Author: Tina Fey
Publication Date: 4/5/11
Publisher: Hachette Audio
[Goodreads | Amazon | Audible]
Blurb (GR): Before Liz Lemon, before "Weekend Update," before "Sarah Palin," Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV.
She has seen both these dreams come true.
At last, Tina Fey's story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon—from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence.
Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we've all suspected: you're no one until someone calls you bossy.
I was hesitant to start listening to Bossypants because, like seemingly every other person on this planet, Liz Lemon is one of my favorite television characters of all time. My subconscious (and let's be honest here, also my conscious) mind just wanted to listen to a book about Liz Lemon being Liz Lemon. The audiobook would use C & C Music Factory's "Everybody Dance Now" as the intro and outro music (instead of original music by Fey's husband and 30 Rock composer Jeff Richmond, which was lovely, but I digress...) and Hachette Audio could distribute a bag of Sabor de Soledad with each audiobook purchase. (I don't think Cheesy Blasters would hold up well en route to consumers) Seriously, I am practically lizzing about the hypothetical possibilities of a never-going-to-happen audio production here. I still loved the actual Bossypants audiobook, though. Tina Fey is one kickass and hilarious woman.
Fey narrates the book herself and her voice is easy to listen to in terms of pitch and pacing and she is entertaining as all get-out because I could actually envision the facial expressions she was making while telling stories about a girl in college who was too feminine to handle an entire piece of Trident gum, Sarah Palin offering her daughter as a babysitter to Fey's daughter at an SNL taping, and the faces she made while she was dictating fake responses to online trolls who wrote inane online comments about her talent, body, and sense of humor. I found the last section of the book to be particularly entertaining because I often write out responses to people on the internet and then just delete them without posting anything.
Dear Condescending Idiot,
Thanks for telling me I have no one to blame but myself for not seeing the clues that the killer was an actual demon rather than a human being. I definitely care about your opinion. I actually went to see the author speak last week and he said that he purposefully left out ALL clues so the reader would be surprised and specifically asked any person who thinks they saw it coming to email him about it. So I'm just answering your comment to tell you that you should probably email him and I truly hope this author you love tells you you're wrong and crushes your soul. I wish I could surgically remove you from Goodreads. But in the wild west of the internet (and according to the Terms of Service on Goodreads), you can post whatever you want. I can also delete it in this instance. So I will. Also, you suck.
Backspace backspace backspace backspace. The comments Fey responds to are much more caustic than those directed at my intelligence and obviously Fey is approximately 7856.43% funnier than I am so you can only imagine how entertaining her responses are. I was/am insanely curious whether anyone will ever recognize one of the usernames mentioned and pass Fey's responses along to them. That would be seriously classic. Besides that chapter, Fey muses on smug mothers who tell other women how to raise their kids, people say "women aren't funny," what the ideal body is, and why "Bravo Bravo Bravo" is something you never, ever want to hear on a cruise ship. She never dwells too long on any one subject and the memoir proceeds in a generally linear fashion from her childhood years to the present day.
The sections I was most looking forward to did not let me down one bit: the Second City, SNL , and 30 Rock stories are filled with the details of how sketches/shows are developed and the writing process, background stories of how jokes and story arcs in 30 Rock came out of the life stories of the writers, and descriptions of how different personalities interact on SNL. (both the regulars and the guests) Throughout the entirety of the audiobook, it became clear to me that I enjoy Fey so much for a quality I always look for in people: their appreciation of the talents and work of others. While I have no doubt that she works hard, that is readily apparent, she is very quick to mention how many other people around her worked just as hard and brought so much to the table. And while there is a lot of feminist girl power-type stuff going on in Fey's book, it never felt totally obnoxious, but instead came off as more of an anecdotal, "It really bites to be a woman in this business at times but coincidentally (and luckily) I'm a flipping badass with mad writing and improv skillz so I killed it in almost everything I did and will continue to do so,and I don't care what you think." Her advice, inspired by her friend Amy Poehler and paraphrased by me in order to not have to type out the entire contextual story, is to just not give a crap what other people think is funny. Just do your thing.*
There was really only one negative to the audio production--on disc four, several sentences were repeated twice, which led me to believe I was going insane for not noticing if they were chapter headings or something. (I don't think they were as they had the exact same intonation both times and there was no natural pause between header and body text) I mention this because I often do Google searches for things like, "Am I crazy or did everyone's copy of the Bossypants audiobook have double sentences?" and now this review will confirm to that one listener in 2036 that they aren't crazy. You're welcome, future person. The full-length audio of the Hillary Clinton/Sarah Palin sketch is embedded in the audiobook and it is almost as funny without the video aspect. PDF versions of all the photographs from the book are also included on the final audiobook disc. Definitely, DEFINITELY, check those out if you listen to Bossypants.
I recommend this audiobook to anyone who enjoys comedic memoirs, people who are curious what SNL and 30 Rock are like behind the scenes, and quite obviously anyone who enjoys Tina Fey's sense of humor. As usual, I find comedic memoirs to be best experienced in audio format with the reminiscing author as narrator.
*I kind of wished during one portion of this audiobook that some parties involved in the book blogging/reviewing world would listen to Fey's thoughts on responding to reviews (or not responding, as it were) and about online presence.