When I first heard that Tina Fey, my comedy idol, had written an autobiography entitled, “Bossypants” – I felt instantly validated. I have been called bossypants since I was little, so to learn that my hero shared my nickname suddenly made everything seem right in the world. There is one sentence on the back of the book that is used to sum it up, “You’re nobody til somebody calls you bossy.” Well, I guess I’ve made it then…I am officially somebody because I have been called bossy more times than I can count, apparently so has Tina Fey, and I’m guessing so have many of you. The word “bossy” being used to describe women has been a hot topic in the media over the last couple years. It comes with many negative connotations and finally women have started saying, “Hang on a second, why is it ok for guys to be bossy, but not us?” This argument has been portrayed often recently, from Sheryl Sandberg to BanBossy.com; it’s everywhere. If you haven’t seen the Pantene Pro-V commercial about “Labels Against Women”, you MUST watch it, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOjNcZvwjxI. Now, with her book, Tina Fey has joined the argument by proving that her bossypants have gotten her where she is today.
Admittedly, I haven’t read an autobiography since I had to do a presentation on Frederick Douglass in 4th grade, so I’m no expert. However, if all autobiographies were written like this one, I’d become a human encyclopedia. Ms. Fey tells the story of her life from childhood to the present by making the reader feel like they are there watching the event unfold. And let me tell you, Tina Fey has had quite an interesting life! From summer camps to becoming a mother, and all the Second City, SNL, and 30 Rock in between, there was never a dull moment. This book was absolutely HILARIOUS. I don’t think I need to do crunches anymore; the laughing was enough of an abs workout for me!
What I really loved about this book is how much I learned, and not just about where Tina had her first kiss or what kind of pizza she likes, but information on how to be a successful woman in business. A large portion of the book is about her years at SNL requiring some serious business prowess and how her bossy nature helped to get her through. I found myself grabbing a highlighter just to make sure I wouldn’t forget any important words of wisdom! She talks about witnessing the transition of the comedy world from being a male-dominated business to being an equal collaboration about talent and what you have to offer instead of what is in your pants. Tina also dives into the difficult topic of work/life balance and the question she says she gets asked the most, “How do you do it all?”
My favorite part was the section about how the art of improvisation “changed her life”. Tina wrote about how studying improv not only made her a better writer and performer, but it also made her a better businesswoman and human being. She talks about the basic rules of improv and how they apply to every day life and specifically how they apply in the workplace. This chapter is a MUST for anyone, male or female, who doesn’t work on a deserted island. **
Tina Fey’s “Bossypants” is easy, fun, and informative summer reading that I cannot recommend enough! I laughed out loud 538 times, but who’s counting? I do, however caution you to refrain from drinking any liquids while reading that you wouldn’t want to come out of your nose from the laughing. I learned this the hard way.
**I am also of the belief that improvisation can change your life (and can be especially helpful to lawyers), so with my Second City training I started a program where I lead an Improv for Lawyers workshop. For more information about my workshop, go to http://improvforlawyers.weebly.com/. My business partner and I would love to come share our knowledge with you!
Lindsay Audette is WLALA’s Administrative Assistant. She is a graduate of the Second City Conservatory and a performer/writer in the sketch/improv group LA Ugly. She also teaches an Improv for Lawyers workshop which she would love to teach YOU! Lindsay can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.