Tina Fey: Bossypants

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“Whitney Houston’s cover of “I Will Always Love You” was constantly on my FM Walkman radio at the time. I think it made me cry because I associated it with absolutely no one.”

-Tina Fey, Bossypants

Straight up? I love Tina Fey. Whether she’s telling the audience she can see Russia from her house as Sarah Palin, or screaming at a plastic bag stuck in a tree, she’s always engaging to watch. I saw her memoir on the shelves and after the obligatory split-second “What’s wrong with her hands?“ moment, I couldn‘t wait to read her book.  

She tackles the “How did you get that scar?” inquiry right off the bat and makes a joke that the question can act as a barometer regarding a person’s rudeness. The more tactless a person is the quicker the issue comes up. Strangers don’t even introduce themselves before demanding an explanation about her face.

For the record, she got her scar while playing in her front yard when she was five years old. A disgruntled man approached Tina and randomly slashed her in the face. I’ve wondered a few times where she picked up the faint line on the left side of her face and had no clue the answer would be so violent. Fey declined discussing her scar thus far because it is impossible to talk about the incident without exploiting it in an sensational way.

I enjoyed my time reading this book, but it‘s just not as amusing as I thought it would be. Tina Fey is the funniest woman in Hollywood. So why wasn’t her book?

I think I was subconsciously expecting the autobiography of Liz Lemon, the goofy and scattered workaholic from 30 Rock. What I got instead was the memoir of a tenacious woman who clawed her way to the top of the male-dominated comedy world. Talent won out and so did the non-revelation that chicks can be funny too.

I wasn’t looking for career advice in this book, but it’s what I got. Among the most valuable is to be careful and not to fall into woman vs. woman hate crime.

 ”This is what I tell young women who ask me for career advice. People are going to try to trick you. To make you feel that you are in competition with one another. “You’re up for a promotion. If they go for a woman, it’ll be between you and Barbara.” Don’t be fooled. You’re not in competition with other women. You’re in competition with everyone.”

Now regarded as one of her keystone achievements, ironically her scathing Sarah Palin impression basically fell into her lap. She wasn’t even working on Saturday Night Live when it all went down. The writers of SNL created & wrote the skits, Tina would swoop in and deliver the lines, and swoop out again to go back to work on 30 Rock. She felt like the eye of a febrile political storm and still gets hate mail on a daily basis.

The book chronicles her well known work: her rise in SNL, the production of Mean Girls, and the creation of 30 Rock. There’s been some meh projects here and there (Date Night, I’m looking in your direction), but that’s the exception rather than the rule. Tina Fey proves that smart and sexy are not mutually exclusive concepts. Plus, she’s hilarious. But you already knew that.

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