Tina Fey's 'Bossypants': EW review


Tina Fey is allergic to bulls—. If she comes within five feet of a pile, the uncommonly sensible, reflexively funny comedy goddess in eyeglasses will gracefully sidestep the stuff. And all the while, she’ll make wise and hilarious observations about the stink, counting as friends those who smell it too. It’s Fey’s 
 custom-quality, handcrafted BS detector that makes Bossypants so irresistible.

In this genially jumbled memoir-esque collection of riffs, essays, laundry lists, true stories, fantasy scenarios, SNL script excerpts, and embarrassing photos from the wilderness years before she received the gift of a flattering haircut, the great Miz Fey puts on the literary equivalent of a satisfying night of sketch comedy. As a result, some of the bits are better than others. Many of the chapters link together as a more or less chronological account from the author’s girl-dork years in Upper Darby, Pa., to her days and long nights on SNL, to her creation of 30 Rock and Fey’s sitcom alter ego (and beacon of hope to working women), Liz Lemon. (There’s also stuff on her turn imitating that former governor from Alaska.)

But Fey remains notably selective about the information she shares; while making jokes at her own expense, she maintains an inviolable sense of privacy. It’s the more freewheeling, improvised chapters that capture Fey at her sharpest (and most influentially feminist). I love her list of beauty secrets. I’m grateful for her comparative charts on the experiences of being “very very skinny” and “a little 
 bit fat.” I plan to steal Fey’s imaginary response to a rude Internet commenter: “First let me say how inspiring it is that you have learned to use a computer.” Oh, and a note to those who would ask Fey, a working mother, “How do you juggle it all?”: Don’t ask! If she knew how to juggle it all, she wouldn’t be so funny. Or such an excellent Bossypants. Grade: A–

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Comments (125 total) Add your comment
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  • Katrina

    I will be picking up this book immediately. She is hilarious and cannot wait to read a book full of her stories!!

    • joblo

      I like Tina okay. But that picture w/ the hairy hand is just repulsive. I can’t look at it anymore – not a good sales idea!!

      • Mary

        I was just about to say that! I love Tina, but that hairy hands cover is rather unsettling.

      • Karl

        I think it represents her sense of humor pretty well.

      • Kim

        The picture reminds me of an episode of Seinfeld where Jerry dates a female with man hands.

    • nan

      I read this book (my local city market released it a week early! Oops!) and Lisa’s review is spot-on. I found myself literally laughing out loud after every line in some parts. And while she does keep a level of privacy as Lisa mentioned, you still get some amazing insight into her life and leave feeling like you’re BFF’S. Absolutely fabulous book!

      • nan

        Oh and to all of the smarta*s comments on here, Tina dedicated a chapter to you trolls in her book, so yay! Way to go, douchebags! Hahaha!

      • ^ ^

        Wow. I will be so hurt. *rolleyes*

  • DebbieLG

    I love Tina Fey – she’s smart and so sensible! I’ll be buying this book.

    • Ha Ha Ha

      You MUST either be or work for her publicist.

      • OneTime

        You really need to re-evaluate how publicists spend their time. You think they spend it making internet comments? Really? Come on…

      • ^ ^

        You MUST be kidding. That happens all of the time!

    • Jean Genie

      The overused “smart” as in what? “Savvy”? Or just “cool”? There’s other words to use besides that ambiguous trendy term.

      • Kat

        …or maybe “smart” as in “intelligent”?

  • ^..^

    *cough* overrated *cough*

    • KC

      I’m surprised EW is not making her this week’s cover story as much as they seem to kiss her @$$.

      • crispy

        She’d be a better cover than The Governator.

      • Kevin

        She deserves it.

      • To the simpletons above me

        First let me say how inspiring it is that you have learned to use a computer.

      • ^..^

        Nice try there, Tina.

      • brixie

        Ok, you may not like her, or her kind of humor, but I don’t think anyone is “kissing her a**.” Tina Fey is one the smartest writers in the business right now, and the fact that she’s a woman gives an aspiring writer like me hope. As far as we’ve come as a society, the world of comedy writing is still a “man’s world,” and I personally thought this book was amazing. I read it in one sitting.

        One positive book review on a website that focuses on REVIEWING TV SHOWS, MOVIES, AND BOOKS does not an a** kisser make. If anything, perhaps EW kisses Tom Bergeron’s a**. Gain some perspective here.

      • kremzeek!

        i’d literally kiss tina fey’s *ss.i’ve always had a thing for females who look EXACTLY like her,glasses or not.

    • Josh

      It’s easy to say something is overrated if you don’t get it.

      • ^..^

        “I know you are but what am I?”

      • Jean Genie

        Lame, Josh. Just live with the fact that not everyone drools over Tina. I used to like her before she left SNL. Now, she seems no different from the oversold Jen Aniston.

    • Sarah D

      Men don’t get it and that’s okay.

      • GOB

        I am a man, and I get it. And I like it. TIna is awesome. Keep your sexist ideas to yourself, Sarah D.

      • Gil

        agree with GOB. men can like tina fey too.

