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Just the Funny Parts: My 30 Years on the Hollywood Jungle Gym

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  2,107 ratings  ·  320 reviews
Introduction by Sheryl Sandberg

If Bossypants and Lean In got drunk and hooked up, their sloppy-sex-love-child would be this juicy and insightful memoir which blows the doors off the male dominated writers’ room and offers a scathingly funny account of Hollywood’s sexual politics over the last thirty years.

After David Letterman publicly confessed that he’d had "sex with sta
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Kindle Edition, 341 pages
Published March 20th 2018 by Dey Street Books
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3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,107 ratings  ·  320 reviews


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Joy
Jan 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had never heard of Nell Scovell, who's a writer, producer and director, but somehow this book was brought to my attention and I'm glad it was. She's a talented writer who worked on some of my favorite TV shows. She's also a Democrat so we have that in common. It's a very interesting memoir.

I like her attitude - "I expect nothing, hope for something, and am delighted when my efforts are rewarded."

I recommend this book!
GoldGato
Jun 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

When people conclude that it must be "soooo much fun" to work on The Muppets, it's like assuming the Oompa Loompas love every minute working at Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. To outsiders, it's all chocolate waterfalls and funny songs. But late at night, someone's got to clean up after all those nut-testing squirrels. And let's just say the nuts are high in fiber.

Nell Scovell hits the mark throughout this fun and spot-on inside look at Hollywood...from a female writer's point-of-view. She has
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Terri Naughton
I generally like show-biz memoirs, but this one was a bit too show-bizzy for me. I guess it doesn't help that the shows the author was involved with are not ones that I tend to watch. A lot of name-dropping; not a lot of substance.
Michelle Ruiz Andrews
Not since Bossypants have I loved and laughed over a memoir so much. This book was my heaven: a hilariously funny and frank look at writing and creativity and celebrities and TV and, lest we forget, fighting sexism in the workplace. Nell Scovell was and is a pioneer for women in Hollywood and, now, rightfully will go down as a feminist hero for co-writing Lean In. She’s self-deprecating and genius and doesn’t spare herself (while also dishing about Dave Letterman) in her memories of her awesome ...more
Lee Anne
Behind-the-scenes television gossip combined with feminist words of encouragement. Nell Scovell worked at Spy magazine, on "Sabrina the Teenage Witch," and many other pop culture favorites of mine. This memoir is a good read for fans of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.

I only wish I knew the names behind the blind items!
Tommy Van Norman
"Both Nell and I look forward to the day when there are no 'female writers'—just writers. We share an unshakeable belief that having an equal number of men and women sitting at the table where decisions are made will make this world fairer and better. It will also make the world funnier."

“Wish I could shake younger me and tell her, ‘If you are the only girl in the room it doesn’t mean you’re better. It means something is wrong.’”

I'll be honest - I didn't know who Nell Scovell was until I saw thi
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Amy
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book does just what it says on the tin -- a straightforward memoir of Scovell's writing career, with a few personal-life tidbits thrown in for good measure -- and I've been recommending it to everyone for the past week or so. She really digs into what it's like and what it means to be the only woman in the room, how it happens, and how it changes. Plus: jokes!
Christal
Apr 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A must read for pretty much all working women, even if you're not in Hollywood.
Ruthie
Aug 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, non-fiction, kindle
I began reading this book thinking it would be a fun read with some juicy gossip. It was that, and so much more! This book is about chasing dreams, changing course, failing- and moving forward, finding your voice and many more career and life lessons. It shows the value of mentors and friends. It offers a look into he process of pitching, writing, re-writing, show running and directing in show biz. It let's the reader know how it feels to be the only woman in the male-centric world of TV and mov ...more
Marjorie Ingall
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: grownups
Short, tightly written, sharp. And very funny. It's less a memoir than a class by the most charismatic professor you had in college, about comedy writing AND about the barriers faced by women in comedy writing. Scovell was Sheryl Sandberg's co-author (I've been a co-author; guess what, it means that Scovell wrote the book) on Lean In, and to me this was a better read on the same topic, writ small rather than sweeping. Some people criticized Lean In for being classist, victim-blame-y, and clueles ...more
Amy Allen
If you like to read insider name dropping memoirs about late 20th century TV, this is the book for you. I don't think I realized that's what it was going to be. I thought it would be more thoughtful. I actually quit reading it about 70% through it, as I found myself dreading opening my Kindle. As soon as I stopped reading it and began reading a novel, my happiness returned.
So, I may be cheating on my book count. I'll do better, I promise.
M. Langlinais
May 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As someone who worked (very briefly) in "the industry," I very much enjoyed this book. Not laugh-out-loud funny but certainly insightful. Recommended for those curious to hear how things work in Hollywood--especially for women.
Gretchen Alice
May 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sabrina the Teenage Witch was my first televised obsession. My first ship, my first style idol, my first time trying to rearrange plans so I didn't have to miss an episode of my favorite show. (That really happened, by the way. My parents made me go to my uncle's house for dinner anyway and I was furious at them for, like, a week.) I didn't realize this at the time, but Nell Scovell was the creator behind my tweenage love. She's also worked on Murphy Brown and The Muppets and Warehouse 13 and a ...more
Shannon
Just the Funny Parts: … and a Few Hard Truths about Sneaking Into the Hollywood Boy’s Club

I Picked Up This Book Because: Someone close to me aspires to be a TV writer so I thought I’d see what she was signing up for.

