Thursday, December 8, 2011

Literary Bite: Bossypants

Tina Fey is funny, Saturday Night Live is funny, and 30 Rock is really really funny. Therefore, well duh I liked Bossypants, Tina Fey’s biography. This is definitely a 1 day read – the style is conversational and the chapters short and amusing (you’ve probably already read it…seems like I’m the last kid in the literary pool in this situation).

But for a book by a comedian, Bossypants isn’t just making jokes. I thought it was really interesting to read about Fey’s career path and how she fought against “women aren’t funny” sexism to rise to the top of her profession. 

The title comes from her role as boss of over 200 people on her show 30 Rock: “Because ever since I became an executive producer of ’30 Rock,’ people have asked me, ‘Is it hard for you, being the boss?’ and ‘Is it uncomfortable for you to be the person in charge?’ You know, in the same way they say, ‘Gosh, Mr. Trump, is it awkward for you to be the boss of all these people?’ I can’t answer for Mr. Trump, but in my case it is not.” 

She starts with her childhood in Pennsylvaina, then on to University of Virginia and working in improv until her start on SNL and later starting her own show. In case you have been living under a rock (no judgement here, that's where I usually reside), Tina Fey is the comedian who did the hilarious Sarah Palin impressions on SNL.  

Some great quotes from the book:
  • "A development deal means they pay you while you’re thinking, which is a pretty great deal, unless you’re like me and you feel constant anxiety that you haven’t thought of anything yet. (My ability to turn good news into anxiety is rivaled only by my ability to turn anxiety into chin acne.)"
  • “By the way, when Oprah Winfrey is suggesting you may have overextended yourself, you need to examine your fucking life.” 
  • “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.” 
  • “To say I’m an overrated troll, when you have never even seen me guard a bridge, is patently unfair.” 
  • “Gay people don’t actually try to convert people. That’s Jehovah’s Witnesses you’re thinking of.” 
  • “A coworker at SNL dropped an angry c-bomb on me and i had the weirdest reaction. To my surprise, I blurted, "No. You don't get to call me that. My parents love mel I'm not some Adult Child of an Alcoholic that's going to take that shit.” 
  • “I was a little excited but mostly blorft. "Blorft" is an adjective I just made up that means 'Completely overwhelmed but proceeding as if everything is fine and reacting to the stress with the torpor of a possum.' I have been blorft every day for the past seven years.” 
  • “MAKE STATEMENTS also applies to us women: Speak in statements instead of apologetic questions. No one wants to go to a doctor who says, “I’m going to be your surgeon? I’m here to talk to you about your procedure? I was first in my class at Johns Hopkins, so?” Make statements, with your actions and your voice.” 

Ok, I just spent far too long reading Tina Fey quotes online…read the NYT review and also a great piece on Slate to learn more about the book. Which, in case you can’t tell, I enjoyed and you should read it!