      • Jacob

        Way to be sexist, Sarah. Why should someone’s genitals decide if they “get” something or not? Tina fey is one of my favorite people, hands down. I don’t need two X’s to understand how amazing she is.

      • thecurse

        I am a woman and I “get it”. I just don’t like it ALL the time, or so my hubby says.

      • Riley

        Men don’t get it because it is intellegent humor, not the crude humor of 13 year olds. Women outnumber men at top colleges and on average have higher GPA’s. Way to go ladies – we have evolved!

      • Tom

        Way to go women! Making fun of other women for a living! Woot-woot-woot-woot!

      • Chris

        Of course men get Tina Fey. It helps that besides being one of the funniest people in entertainment she is also very beautiful. I agree that so many celebrities are over exposed but in Tina’s case any attention she gets is well deserved. Unlike a lot of them she has the talent to warrant all the attention.

    • Felicia

      Oh, the cough, cough reply. That is so over-used and not nearly as clever as you want it to be.

  • khm

    This book is waiting for me in the mail and it is killing me that I’m not reading it yet!

    • Elizabeth

      Me too.

  • Jen

    Glad the book is getting a good review, but why is the movie critic reviewing books? Really, there should be at least one person on staff who is just a book reviewer.

    • ed

      Your typical EW reader does not read books, hence why there is no book reviewer on staff.

      • Elizabeth

        They actually have several reviewers – or at least I’ve seen them in the print version.

    • Gigi

      Possibly because no one wanders over to the book section of EW.

  • Nicole

    Just got it in the mail today..starting it now

    • Erica

      Wow. We’ll get your review in a couple of years.

      • Dave

        You won’t be so smug when All My Children gets cancelled this year.

  • cameobrooch

    I wonder if Fey mentions all the people she s*** on over the years. I know she has created this image of herself as a self-deprecating, quirkily endearing/endearingly quirky representative of self-proclaimed outcasts but, believe me, it’s all an act. She’s ambitious and calculating and would have no trouble stepping on the sort of people who regard her as a role model and personal hero.

    • T.J.

      And you would know this… how? Yes, I’m sure that someone trolling around the message boards of Entertainment Weekly is rife with insider information.

      • Felicia

        That was an awesome response. Thank you.

    • Stephen

      Any evidence to nail that down, or just the “believe me”?

    • K

      Yeah, sorry we don’t believe an anonymous person posting on a comment section. I’m sure there are a ton of successful people out in the world that people claim “stepped all over them”. Truth or just bitterness? If they can’t say who they are – I’m going to go with just bitter.

    • stella

      Ugh, like male comedians AREN’T? Not to mention she never tries to hide it – she’s referred to herself as a bitchy boss, and if her Liz Lemon alter ego is any indication, she doesn’t put up with slack or BS. I don’t think she would deny that she’s ambitious and calculating (she’s the first female head writer of SNL and has her own TV show for a reason), but I don’t think anyone would even pause to note her “calculated ambition” if she were a guy instead.

      • Gisela

        Complete translation in order of ranepaapce (my apologies for the phonetics 6 years of Greek school got me this far really!)Alithea? truly? (really)Ellas Hellas (Greece)trepomai we are embarrassed (I learned my conjugations!)Agapioses my loved onesVassiliki Stamatina presumably her name in Greek (Betsy? Stamatina or Tina for short)kalinihtasas goodnightbtw, there is a Greek word for taxes foroi we Greek-Americans know it all too well .

    • brixie

      Actually, she does touch on the fact that she “steps” on a few people along the way. But you know what? Who cares? Sometimes we have to be selfish to get the things we want and deserve out of life. She’s somewhat apologetic about it, but why do we always have to put others needs above our own? I find it odd that you call her “ambitious and calculating.” Do the two go hand in hand? Ambition is nothing to be ashamed of.

  • Erica

    Wow. All 20 of the idiots who watch her mediocre show might actually run out to buy this.

    • Bobby’s Robot

      This idiot can’t wait to read it! And always looks forward to the mediocre show every Thursday, even if it’s a rerun. Now excuse me while I comment on an article on someone I don’t like and antagonize the people who do like them, for no apparent reason other than being a troll.

      • Bobby’s Mom

        Turn off the TV and computer and enjoy some fresh air!

      • JennA

        Best response. Thank you Bobby’s Robot! This idiot can’t wait to read it either. And then quote bits of it with her coworkers, as we do every week after 30 Rock airs.

      • nan

        You nailed it Bobby! I too am an idiot and love 30 Rock and quoting every line! Eric is just lonely and wishes she was as cool as our girl Tina. Suck it Erica

    • Josh

      Hey Erica, do us idiot fans of hers a favor and find some happiness.

    • K

      Please Erica, please tell us about all your successes…or are you too busy picking apart people who are actually successful?

    • Brian Wallace

      I agree 100% with Erica and unlike everyone else who has replied to Erika, I have more than a high school education.

      “30 Rock” is so SMUG. It’s so “look how CLEVER I can be!” It’s just NOT FUNNY. It’s HARVARD FUNNY. People who think “30 Rock” is funny also think Conan O’Brien is funny. These people should get out more. Neither are funny. It’s “humor” to make people think they’re smart.

