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I don’t usually read memoirs, but this book came highly recommended, and now I’m thinking I should read more!

I’m a huge Saturday Nigh Live fan, and I always liked Tina Fey in all of her work, except 30 Rock, I don’t really get that show.

I read the book by listening to the audiobook, which was read by Tina Fey herself. It was great having it read by the author and hearing every sarcastic comment (and funny accents) delivered exactly as she meant it to be interpreted.

I found myself laughing out loud at many points in the book, which was especially embarrassing since I listened to most of the book during my workouts at the gym. I found myself trying to control my laugh and just restrict it to a smile because I noticed that people don’t laugh at the gym. They are in serious workout mode. I must have looked pretty crazy giggling to myself while doing crunches on the ab machine.

You should read this book if:

  • You like SNL or 30 Rock. She gives a lot of behind the scenes looks into how those shows function, the structure of employees, and background stories of inspirations that brought on some of the shows’ jokes, characters, and themes.
  • Enjoyed her playing Sarah Palin on SNL. She goes into great detail on how this occurred because she wasn’t working at SNL anymore at the time. And then posts a clip of that first sketch, which was hilarious.
  • Enjoy feminist jokes. Like all of her movies, shows, and characters, Tina Fey has a very feminist sense of humor. Pretty much every joke is in some way related to female stereotypes. She has a whole chapter that includes tips for women on how to maintain their looks that are typically given in magazines, but she takes a sarcastic, passive aggressive spin on them all. Her stories include her insight to women in comedy, rationale for why she is attacked more for her impression of Sarah Palin than any of the guys on SNL, and the expectation on women in today’s society. Sometimes she went a little far, but since I do like her and just think it’s her sense of humor, I think she did have valid points with very funny jokes to go along with it. Here are some examples straight from the book:

    When I was writing the movie Mean Girls–which hopefully is playing on TBS right now!–I went to a workshop taught by Rosalind Wiseman as part of my research. Rosalind wrote the nonfiction book Queen Bees and Wannabes that Mean Girls was based on, and she conducted a lot of self-esteem and bullying workshops with women and girls around the country. She did this particular exercise in a hotel ballroom in Washington, D.C. with about two hundred grown women, asking them to write down the moment they first “knew they were a woman.” Meaning, “When did you first feel like a grown woman and not a girl?” We wrote down our answers and shared them, first in pairs, then in larger groups. The group of women was racially and economically diverse, but the answers had a very similar theme. Almost everyone first realized they were becoming a grown woman when some dude did something nasty to them. “I was walking home from ballet and a guy in a car yelled, ‘Lick me!’” “I was babysitting my younger cousins when a guy drove by and yelled, ‘Nice ass.’” There were pretty much zero examples like “I first knew I was a woman when my mother and father took me out to dinner to celebrate my success on the debate team.” It was mostly men yelling shit from cars. Are they a patrol sent out to let girls know they’ve crossed into puberty? If so, it’s working.

    OR:

    All Beyonce and JLo have done is add to the laundry list of attributes women must have to qualify as beautiful. Now every girl is expected to have Caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, a Jamaican dance hall ass, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the abs of a lesbian gym owner, the hips of a nine-year-old boy, the arms of Michelle Obama, and doll tits. The person closest to actually achieving this look is Kim Kardashian, who, as we know, was made by Russian scientists to sabotage our athletes.”

  • Enjoy memoirs.I loved hearing about her childhood, her career track, her marriage (her narrative of how her cruise ship set on fire during her honeymoon), personal anecdotes (family Christmases, being a working mom), and things she’s learned through it all. Sometimes it was a little too self indulgent, but I had to remind myself: 1) It is HER memoir! and 2) She’s a comedian and she deals with things by making jokes about them. For example, it is clear that
    1. Clearly her looks are a touchy subject, because she jokes about them constantly. As being the black sheep in Hollywood, even though I don’t understand why. And dealing with the scar on her face (she was apparently slashed with a knife by a stranger behind her house when she was 5!), which I never even knew she had – thanks to the power of airbrushing and makeup.
    2. She used her book as a way to address all of the media and internet bullying. In a chapter called “The internet” she takes a very funny approach to responding to criticisms on TMZ or PerezHilton.com, but treats them like fan mail. At first I thought it was weird that she was using her memoir for that, but then I had to just take it for what it was, and she clearly likes to turn things that bother her into really good jokes! I can’t criticize that. Here’s an example of a “response letter” + feminist jokes:

    Posted by jerkstore on Wednesday, 21/1/2009, 11.21 pm

    “In my opinion Tina Fey completely ruined SNL. The only reason she’s celebrated is because she’s a woman and an outspoken liberal. She has not a single funny bone in her body”

    Dear jerkstore,
    Huzzah for the Truth Teller! Women in this country have been overcelebrated for too long. Just last night there was a story on my local news about a “missing girl”, and they must have dedicated seven or eight minutes to “where she was last seen” and “how she might have been abducted by a close family friend”, and I thought, “What is this, the News for Chicks?” Then there was some story about Hillary Clinton flying to some country because she’s secretary of state. Why do we keep talking about these dumdums? We are a society that constantly celebrates no one but women and it must stop! I want to hear what the men of the world have been up to. What fun new guns have they invented? What are they raping these days? What’s Michael Bay’s next film going to be?
    When I first set out to ruin SNL, I didn’t think anyone would notice, but I persevered because – like you trying to do a nine-piece jigsaw puzzle – it was a labour of love.
    I’m not one to toot my own horn, but I feel safe with you, jerkstore, so I’ll say it. Everything you ever hated on SNL was by me, and anything you ever liked was by someone else who did it against my will.
    Sincerely,

    Tina Fey
    PS You know who does have a funny bone in her body? Your mom every night for a dollar.

    It’s her book, she can write what she wants. She’s funny, why not joke about it.

  • Enjoy career advice from smart, successful women. She gives some personal advice based on her experience. She talks about all the jobs she’s had since high school, how SNL shaped her career, things she learned from Lorne Michaels about being a boss, the development of 30 Rock and its rocky beginnings, things women should and shouldn’t do in the workplace, how she feels about being a working mom.
  • Want a good laugh. Whether you overanalyze the reasoning for her jokes or not, she’s smart and funny, and does it very well.

Overall rating: ★ ★ ★★ ★ (loved it – and now love her more. mostly because it is just so different from anything I have read in a long time.)

Have you read Bossypants? What do you think of her controversial sense of humor?

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