The Story:

Part memoir, part advice column, part real facts about Hollywood Nell takes us on a recounting of her career from “Who is Nell Scovell” to “Who is Nell Scovell”. This book is well written and pulls not punches about the sexism, racism and other flaws of a career in
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K.Haas
May 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are moments in "Just the Funny Parts" where you wish it was another of Nell Scovell's sitcoms, rather than an unflinching look at her real life.

If only it were a work of fiction, real-life characters like Jim Stafford — who coerced her into a sexual act when she thought her job was on the line and then essentially fired her anyway — would get some sort of fourth-act comeuppance. But, as it is in the real world, the fourth act progresses just as Scovell says it does for any aging writer bei
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Tali Nay
Jul 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, I really enjoyed this book. A fascinating look at the behind-the-scenes world of script writing, (and yes, I was one of those teens with Sabrina the Teenage Witch posters in my room) as well as a sobering account of the lack of women given opportunities in this field. The world needs more Nell Scovells. The thing is though, there ARE more. They just need to be given the opportunities they deserve. And they need to write more books.
Jonathan Maas
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An at times hilarious, and at times terrifying, but always inspiring memoir

Great memoir by a legendary comedienne, or rather writer. Hilarious and inspiring, Nell Scovell takes us on her rocket ship of a career, and together we navigate through the asteroid field of such high profile positions.

Great memoir. She's done a lot of great shows and movies, and I mean a lot, but this one might be her best of all.
Laura
Jul 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor
I listened to an audio version of this book and loved it. The story line — the tale of her career and how it tracks the same feminist awakening that I think every woman goes through where weird sexist things happen to you in your 20s but you don’t realize it until a decade later — is great, and made me reflective about my own career and how gender has played a role. The sexism in Hollywood is on full display when her career opportunities in Hollywood dry into a trickle in her 40s but then she en ...more
Amber Spencer
Sep 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book - 4.5 stars. She describes going from just being in the system of a female in a male dominated place, but not understanding everything to totally standing up for herself and others and sharing her funny insights along the way.
Sarah
One of the rare comedy books that translates well to the written page. Much comedy--especially by younger writers--depends on delivery, but this works in writing. As a comedy fan and woman working in the world, I found this hard to put down.
Laura Hill
Apr 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Writing: 5; Importance: 4; Pleasure factor: 5

Funny, personal, and important - all in one sparkling package!
 
There’s been a recent spate of celebrity memoirs written by female comedians. I’ve read (or tried to read) them all:  Tina Fey’s Bossypants, Anna Ferris’ Unqualified, Mindy Kaling’s Why Not Me?, etc.  This one is much, much, better — no doubt due to the fact that Nell Scovell is a comedy writer rather than a comedy performer and therefore can really write! 

This memoir is part sitcom, part
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Kristin Boldon
Jun 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, borrowed, memoir
Fast funny/sad memoir of being the woman in the writing room of comedy shows.
Yaroslav
2,5
Davina
This was an interesting insider look at how comedy is written, although it was more of a straight faced memoir than I was expecting. Scovell shares some bits of her comedy writing, but the telling itself was pretty straightforward, bordering on a bit boring.
Kate Stericker
Absolutely fantastic. Definitely the most compelling memoir I've ever read, and the audiobook recording really brought it to life.
Gina Boyd
Sep 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Nell Scovell is funny and smart and amazing and brave and I wish I knew her and we could be friends. Plus, she loves Joel Hodgson (like they’re friends and love one another) and they’ve worked together AND she’s worked with Frank Conniff (she created Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Frank was a writer on it).

I’ve never thought this before, but now I want to try—just for fun—to write an episode of a sitcom. Thanks, Nell Scovell (I think)!
Liane
Mar 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Measured, thoughtful, and wickedly funny!
Ami
May 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars
Reading about Nell Scovell’s career was both funny (she is primarily a comedic writer after all) and immensely frustrating as we see the obstacles and challenges she faced solely because of her gender.
Eye opening and engaging this book has me wondering why there isn’t more diversity in television.
It’s not enough to have made (small) progress in the level of diversity in the shows’ characters, we NEED diversity in the writing, producing, and directing aspects too. Diverse writers create
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Michelle
Adored this book by Nell Scovell, creator of the Sabrina the Teenage Witch TV show, among many other things. I loved following the ascent of her career and was careful not to google because I didn't want to know what happened next. (Although we know from the start she co-authored Lean In with Sheryl Sandberg). Well-written and funny. My only complaint is that I listened to it in audio format and I wish she'd been the one to narrate.
Dianne Everson
Jun 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This memoir is as funny and informative, and feminist, as you would expect from its title.
In other words, its great.
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Nell Scovell is a television and magazine writer, producer and director. She is the creator of the television series 'Sabrina the Teenage Witch', which aired on ABC and The WB from 1996 until 2003.
“If Larry David were living in 18th century France and heard the peasants had no bread, his response "Let them eat cake" would have made people laugh. But when Marie Antoinette said it, they chopped off her head.” 4 likes
“If I want Italian and you want Japanese, why can't you compromise and have Italian?" my husband once said to me, redefining the word "compromise.” 2 likes
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