Our View From Here

Perspectives of Five Women


on April 20, 2011

Next week, of course, we’ll be doing our first book club post about Water for Elephants, and you should certainly tune in for that, because, if nothing else, it will be interesting to see what everyone thinks of the book, in such close proximity to the move release.  But I recently finished Tina Fey’s new book, Bossypants, and I want to talk about that. 

First, if you like Tina Fey, or think she’s funny at all, you’ll probably love Bossypants. If you don’t find her funny, then this book is probably not for you.  Some people don’t like her humor or her politics and that’s ok, she realizes it and talks about it in the book.  This book is more a personal memoir than a political manifesto anyway, so even people who disagree with her may find some humor in her trials and travails. 

Full disclosure: I actually downloaded Bossypants as an audiobook and it was so worth it to hear Fey read her own material.  Her timing and charm add a lot to the experience.  I did, however, order a real book book copy online so that if she ever does a book tour I can get her to sign it. 

What I find amusing about Fey in the first place is her ability to inject humor into seemingly unfunny situations.  Looking back on my own life, many of the absurd situations I found myself in are now humorous stories that I share with friends and family.  However, Fey is much braver than I am, because she’s sharing these with the whole world (including photos of hideous haircuts she had when she was young…I have these too, and they are NEVER seeing the light of day again).  Embarrassment really does ferment into comedy over time. Unfortunately, we rarely recall this at the embarrassing moment. 

What I found truly interesting about Bossypants were Fey’s recollections from her time at Saturday Night Live and stories from working on 30 Rock.  I watch those shows, so the stories she tells feel like peeking behind the curtain.  It’s clear from her writing that she loves what she does, she has managed to surround herself with great people and that being funny for a living isn’t bad at all.

Bossypants occasionally strikes a feminist note.  So many people consider feminist to be the other “f-word,” something that requires apology. Personally, I do not and I’m confused by this position.  Fey’s commentary on the matter is brilliant:  Yes, women are funny.  Yes, women do work.  Yes, it is different for women than men.  But that’s something that has to be dealt with.  Be funny, be brilliant, do your thing and don’t apologize. 

All in all, this book confirmed a long-held suspicion:  Tina Fey should be my best friend.


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