Tina Fey’s new memoir, “Bossypants,” is the perfect read for anyone looking to distract themselves from the mountains of schoolwork standing between them and summer vacation.
Or for anyone who seems to have escaped the traditional end-of-the-semester workload. Or, really, for anyone who enjoys reading funny, thought-provoking writing by intelligent people.
Fey is a comic writer and actress best known for her work at NBC on “Saturday Night Live” and, more recently, “30 Rock.”
The 275 pages of “Bossypants” fly by thanks to her trademark sharp wit and self-deprecating humor. The hilarity Fey is known for in television and film translates seamlessly to her memoir and had me laughing out loud at times.
For the first quarter of the book, Fey describes her childhood and teenage years in the Pennsylvania suburbs. She playfully instructs readers on how to raise “an achievement-oriented, obedient, drug-free, virgin adult,” through hilariously poignant accounts of struggles with dating and her experiences in local theater.
The remainder of the memoir details Fey’s rise to fame, from her humble beginnings working the morning shift at a Chicago-area YMCA and performing with The Second City improvisation and sketch comedy theater, to her current position as a producer, actor and writer for “30 Rock.”
She describes life as a new mother who was also trying to pitch a network television show, there’s a chapter dedicated to responding to various negative comments online and she took time to give credit to her co-workers, to whom she attributes much of her success.
In one chapter, she actually thanks all of the other “30 Rock” writers and prints their “MVP Jokes” (many of which are instantly recognizable for any die-hard “30 Rock” fan).
“Bossypants” is not just hilarious anecdotes taken from Fey’s life; at its core it is also a feminist work that proves, once and for all, that women are funny.
“It is an impressively arrogant move to conclude that just because you don’t like something, it is empirically not good,” Fey said of the people who are still trying to argue that women aren’t as funny as men.
Using “Saturday Night Live” as her primary source material, Fey illustrates the struggles she and the other female performers on the show faced in a field that has always been male-dominated. Her number one piece of advice to women facing sexism in the workplace, like she has for most of her life, is, “do your thing and don’t care if they like it.”
Somehow, Fey is able to make her success seem as if it was easy, or even accidental. There is no doubt that Fey deserves to be where she is, thanks to her hard work and obvious talent, but her modesty and humor throughout give hope and confidence to anyone trying to accomplish even a fraction of Fey’s achievements.