Wednesday, May 17, 2017


            In elementary school, I renamed my teachers mean things behind their backs if I didn’t like them. The librarian went from Mrs. Motival to Mrs. Mont-evil. The lunch monitor transformed from Mrs. Hoshibosh to Mrs. Hossy “Bossy”. Since then, I always pair the word bossy with a whistle and undercooked green beans.

            Tina Fey’s 2011 autobiography, Bossypants* makes no mention of soggy vegetables. Instead, Fey gifts us tales of the unique history that led to her successes today. She does so humbly (but not too humbly) and wittily.

            I’ll cut to the chase. Do you like Tina Fey? If the answer is no, you’ve obviously never seen Mean Girls. Go do that now. If the answer is yes, you will like this book. It will probably not be your favorite book in the world, but you will enjoy your reading adventure.

            Reasons why I’m partial to this book as a Fey-fan:

·      She graduated from UVA. I graduated from UVA. I feel famous by association. We get to read about her embarrassing encounters with collegiate men.
·      She has a great deal of experience in improv, and she drops nuggets of craft-related wisdom in the book.
·      She wrote for SNL when being a white middle-class woman counted as diversity in comedy. She unveils the grueling writing process for the show as well as some of the ensuing chaos. Surprisingly, she tells us quite a lot about Lorne Michaels, whom I envision as Wizard of Oz behind the creative curtain.
·      She created 30 Rock, which is a funny program. She tells us about the show’s development and some bloopery behind-the-scenes mishaps.
·      She holds an uncanny resemblance to an Alaskan Dodo bird, otherwise known as Sarah Palin. Fey returns to SNL as a routine guest during election season because of the likeness. Turns out, it’s not all accidental grandchildren and poor political platforms!

            Bossypants takes a generally lighthearted tone, but it’s not substance-less, because Fey leads an interesting, atypical life. She presents readers something about herself or her world in seriousness and then wraps it up with a clever one-liner. Her book = inspiration + insider information + comedic twist. I never lost myself in a fit of laughter, but I also don’t think that is her intent.

            Overall, Fey slays as a female in the comedy world but her autobiography is not worthy of a full 5-hump rating. I like hearing about her experiences, but—let’s get real—it’s not that difficult to talk about yourself. Bossypants receives 4 out of 5 camel humps.

*Fey, Tina. Bossypants. New York: Little Stranger, Inc., 2011. Print

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