The World Champion is an egotistical character that originated in Friedlander’s stand-up comedy. I’ve never seen the stand-up, so maybe The World Champion fares better in that medium. However, in a book that focuses solely on his ridiculous claims of awesomeness, it gets old fast. I think I would find the egomaniac annoying even in small doses, but when the entire book is based on the idea that this guy is funny, and then he isn’t, the entire book seems like a waste.
How to Beat Up Anybody consists mostly of very posed and photoshopped images of Friedlander (in his World Champion getup) beating the crap out of people. There are a few variations (in one chapter he’s dressed as a woman because people think drag is funny, in another he’s teaching strippers self defense because they wanted some boobs in the book), but generally it’s page after page of the same bad joke.
Also, the text in the book was poorly laid out—you are meant to read the text in a specific order, but because of its placement around photos, I was often reading steps out of place. I don’t think the jokes would’ve landed for me had I read them in the correct order, but the jumbled quality didn’t help matters any.
As you might expect, I’m giving How to Beat Up Anybody a 1/5. Seriously, this was almost worse than reading the books that make outlandish political claims that I disagree with; at least with those books, I can learn where others are coming from. I can’t come up with a single silver lining to reading How to Beat Up Anybody (and those of you who know what an optimist I am can really see how I feel about the book).
Watch Jon Stewart’s interview with Judah Friedlander