      Brian Wallace

      • Big Walt

        It is possible to like something another person doesn’t like and for neither of those people to be “wrong”. Why do you care if I think she’s funny or Conan’s funny? I don’t care that you like Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy even though I don’t.

      • C Men

        I’m glad to see you have “more than a high school education” Brian. Is community college as fun as it looks on Community?

      • SoyBombGuy

        @BrianWallace — Dude, you are so transparent, and almost a caricature. “Harvard funny” translates to Smart Funny, and clearly that makes you feel inferior. And “humor to make people think they’re smart” clearly translates to “I don’t get it (because it’s over my head / too smart)so I need to emptily/baselessly deride it.” We’re Ok with you sticking with 2 1/2 Men, since that’s your wheelhouse apparently.

      • Pillow Pants

        That’s why job applications should ask for television viewing preferences instead of education. It’s a far better indicator of intellect.

      • J. Baker

        It takes a special kind of person to accuse someone of smugness in a comment and then add a signature line at the bottom. Were you afraid that the sheer brilliance of your thoughts wouldn’t be properly credited to you? Awesome. Just awesome.

      • DaveStoller

        Great insight! “Harvard funny” can be defined like this: if you hear a joke and say, “Wow, that’s funny” instead of laughing–it’s “Harvard funny.”

    • brixie

      Funny how this “mediocre show” has been nominated for 79 awards and has won 29 – including best Comedy Emmys 3 years in a row. SO mediocre!

  • name

    Fey is a hateful person. How anyone can align themselves with someone who bullies those who are different, is beyond me.

    • Bobby’s Robot

      Do you even know who Tina Fey is?

      • name

        Yes, Tina Fey is a Bully. Comedy is one thing, bully those who are different from her is another. Get with it.

      • Bobby’s Robot

        Please give an example.

      • Jaime

        Remember, she made fun of Palin by saying *exactly* what Palin said. That makes her hateful to some people in this country.

      • Bobby’s Robot

        I thought that might be what it is. If so I wonder if “name” has any problem with Armisen’s Obama, Wiig’s Pelosi, Poehler’s Hilary, Hammond’s Clinton, Ferrell’s Bush Jr., Carvey’s Bush Sr., Ackroyd’s Carter, Chevy’s Ford, or any other politcal fugure who has ever been satirized.

      • Jennifer

        I hate Tina Fey. She picked on the mentally retarded.

      • @name

        Is this Paris Hilton?? Are your feelings hurt because she said that you were a rude witch who left bits of your fake hair all over the place?? Oh, and when it says “Your Name” in the Add Your Comment part, it means YOUR name not YOU’RE name. Do you feel sufficiently bullied now??

      • C Men

        @ Jennifer – That’s terrible, what did she do to you?

      • crispy


    • K

      You’re looking pretty hateful right now…soooo…..

    • Katie


      • no name

        She murdered two infants and a puppy back in 1983. And stole a book from the New York Public Library. Still think she’s funny?

      • crispy

        she ran over a manatee with a motor boat.

      • thecurse

        She drowned a baby dolphin as it was being born.

  • Jerry

    I can’t believe the hype around this woman. Her SNL days were probably among the most abysmal of the series’ run, 30 Rock was good the first season but has sunk since, her Palin impression was funny ONCE. Are people that hard up for comedy that Fey is crowned some sort of comedic genius?

    • Erica

      You forgot to add that her movies suck. Mean Girls? I saw several versions of that tired premise in the 80’s.

      • Sarah

        @Erica & Jerry- Are you kidding me? 30 Rock is one of the most consistent, intelligent comedies on TV, and Mean Girls is THE single most quotable movie of our generation.

      • Casey

        Erica and Jerry are the same person. They need to make people register apparently.

      • Ha Ha Ha

        ” Mean Girls is THE single most quotable movie of our generation.”
        Boy, you must be pretty dumb.

      • @Casey


      • SoyBombGuy

        Yes, and she actually managed to take a tired premise and write it so well that it felt new and original and completely transcended all of the lame stuff that came before it. You paid her a compliment and you didn’t even know it. Joke’s on you, I guess.

    • Dave

      Yes, they are. They also remember that you were only funny when George, Elaine and Kramer were there to make you funny, and that you were the only one never nominated for an Emmy.

      • Jerry

        Too bad Jay stole your ratings.

  • angeljake

    Terrible cover.

  • Buto Matari

    Haters gonna Hate.

  • Khoff

    Just bought the ebook this morning. Cannot. Wait.

  • Nance

    I really hope Tina does a signing tour!

    • C Men

      I really hope she does a singing tour!

  • Greg H.

    Some people just love posting negative comments. Not that they should have to offer any documentation or antecdotes to support their mean, juvenile opinions. Where are they getting their insider info?
    I was lucky enough to attend a ’30 Rock’ season wrap party in NYC 2 yrs. ago. It was a total lovefest- full of tech staff, writers, crew and actors. It was a great party and Ms. Fey and her cast were friendly and funny, with zero attitude. If you don’t like her stuff, fine. But talent wins out.
    And there is nothing talented about posting negative crap without backing your petty little rants without anything factual to back them up! Jealous much?

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