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Tina Fey – Bossypants

May 14, 2014

31. Bossypants by Tina Fey (2011)

Read By: Tina Fey
Length: 5h 33min (288 pages)

Genre: Humor; Non-Fiction

Started: 13 April 2015
Finished: 15 April 2015

Where did it come from? I got the audio from Audible a while back; I picked up a paper copy at the library booksale.
Why do I have it? Freebie from Audible, then my book club picked it as one of our monthly book.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 25 November 2011 / 12 April 2014.

Being funny takes
work. Does being a funny
lady take more work?

Summary: This book is sort of half memoir, half essay collection, half comedy (yes, yes, that’s three halves. Go with it.) On the memoir side of things, Tina discusses her childhood and adolescence, her start in comedy doing improv with Second City, her years as a writer and actress on Saturday Night Live, the start of 30 Rock, the Sarah Palin sketches, etc. On the essay side of things, there are stories about her honeymoon, her daughter, being a comedy writer, answering fan mail, what it’s like on a photo shoot, etc.

Review: Most important things first: Get the audiobook version. Seriously. I am not the sort to laugh out loud at books very often (laughter is such a social thing that even when I think something I’m reading is funny, I don’t necessarily laugh), and while the audiobook didn’t exactly change that, it did make the whole thing a lot funnier than I think it would have been in print. Tina Fey reads the audiobook herself, so she’s got the timing and the intended inflections. (And she also does a good job of adapting it to the audio format, changing “book” to “audiobook”, “reading” to “listening”, etc.) In addition, in the chapter where the book contains the scripts for the SNL Sarah Palin sketches, the audiobook contains the actual audio from the sketch. Whether or not you find the audiobook (or the book itself) funny is going to entirely depend on how much you like Tina Fey’s sense of humor, but if you do, the audiobook made the experience richer and more fun.

In terms of the content of the book itself, it felt a little scattered. Partly I think that’s reflective of the various audiences she was trying to reach: people that know her from SNL, from 30 Rock, people interested in the comedy business, people interested in feminism, etc. For myself, I liked Tina Fey’s stint on Weekend Update, loved Mean Girls, have never seen a single episode of 30 Rock, but generally enjoy Fey’s sense of humor, and what she has to say. So the chapter detailing the inception of 30 Rock were interesting in a behind-the-scenes kind of way, but the chapter in which she retells the best joke of each of the 30 Rock writers totally lost me, since I’m not familiar with the characters. Likewise, the scattered nature of the book meant that of course some parts were funnier than others. For example, the story of her honeymoon, and her responses to internet trolls were hilarious (albeit for different reasons), while her list of how to apply the rules of improv to your life wasn’t really funny at all (nor was it meant to be, although I did find it pretty insightful.) But the scattered nature of the book also worked in its favor, since it meant that even if I didn’t find a particular section funny or fascinating, chances were good that the next one would be… and in fact, I blew through this (admittedly short) audiobook in less than three days, and would have happily listened to more. 4 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: If you find Tina Fey funny, this will be an enjoyable read; if you don’t (or don’t know who she is), you can safely take a pass. But if you get it, get the audiobook!

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 16, 2014 8:56 am

    I listened to this one while mowing the lawn a couple of years ago. I remember laughing so hard I thought I would fall off the mower.

    • May 21, 2014 3:13 pm

      Sheila – Hee! Good thing you didn’t; that could be dangerous!

  2. May 16, 2014 3:08 pm

    Cool that they have the sketches on audio! I didn’t realize that — I don’t know if I’ve read any other reviews that mentioned it. Well, good to know. I never read anything on audiobook, but this could be the one to do it with.

    • May 21, 2014 3:14 pm

      Jenny – This would be a good one to start with! It’s basically like a comedy routine, and there’s not a plot you have to keep track of, so the short chapters could lend themselves to shorter chunks of listening time, but it’s also entertaining enough to keep you entertained for longer stretches too.

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