Madeline's Reviews > Bossypants

Bossypants by Tina Fey
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Dec 16, 2015

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bookshelves: memoir
Read in June, 2012

"I experienced car creepery at thirteen. I was walking home from middle school past a place called the World's Largest Aquarium - which, legally, I don't know how they could call it that, because it was obviously an average-sized aquarium. Maybe I should start referring to myself as the World's Tallest Man and see how that goes? Anyway, I was walking home from school and I was wearing a dress. A dude drove by and yelled, "Nice tits." Embarrassed and enraged, I screamed after him, "Suck my dick." Sure, it didn't make any sense, but at least I didn't hold in my anger."

An ideal palette cleanser after my recent A Song of Ice and Fire binge (also known as Murder-and-Rapefest '12), Tina Fey's memoir is a fun, brief (I started and finished it in one day) little glimpse into the mind of the woman who created Mean Girls, 30 Rock, a better Sarah Palin than Sarah Palin, and many other things that I love.

I say it's a glimpse because there's a lot of stuff here that was very purposefully left out. Fey states in the first chapter: "During the spring semester of kindergarten, I was slashed in the face by a stranger in the alley behind my house. ...I only bring it up to explain why I'm not going to talk about it." There's plenty here that she's not willing to discuss at length (the sad absence of behind-the-scenes Saturday Night Live gossip leads me to believe that either Fey is still friends with everyone on the show and doesn't want to air their business in a bestselling book, or SNL is no longer the crazy cocaine-fueled shitshow that it was in the 70s and 80s - it's probably a little of both), and plenty of things that she discusses, but grudgingly. You can tell the second time she brings it up that she's sick of having to field questions about how to succeed as a woman in a male-dominated field ("You know, in the same way they say, 'Gosh, Mr. Trump, is it awkward for you to be the boss of all these people?'"), and there's definitely the sense that she's writing about this subject, again, only because her publisher prodded her into it.

It's mostly a fun distraction of a book without really delving into deeper territory, but the best parts are when Fey is discussing the unbelievable amount of bullshit you have to wade through if you want to be a woman in comedy*. First, from her time at The Second City:

"In 1995, each cast at The Second City was made up of four men and two women. When it was suggested that they switch one of the companies to three men and three women, the producers and directors had the same panicked reaction. 'You can't do that. There won't be enough parts to go around. There won't be enough for the girls.' This made no sense to me, probably because I speak English and have never had a head injury. We weren't doing Death of a Salesman. We were making up the show ourselves. How could there not be enough parts?"

and my favorite part in the whole book, from a chapter entitled "We Don't Care if You Don't Like It (One in a series of love letters to Amy Poehler)":

"Amy was in the middle of some such nonsense with Seth Meyers across the table, and she did something vulgar as a joke. I can't remember what it was exactly, except it was dirty and loud and 'unladylike.'
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 eyes for a second, and wheeled around on him. 'I don't fucking care if you like it.'
With that exchange, a cosmic shift took place. Amy made it clear that she wasn't there to be cute. She wasn't there to play wives and girlfriends in the boys' scenes. She was there to do what she wanted to do and she did not fucking care if you like it.
I think of this whenever someone says to me, 'Jerry Lewis says women aren't funny,' or 'Christopher Hitchens says women aren't funny,' or 'Rick Fenderman says women aren't funny...Do you have anything to say to that?'
Yes. We don't fucking care if you like it.
I don't say it out loud, of course, because Jerry Lewis is a great philanthropist, Hitchens is very sick, and the third guy I made up.
Unless one of these men is my boss, which none of them is, it's irrelevant. My hat goes off to them. It is an impressively arrogant move to conclude that just because you don't like something, it is empirically not good. I don't like Chinese food, but I don't write articles trying to prove it doesn't exist."

Tina Fey, you are the coolest.

*speaking of which, did you know that Fey originally wanted Jenna on 30 Rock to be played by SNL cast member Rachel Dratch, but she was overruled and the more commercially pretty Jane Krakowski was chosen instead? That would have been a good story to include in this book, and it's nowhere to be seen.
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Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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Betsy Reading about Amy Poehler in her book makes me want an Amy Poehler memoir NOW!!


message 2: by Madeline (last edited Jul 01, 2012 10:04PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Madeline Right? In a way, I would almost prefer an Amy Poehler bio. Her career is so similar to Tina Fey's - prolific stints on Second City and Saturday Night Live, her own TV show (and at this point, Parks and Recreation is much better than 30 Rock) - while remaining really true to her whole philosophy of "I don't give a fuck if you like it." I feel kind of bad for Tina Fey, honestly, because it seems like every magazine profile I read of her makes sure to emphasize her Sexy Librarian look and how that makes it okay for her to be funny. I remember one particularly horrible Vanity Fair article that made sure to mention like five times that she only got really famous after she lost a lot of weight. Amy Poehler doesn't put up with that shit.


message 3: by Betsy (last edited Jul 02, 2012 09:11AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Betsy Yes! My favorite interview that I still remember to this day was when she was the covergirl for a Bust magazine back in 2006. Her last words on pubic hair killed me. "And, words to live by, at least metaphorically: Grow your bush out wide, tall, and proud."

I can't find the full interview, but here are some good bits: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eat-the...


Madeline Also she's married to Will Arnett and they have a giant redheaded baby. Amy Poehler is the clear winner here.


Betsy Um...why have I never seen that before! Poehler for the WIN!!!


message 6: by Tria (new)

Tria Great review, but you mean palate, not palette - the latter is one of those flat oval platelike things with little dips you use to mix paints, it's the other that's the thing in your mouth...


Madeline Ha! Autocorrect strikes again. Good catch.


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