Thursday, 2 April 2015

Inferior Book Group #12:

Let's ignore the fact that I haven't written a blog post in two months and just jump right back into it, okay? Okay.

I recently finished reading Tina Fey's 2011 autobiography Bossypants and - as with most non-fiction books - I whizzed through it. I've been a casual admirer of Tina Fey and her work for a while now. I'd be surprised if you haven't heard of Tina before but, just in case, you will probably recognise her as the unfortunate but well-meaning teacher Ms Norbury from Mean Girls.

Source: here

But here's the best bit - if you didn't know already - Tina Fey actually wrote Mean Girls herself. She also co-wrote and starred in US TV comedy institution Saturday Night Live for many years; created, wrote and starred in off the wall sitcom 30 Rock and - most recently - handcrafted one of the best written, most intelligent and hilarious TV shows I've seen in my life: The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

I myself knew all of this information before reading Bossypants, but somehow witnessing Tina Fey (very humbly) list all of these achievements one after the other made me realise exactly how much talent this incredible lady has, and just how much she's done with it.

Source: here

As you may be aware, Tina Fey and fellow SNL alum Amy Poehler are best friends in real life which is both amazing and awful. Amazing because they are (by all accounts) two of the sweetest and most hysterical ladies in comedy today, and I love imagining them making each other roll about laughing on the floor when they meet up for a cup of tea and a catch up. But awful because I've always felt that I needed to choose my favourite out of the two. Up until recently my love of Parks and Rec had me thinking I was firmly in Amy's camp, but Bossypants may just have shifted the balance. That's how brilliantly written this book is. Tina Fey should consider becoming a politician. (Although remember to ask me again where my loyalty lies after I've read Amy Poehler's autobiography.)

So, onto actually discussing the book. Back when I read fellow funny lady Mindy Kaling's autobiography in 2013, I wrote in my review that it felt like Mindy was chatting to me as though to a friend through the pages. I realise now that I was wrong. Compared to Tina Fey, Mindy Kaling speaks to her reader like a business acquaintance, or maybe her hairdresser - polite and really funny, but still ever so slightly guarded. 

Tina, on the other hand, lets it all out. She swears, she makes snide remarks, she shares gossip and doesn't skimp on the juicy details. Throughout the whole of Bossypants I felt like I was having my own rather surreal coffee shop catch up with Tina Fey. Move over, Amy Poehler.

The content of Bossypants is fairly standard for an autobiography. Tina's childhood, awkward teenage years, struggling artist stories and rise to fame are all chronicled - and it's all hilarious. Quite often the writing style reminded me of the way my friend Marianne (the Amy to my Tina and an extremely funny human being) talks, and I now realise that's because Tina Fey's comedic timing is absolutely flawless, even written down.

Source: here

Not to hate on Mindy Kaling unnecessarily (because I don't, she's great) but I remember finding the structure of her book to be particularly disjointed and jarring. Tina Fey has written what is in essence exactly the same book and it flows together beautifully. If you have the time you could easily read Bossypants in one sitting, but it isn't a throwaway book by any means.

If you're a fan of SNL or 30 Rock, you'll find out things you never knew about their creation by reading Bossypants. If you ever wondered why Tina Fey wanted to impersonate Sarah Palin repeatedly on live TV, you'll find out by reading Bossypants (vague spoiler: she didn't actually want to!). If you've never even heard of any of these new-fangled telly programmes and you haven't got a clue who Tina Fey is, you'll want to find out after reading Bossypants. That's how darn funny and good Tina Fey is.

I'm going to stop fan-girling about Tina Fey now (how many times have I written 'Tina Fey' in this blog post now?) but if you are a human person and enjoy laughing you should read this book. As long as you don't mind snorting out loud on public transport.

Amy Poehler's autobiography Yes Please will be appearing in one of these book group reviews soon, but to space out the funny ladies I'll be reading John Darnielle's novel Wolf in White Van next. You might know Darnielle better as frontman of the Mountain Goats. I love his lyrics, so am very much looking forward to reading his first novel.

Read my last review here: The New York Trilogy