Naked Pictures of Famous People was a book written by Jon Stewart, before he became Jon Stewart. It was published in 1998, a year before Stewart begin his career as host of the Daily Show on Comedy Central, and became an iconic figure of satire, comedy and left wing politics. Stewart would later become the author of the coffee table staple "America:The Book", but that book was also written by committee, being co-written by the writers of the Daily Show.
So what is Stewart's wit like, without the support, or distraction, of his celebrity? From reading this book, I have come to the disappointing conclusion that Stewart is not a revolutionary comic genius. Much like with his show, he seems to be good at taking the pulse of popular culture and communicating it back in a pithy manner.
There are two things a comedy book, or any comedic endeavor should do. First, it should make us laugh. Second, it should provide a new and interesting perspective on things. One of the tags on the book describe it as "Laugh Out Loud Hilarious", this by the magazine Elle. That seems to be a frequently used and overused phrase, and while there were one or two things in this book that caused me to briefly make some type of unexpected-air-exhalation-event, but it was not the type of humor that reduces one to light-headedness. The other thing that a humor book should do (especially this type of humor, and this type of humorist), is to reveal the absurdity of society and mores. And again, for all of Stewart's fame, (and remembering that this is also him at a younger, rawer age), he seems to pick some pretty safe targets: Hanson, The Kennedy Family, Gerald Ford, Martha Stewart, award shows and AOL chatrooms. While AOL chatrooms and Martha Stewart both make servicable targets for humor, they were not even ahead of the humor curve at the time, and reading mockeries of them in 2009 is somewhat stale.
This book is certainly amusing enough, and clever enough, but it does not have any truly outrageous humor, or any really stinging points to be made about politics or society.