog on MSNBC.com.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 2.5
( 24 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 24 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 2, 2011

    Great Read!!

    One of the funniest books I've read in a long time. You have to look at this world with some humor and this book shows you the way!

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  • Posted May 9, 2011

    Worst book ever

    I'm a Morning Joe fan, but why on earth would Willie write a book that's so mean spirited and downright creepy? It could have been titled Dumb to Dumber, since each section is worse than the one before. Willie writes with a style that comes off as if he thinks he's so much smarter than the people he mocks. Are you Willie? With Freak Show, you simply show you are capable of writing a terrible book. Ironic if your awful book was parodied in someone else's book. The only thing this book is better than is Mika's autobiography in which she crows about hiring nannies to raise her kids. Eh, maybe it's a tie. Bottom line: don't waste your money on this garbage.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2010

    not as funny as real life

    Not being one who haunts the political shows, there were probably jokes in there I didn't get. I would have liked it better with real life strange things these people did versus the watercolor of what they might of thought to do....

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