I am really digging this autobiography/memoir genre, especially when it makes me laugh as much as Tina Fey’s Bossypants and Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (Seriously, I really alarmed fellow subway riders with my laughter. The subway should not be that enjoyable.)
So I’ve never been that into Saturday Night Live. I know some of the classic (for my generation) skits — D!ck in a Box, Jay-Z and Beyonce — but I never watch whole episodes nor do I know the regular comedians unless they’ve also done movies I like — Mean Girls, Bridesmaids. Mean Girls is how I discovered Tina Fey, and my appreciation of her grew when I realized she actually wrote the movie. Our relationship improved further when she imitated Sarah Palin in several hi-larious skits, but then it deteriorated when her current show, 30 Rock, started winning Emmys and/or Golden Globes instead of the shows I watch. Alas, after finishing her book I am now officially, completely, totally, irreversibly, 1000% in love with her.
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.
I’m also extremely fascinated by the scar on her face — it’s one of the first things she mentions in the book, yet she still doesn’t really explain what happened beyond “someone slashed my face with a knife in an alley near my house (in Philly, I think?) when I was little”. Um, WHAT?! Why!? Did you ever catch the person who did it? What happened immediately afterward? I’m extremely curious, but also extremely impressed by her ability to let that part of her life remain completely closed to the public.
Tina was referenced quite a few times in Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, and now I can see why. She experienced a great deal of sexism in her early days as an improv comedian — higher-ups at Second City (which I have been to, like, twice, thankyouverymuchI’msocool) outright stated that women are not as funny as men and they didn’t want a gender-balanced cast, and similar situations occurred at SNL. I particularly like the part of the book where Tina describes Amy Poehler making a gross joke and Jimmy Fallon saying “Ew, that’s not cute”, and Amy responding with “I don’t f*cking care if you like it”, and now I am in love with Amy as well.
This is what I tell young women who ask me for career advice. People are going to try to trick you. To make you feel that you are in competition with one another. “You’re up for a promotion. If they go for a woman, it’ll be between you and Barbara.” Don’t be fooled. You’re not in competition with other women. You’re in competition with everyone.
I also very much agree with Tina’s views on parenting, and will probably feel similarly if I ever decide to reproduce:
I only hope that one day I can frighten my daughter this much. Right now, she’s not scared of my husband or me at all. I think it’s a problem. I was a freshman home from college the first time my dad said, “You’re going out at ten p.m.? I don’t think so,” and I just laughed and said, “It’s fine.” I feel like my daughter will be doing that to me by age six. How can I give her what Don Fey gave me? The gift of anxiety. The fear of getting in trouble. The knowledge that while you are loved, you are not above the law.
In conclusion, I highly recommend this book to all Tina Fey fans, even if the only reason you’re a fan is her Golden Globes hosting duties and/or Mean Girls. It’s light, it’s hilarious, and her life is actually pretty interesting. I leave you with this:
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?