The Saturday Night Live former writer and Weekend Update host, screenwriter of Mean Girls, and producer/star of 30 Rock is beloved. So beloved that the first thing that Google suggests when I type “girl crush ti” is “girl crush tina fey”!
Bossypants is her first book, and it’s a very readable blend of personal memoir-showbiz chronicles. The tone is self-deprecating and clear. Fey manages to balance heralding her nerdy past (mid-20s virgindom and decades of awkward hair cuts, pictures included) while still withholding some of her more recent personal impressions.
She tells an anecdote about an interview in the Sarah Palin news cycle where she exclaimed, off-handly, that she’d leave Earth if Palin were elected. This, of course, was picked up as the lead on the article. Fey, daughter to two Republicans, is conscious of both her unexpected political heft due to a resemblance to a vice-presidential candidate, as well as the dangers that entering the vitriolic political realm can bring. I bet she’s never received hate mail from the sandwich-loving Liz Lemon on 30 Rock.
The best bits are the stories that, while told in a pretty matter-of-fact, nonjudgmental manner, illuminate much about the treatment of women in comedy. Amy Poehler, in the writers’ room at Saturday Night Live, finished up a joke in a pretty vulgar manner. As Fey writes,
Jimmy Fallon, who was arguably the star of the show at the time, turned to her and in a faux-squeamish voice said, “Stop that! It’s not cute! I don’t like it!”
Amy dropped what she was doing, went black in the eys for a second, and wheeled around for a second. “I don’t fucking care if you like it.”
Fallon comes off as a bit naif and privileged, and I discover I still have things to add to my “Amy Poehler is my hero” list.
Fey also writes about Photoshop (pro!), honeymoon cruises (con!), and working motherhood (impossible to balance!). Fey just announced that she’s pregnant with her second child, so the decision that has plagued her during the writing of this book has been answered. And more power to her, a woman who’s done a lot for comedy, politics, and recognition of awesomeness in women. I just wish that the book gave us more, instead of a tangible feeling of holding back.
But if you have an opinion, please feel free to offer to to me through the gap in the door of a public restroom. Everyone else does.
Classic Palin (Fey)/Clinton (Poehler) sketch from SNL. It may have been three years since you’ve watched it.