I love the fact that Al Franken is a Senator. Partly for the general goofiness, like Jesse Ventura having been a governor, or Gary Coleman having been a candidate for governor, but also because he’s a bright guy whose politics I agree with more than not.
Franken writes political books with humorous elements, and more straight humor (typically with some social and political commentary).
I’d say on the whole Oh, the Things I Know is one of the least political, least potentially controversial of his books.
It is a satirical version of an advice book. It barely makes it to 160 pages, and given its small size and the greater than average proportion of white space per page, it’s more like 75-100 pages of a regular book. So it’s really stretching it to even call it a “book.”
I actually like Franken’s live comedy better than his writing. From back in the Franken and Davis days, I’ve always thought he had a good, naturally funny stage presence.
The book is OK, but certainly nothing special. His dry style provides an above average number of laughs per page, but pretty much all of the quick smile variety, nothing that knocked me over.
I also thought that it felt rather long for a book this short. He doesn’t do all that much with the advice or self-help book angle, so it gets repetitious. It would have worked better as a piece of half or less this length, which could function as a chapter in a longer, more varied humor book. Either that or if he did want the whole book to be in this style, I wish he had come up with some more material, some other ways to play off of this theme.
But yes, there’s some funny stuff in here, like the constant sucking up to Oprah. And the apologetic mention of the typeface at the very end, and how the more upscale ones he wanted weren’t available. So Oh, the Things I Know is not a dud, but it’s not a must-read for any but the most diehard Franken fans.