I admire her most for her sexy, toned arms …
My first memory of Tine Fey is from the Saturday Night Live sketch “Kotex Classic.” In the commercial parody, Fey and a group of other female SNLers promoted the “old school” look of the 1960s style maxi pads that were fastened in place with an awkward belt while wearing 1990s hip-hugger jeans and belly shirts. It was a funny sketch, I remember laughing out loud. I also remember that sketch marking a change in the way that women were portrayed on the classic sketch comedy show.
It’s not to say there weren’t extremely funny women breaking out of the bland “girlfriend” roles of talking props for the outlandishly ridiculous boy characters before Fey’s tenure on SNL. Gilda Radner, Jane Curtain, Cheri Oteri, Molly Shannon, Maya Rudolph, and Jan Hooks were all fiercely funny and energetic sketch performers that weird, awkward me could look up to and admire as they effortlessly held their own in the unforgivingly male-dominated landscape of sketch comedy. These amazing women, however, always seemed to be the exception, the rare and extremely gifted ones that broke through the age-old women-aren’t-funny comedy mythology. And feminists? Ugh! Forget about it! Feminists never have a sense of humor … right? Oh, wait … wrong, wrong, wrong. As the first female head writer for SNL, Fey brought a different and refreshing flavor to the show and has brought a world of change in perceptions of women in comedy.
She went on to create one of the smartest, funniest, and most charming shows on television. Her contributions to films such as Megamind, Date Night, and Baby Mama are appealing, witty, and entertaining. And now … a book. Part memoir, part management-style manual, part whatever-the-hell-she-wanted-it-to-be, Bossypants is a whimsically self-deprecating wellspring of humor and inspiration to all the thick-legged, sarcastic, awkward, third-wave feminist girls out there to get their shit together and make something happen.
Bossypants is a quick and wholly enjoyable read. Fey is smart and extremely witty, she pulls no punches in exposing the douchebaggery she has encountered in her personal and professional life. But she is also gracious and honest about her love for her family, the people who have influenced her, and the challenges she faces in working in comedy and raising a daughter. Everything is done with her biting cleverness and tendency to wryly point out her own shortcomings. Bossypants covers everything from her early life to awkward haircuts to embarrassing relationships to breaking into comedy to politics to parenting. It’s funny from beginning to end.
The joys of womanhood …
I was taken into an examining room where a big butch nurse practitioner came in and asked me if I was pregnant. “No way!” Was I sexually active? “Nope!” had I ever been molested? “Well,” I said, trying to make a joke, “Oprah says the only answers to that question are ‘Yes and ‘I don’t remember.’” I laughed. We were having fun. The nurse looked at me concerned/annoyed. “Have you ever been molested?” “Oh no.” Then she took out a speculum the size of a milk shake machine.
Body acceptance …
I would not trade any of these features for anybody else’s. I wouldn’t trade the small thin-tipped mouth that makes me resemble my nephew. I wouldn’t even trade the acne scar on my right cheek, because that recurring zit spent more time with me in college than any boy ever did.
He really liked her, he confided in me. Liked her so much that he didn’t quite know what to do about it. After they had gotten all the way to the top and had the picnic lunch he’d prepared, he offered her a piece of Trident gum, and Gretchen-he had to stop and smile at the adorableness of this- Gretchen had asked him to tear the piece of Trident in half because it was too big for her. “Can you believe that?” he marveled. A girl so feminine and perfect that half a piece of Trident was the most she could handle.
I tried to process what this meant for my evening.
“So … you and I will not be dry humping, then?”
Women not taking shit …
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 was so happy. Weirdly, I remember thinking, “My friend is here! My friend is here!” Even though things had been going great for me at the show, with Amy there, I felt less alone.
Photo shoots …
For example, I have what can be described as “dead shark eyes.” But if I try too hard to look alert, I look batshit crazy, like the runaway bride. If a bout of “creepy face” sets in, the trick is to look away from the camera between shots and turn back only when necessary. This also limits how much of your soul the camera can steal.
It goes on and on. It’s a very enjoyable book from one of the funniest people working in comedy today.
RAD RATING: 5/5 (Furiously-Funny-Fey-Radness)