Tina Fey refines literary humor

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I can count on one hand the number of novels that have made me laugh out loud.

The process of literary LOL-ing goes as follows: read witty line, obnoxiously guffaw, fold the corner of the page that contains witty line, and move on. In the end, perhaps, there are a half dozen dog-eared page corners, to be exact.

Tina Fey’s memoir, “Bossypants,” created a Guinness world record-winning litter of rambunctious, untamed golden retrievers, and they were everywhere.

Usually, I’m skeptical when it comes to laying comedy on thick, but Fey managed the barrage of punch lines flawlessly. Every single sentence is a perfectly planned pop culture reference, clunky, self-deprecating personal anecdote, or unsolicited life advice.
I’ll give you an example of each.

Perfectly planned pop culture reference, executed during a seven page chapter rant on the ridiculous expectations the world has of women, and how Tina Fey has met none of them: “And if I ever meet Joyce DeWitt –see 1970s sitcom, ‘Three’s Company,’ in which a straight man pretends to be gay—, I will first apologize for having immediately punched her in the face, and then I will thank her. For a while, she looked like a Liza Minnelli—see 1970s film, ‘Cabaret,’ in which a gay man pretends to be straight—doll that had been damaged in a fire, at least she didn’t look like everybody else on TV.” (24)

An admirable response to ignorant “trolling” on the internet, parading as clunky, self-deprecating personal anecdote: “To say I’m an overrated troll, when you have never seen me guard a bridge, is patently unfair. I’ll leave it to others to say if I’m the best, but I am certainly one of the most dedicated trolls guarding bridges today. I always ask three questions, at least two of which are riddles.” (148)

Unsolicited life advice, presented post-list of Tina Fey’s personal defects: “We should leave people alone about their weight. Being chubby for a while (provided you don’t give yourself diabetes) is a natural phase of life and nothing to be ashamed of. Like puberty or slowly turning into a Republican.” (108)

What can I say? Fey made me roar, giggle, chuckle and snort. I enjoyed every raw-throated moment of “Bossypants.” From the horror of her experience in subpar community theatre, to her raucous success from a Sarah Palin impression, I was hooked on every foul-mouthed opinion this woman voiced.

I want to end with a simple request. Just read the damn book; you won’t regret it.


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