Stephen Colbert: 'America Again: Re-Becoming the Greatness We Never Weren't' | Talks at Google

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Stephen Colbert: 'America Again: Re-Becoming the Greatness We Never Weren't' | Talks at Google 5

America Again: Re-Becoming the Greatness We Never Weren't is more of a coffee-table book, with large color pictures, and chapter photos that require the use of included 3-D glasses. It falls somewhere between I Am America and the Daily Show faux-textbooks America (The Book) and Earth (The Book), which used that organizing principle to their advantage. The premise follows the many apocalyptic views of the past four years, claiming America has gone off the rails and completely lost its way, and that only this book offers the true path to restore America's greatness. Which was never really gone, because it's America.

The best idea America Again mocks is the one contained in its title. In particular, it skewers Newt Gingrich's 2011 book A Nation Like No Other, which claimed, "America's exceptional greatness is not based on that fact that we are the most powerful, most prosperous—and most generous—nation on earth. Rather, those things are the result of American Exceptionalism." That is one preposterously arrogant whopper, which America Again exploits as an illogical chicken/egg position. The subtle difference between a beneficial amount of pride and the unchecked belief in exceptionalism is ripe for mockery.

Stephen Colbert has been playing Stephen T. Colbert since 2005. In those seven years, he's built an impressive mythology to his character, a funhouse mirror held up to shame all other egomaniacal pundits for their hubris. But while the shtick is still reliably funny on television, it doesn't translate as well into print, because a book doesn't have television's immediacy. There's no Super PAC plotline, just a bunch of chapters that respond to issues a bit too late. Colbert and his staff are still extraordinarily funny, but in reaching for a middle-of-the-road coffee table humor book, America Again finds the limits of their comedic talent.

Hosted by Eric Schmidt
Directed by Lee Stimmel

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💬 Comments on the video

Wow - I didn't realize the 2012 date on this video right away; Colbert's book title sounds like a sarcastic riff on Drumpf's campaign slogan. Sarcastically prescient, as always.

Author — shsummers


"I don't understand the title 'America Again: Re-Becoming the Greatness We Never Weren't'"
Oh, but you will. Just wait a few years, and you'll understand all right.

Author — Rovsea -


"Your book is on Google Play."
"What's that mean?" *sips coffee*

Man knows timing and how to read a room.

Author — Kevin M. Johnston


"If you can't dazzle them with your brilliance, baffle them with bullshit"
"But if you can dazzle them with brilliantly baffling bullshit, you'll sell a lot more books." :-P
Gotta love Colbert!

Author — sickofwashington


Colbert is an absolute GENIUS. The speed of his wit and the diversity of his comedic calculus is not only impressive but it also suggests that top-rate comedians possess a rare kind of intelligence. Even still, Colbert is an exception. Seeing him and Stewart go will make the country all the more poorer for it. They are savants and will be missed. 

Author — Heisenberg-SchrodingerEmc2


Colbert is such an affable man. For a man who pops in and out of a persona, he's very real, honest and just a great human being. 

Author — chestypants78


This long interview proves that Stephen Colbert could teach philosophy, political science, musical theater, acting, vocal technique, ethics, or anything else he wants to teach.  Colbert is rigorous enough to spot a fraud.

Author — Billy Sheppard


"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."

Author — DeusExMachina10001


Colbert put more effort into naming his book than Trump did for choosing his campaign slogan...

Author — Ben Dykstra


How many people can answer a question about the awkward phasing of their book title with St Anselm's ontological argument for the existence of God. I loved that!

Author — heberlonghurst


Three years later, still all-too-relevant

Author — Chris St


It's hard to fathom Colbert ever being genuinely mad or upset in real life. The dude doesn't seem to have an off switch.

Author — Wilbur Jenkins


I think he has a hard time, at some points, discerning when Colbert is saying something in character.

Author — largelysubatomic


Colbert's genius is actually shown here quite obviously... In 2012 he predicted and noticed the cognitive dissonance that was going to create the Trump base and their unrivaled incompetence.

Author — Sabreus


I just saw the upload date 2012 and my jaw fell on the floor. Does Donald Trump owe Steven Colbert royalties?

Author — heymisterderp


I personally didn't mind Eric Schmidt not being as articulate or witty as Stephen Colbert, because it acts as a really great contrast and helps me appreciate Colbert's cleverness even more. It just shows that not everyone has that kind of comedy talent, and why Mr. Colbert deserves that comedy spotlight in the first place.

Author — Kuangheng Hwang


Wow! Did Stephen Colbert predict Trump or what!?!

Author — Varaten


Love how Colbert just slips in and out of Character!Stephen

Author — Kelly Lincoln


You see... *this* is why Colbert will do well as the new host of the Late Show. In this interview, he's half in character, half out. He will absolutely dominate his new job. People seem to forget he's in character almost every time you see him. 

Author — Diz


"It's satire by comparison, not satire by deconstruction" - Stephen Colbert

Author — Melissa Fong