Recap: Smart, charming, and downright hilarious, Tina Fey’s Bossypants not only gives us a behind-the-scenes look at Fey’s life and background. It also offers career and life lessons, with funny anecdotes along the way. In Fey’s bestselling memoir, the 30 Rock and former SNL writer shares with us stories from her childhood, how she made it in the business, and how that Sarah Palin impression came to be. But mixed in with the overall story of her life are small, fun side stories — like those about her gay theater friends from childhood and her co-workers at the YMCA in Evanston, IL.
In this case, I listened to Bossypantsinstead of reading it. After all, Tina Fey reads the book herself. Also included in the audiobook is an audio version of the first Sarah Palin sketch Fey performed alongside Amy Poehler on SNL. There’s also a bonus disc, which features pictures from Fey’s past and a video of the SNL Sarah Palin skit. For me, that’s more than enough of a reason to choose the audiobook over the paperback.
Analysis: If there’s anything to get out of this book, it’s that yes, Tina Fey is as awesome, funny, smart, and charming as you think she is. If you’ve ever driven a long way by yourself, there’s perhaps no better companion for the road than the Bossypants audiobook.
Fey does not hold back, sharing with us some letters she either has or wishes she had sent to critics. She details her experience in meeting Sylvester Stallone. She even explains why former SNL star Cheri Oteri would have been better in one particular skit than Chris Kattan (who ultimately performed the skit). Her honesty can, at times, be astounding. But when reading a memoir, isn’t that exactly what you want?
The best parts of her story are easily about her days at SNL and 30 Rock. After all, that’s what she’s known for, and getting a behind-the-scenes look at the two shows is interesting — and let’s be honest — exactly the reason you picked up the book in the first place. She explains how she wasn’t even working at SNL when she did the Sarah Palin impressions, how she rarely impersonated people because she never looked like anyone, and how Alec Baldwin had been her choice for 30 Rock from the start and NBC probably wouldn’t have greenlit the show had he not signed on.
It’s not only Fey’s wit and candor that impress; she also subtlely includes career tips and life lessons. When talking about her days in improv, she explains tricks like “agree and say yes” or “yes, and…” or “think of solutions, not questions.” It becomes clear throughout this chapter that Fey is not only telling us how improv works; she’s telling us how life works.
MVP: Do you really have to ask? Sarah Palin.