Bossypants by Tina Fey; published 2011 by Little Stranger, Inc.
Review in a word: Guffaw-causing
Yes, that’s one word.
Opening line: “My brother is eight years older than I am.”
Bossypants is Tina Fey’s memoir and insider’s look at the world of struggling actors, comedy tv, Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock. She includes anecdotes from her life and tells the stories of how her fame grew: from mimicking Sarah Palin to having Oprah on 30 Rock. The book also addresses the issues of feminism, Photoshop, motherhood, and beauty.
Tina Fey’s book is very funny, and I’m not at all surprised that it’s a bestseller. It’s nothing serious or amazing, as Tina would be quick to tell you herself. You get the impression that she just wants to tell you her story, and maybe get a few laughs. It works. Fey’s self-deprecating humor is disarming. She boldly praises other actors like Amy Poehler, Will Ferrell, and Alec Baldwin.
One part I loved was her discussion of when she started taking improv classes—she immediately fell in love with improvisation, not just as a type of comedy but “as a worldview.” The following rules of improv have since shaped Fey’s beliefs:
- Agree: “When you’re improvising, this means you are required to agree with whatever your partner has created. …the Rule of Agreement reminds you to ‘respect what your partner has created’ and to at least start from an open-minded place. start with a YES and see where it takes you.”
- Yes, and: “You are supposed to agree and then add something of your own. …To me YES, AND means don’t be afraid to contribute.”
- Make statements: “In other words: Whatever the problem, be part of the solution. Don’t just sit around raising questions and pointing out obstacles.”
- There are no mistakes, only opportunities: “In improve there are no mistakes, only beautiful happy accidents.”
One of the funniest little anecdotes was her advice to women to find a hairstyle that works for them. Fey describes how she discovered hot rollers and loved how successful they were, but when it came to taking the rollers out, she couldn’t resist the impulse to brush them out.
That feeling of “I’m pretty sure this next step is wrong, but I’m just gonna do it anyway” is part of the same set of instincts that makes me such a great cook.
I had to fake-cough in the kitchen at work so as not to terribly disturb my sane coworkers eating near me with my loud guffaws. But I couldn’t resist smiling like an idiot, because I always do the same thing. Why do I always feel the need to brush out the curls?!
The best part of the entire book however—really, it’s worth buying for this alone—is the full script to the Sarah Palin impression that made her famous. If you haven’t seen this yet or, like me, you can never get enough of it, I’ve kindly provided a link to the youtube video. (You’re welcome.)
I’m so excited, because now I can memorize the script and annoy everyone around me with quotes.
Yes, and no. I wouldn’t recommend this to my mom because I know she wouldn’t like it. The best recommendation I can give is: If you already like Tina Fey (and/or SNL or 30 Rock), you will like her book.