With the release of her book Bossypants this week, comedy’s leading lady maverick and Upper Darby native, Tina Fey can now officially add “published author” to her long list of achievements.
This Tuesday, her book tour will be stopping by the Free Library where Fey be doing an interview with host of WHYY's Radio Times, Marty Moss-Coane followed by an autograph signing.
Briefly straying from the traditional memoir format to offer random excerpts and essays, Bossypants chronologically follows Fey’s life, from her days as a young fag-hag with a bad hair cut to her sexless college years when she sported an even worse haircut and finally, her transition into the world of mainstream comedy.
Fey manages to offer a candid (and dare I say it, sincere) glimpse into her personal and professional life without ever softening her sharp wit.
The book is not one of those celebrity tell-all books in which Fey will be divulging every intimate detail of her existence. She mentions the scar on her cheek within the first few pages, only to dismiss it. “If I tell the whole story here, then I will be asked about it over and over again by the hosts of Access Movietown and Entertainment Forever for the rest of my short-lived career,” she explains.
Oddly enough, she then proceeds to share tales of her first menstruation and pap-smear, quickly establishing the book’s target audience.
Regardless of how alienated male readers may feel by her mock list of beauty secrets and the comparative charts on being “very very skinny” vs. “a little bit fat,” they should not dismiss the book as a crappy piece of chick-lit.
While fans may not get any particularly scathing behind-the-scenes dirt, there are several interesting tidbits about her days at Saturday Night Live and the extent to which they’ve been reenacted on 30 Rock.
For instance, did you know that she taught Monica Lewinsky how to correctly apply eye-cream during a secret pow-wow organized by two other ladies at SNL in an attempt to convince her to appear on the show? Or that male comedy writers are actually notorious for peeing in jars because they’re too lazy to go to the bathroom?
Just in case the title and cover photo didn’t give it away, Bossypants is Fey’s response to the frequent inquires about being in a position of authority as a women in the historically male-dominated business of comedy.
As executive producer, she explains she has a strict “no hot-heads policy.”
“I hire the most talented of the people who are the least likely to throw a punch in the workplace. If this is contributing to the the Demasculinization of America, I say hold a telethon and let me know how it goes,” she writes.
Despite devoting an entire chapter to her “badass” father and the tough work ethic that he instilled in her, much of her managerial style involves being a team player. In addition to expressing a great deal of admiration for her comedy chums/colleagues—particularly Alec Baldwin and Amy Poehler—she even goes to the extent of listing each 30 Rock writer and what she considers their funniest contributions to the show.
The most blatant instance of “institutional gender nonsense” Fey says she’s encountered was at Second City where she was told by a male director that the “audience doesn’t want to see a scene between two women.”
Over at SNL, she notes her proudest sketches were those in which she collaborated with other female cast members and writers, specifically the “Kotex Classic” commercial. Only in a tiny footnote does she mention a male coworker once called her a cunt. Her response: “I’m not some Adult Child of an Alcoholic that’s going to take that shit.”
Instead of resorting to angry tangents, Fey conveys her stance on various women’s issues through a sprinkling of feminist quips. Here’s two:
Her thoughts on Photoshop: “Photoshop is just like makeup. When done well, it looks great, and when it’s overdone you look like a crazy asshole.”
Her advice on how to make it in a male-dominated workplace: “No pigtails, no tube tops. Cry sparingly.”
Fey truly shows the most vulnerability when it comes to the topic of motherhood and trying to raise her daughter at a time when the Kardashian sisters have infiltrated American media. One of her many hopes for Alice is that she’ll choose beer if offered crystal meth and that she’ll never have to see an “online marketing campaign for ‘Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.’”
Q&A With Comedian Dave Hill