Tina Fey is even busier than usual right now: her book, “Bossypants,” came out this week (we ran two excerpts from it in the magazine); yesterday, she told Oprah that she’s expecting her second child; and tomorrow evening at seven she’ll be chatting with our editor, David Remnick, at the Barnes & Noble at Union Square. I’d guess writing, work, humor, New York, kids, Alec Baldwin—anything except how Fey juggles it all.
A passage in her piece “Confessions of a Juggler,” one of the excerpts we ran, suggests that’s one topic that’s best avoided:“How do you juggle it all? My standard answer is that I have the same struggles as any working parent but with the good fortune to be working at my dream job.
Fey, per Heffernan, also finds it difficult to balance feminist instinct with the demands of comedy: “since she became a head writer the words ‘whore’ and ‘bitch’ have flourished on the show.”It’s possible that Fey, like other television stars, is unused to being framed in full length, and, though in complete command of her delivery—dry, spiky, but unthreatening—she hasn’t yet made up her mind how funny her body is meant to be.
She isn’t big enough to make a joke of her ripeness, like Bette Midler, but she’s no Lily Tomlin, either. Fey’s Palin impersonation was reviewed positively by Kelefah Sanneh, and even Nancy Franklin called it “killer”!
Her essay is great not only because we get more details about our favorite star — anything Poehler we tend to gobble up like a spoiled 5-year-old presented with an enormous sundae — but because it's an indication that her book's going to be so good.
I have a feeling this "Take Your Licks" was taken right from the manuscript and serves as a wonderful teaser of what's to come.
Click here and here for Fey's Sarah Palin classics.) And Fey, who struggles in the essay with the unhappy realization that her "last five minutes of being famous is timing out to be simultaneous with [her] last five minutes of being able to have a baby," has a lot of material to mine. Network execs and "sexual adjudication" (think, casting couch). And "My Working Mom," a kids' book that features a harried hag -- a witch! In the meantime, check out this interesting post-Fey interview with the book's author.) It's incisive, cutting, and funny stuff. Fey's great at making us laugh but there's a lot more than giggles going on here.
Like, large, rich, Manhattan families with kids "named after kings and pieces of fruit" (perhaps Paltrow's daughter, Apple? She's facing some hard deadlines on a potential second baby project ("Thirty-five turned into forty faster than Mc Donald's food turns into cold non-food.") and some harder attitudes from an industry that isn't kind to aging women ("Hollywood be damned.
Like Tina Fey's memoir Bossypants, it seems like Poehler's tome will look at the formative and often hilarious experiences that drove, or perhaps enabled, her to become the national treasure that she is today.
But unlike Bossypants, the writing seems to be a bit more serious, in the best way possible.