Tina Fey’s wonderful show 30 Rock is one of my favorite TV comedies of all time, and her work on Weekend Update is also a favorite. Since her writing chops seem to have a pretty solid connection with my sense of humor, I was pleased to discover that they essay/memoir/nonfiction side of things is also an area she operates well in. Her book Bossypants has been on my radar for a bit, but I hadn’t owned a copy until recently, when it became a featured deal on Kindle. My Kindle gets heavier rotation when I’m doing a lot of backpacking on account of its literal lightness, so I’ve been reading with it a fair bit of late (hopefully I’m not going over-much into the minutia of how the sausage gets made).
Fey’s book is loosely autobiographical, with plenty of worthwhile side trails that grow out of the larger narrative. She plays with form, using lists and other devices to break things up, to keep everything fresh. Her life story is interesting enough, but her framing is the real point to all this. Her observations are well presented and suffused with the kind of humor that made me love 30 Rock so much. Fey does prose well, but again, it’s the funny side of things that makes it all go.
Having read Amy Poehler’s Yes Please within the year, (and not enjoyed it -more details here: https://seanvansickel.com/2015/02/16/reading-log-audiobook-listening-log-amy-poehlers-yes-please/)I’m struck by how similar the two books are. I understand that being offered a book deal as a comedian and a comedy writer is a big deal -these kinds of books have a massive mainstream audience, and need to follow a particular mold, at least to a certain extent. But in spite of Bossypants having come out three years prior, and seeming to have been a model for Poehler’s book, it seems to be not only more novel and unexpected, but just better comedy.
Recommendation: Read it! Lots of funnies, some solid insight.