Sign up FAST! Login

7 essential books about comedy by comedians | A.V. Club


Stashed in: Books!, Books, Tina Fey, Humor, Laugh!

To save this post, select a stash from drop-down menu or type in a new one:

Reading about comedy is like laughing about literature.

Still, the review of Tina Fey's book sounds quite compelling:

Tina Fey’s comedy writing doesn’t really lend itself to confessionals. On 30 Rock, her avatar, Liz Lemon, is specific enough to be well-drawn—and vaguely autobiographical. But the show put laughs above intimacy, to great effect. In her memoir Bossypants, Fey gets more personal, relating her life story in fits and starts with humor, insight, and a gratifying willingness to state her mind. The book follows Fey’s career from socially awkward, gay-friendly high-schooler to socially awkward, romantically struggling college student to YMCA receptionist, and then to the heights of Second City and beyond. As a career primer, Fey’s book offers practical advice in everything from dealing with a male-dominated writer’s room (they keep pee in jars) to handling photo shoots (enjoy them! and you don’t get to keep the clothes) and creating a critically lauded cult show while trying to make a wildly successful crossover hit. Fey also includes anecdotes about her childhood, her marriage, and an ill-fated sea voyage. Funny, thoughtful, and curiously heartwarming, Bossypants manages to work its lessons in on the sly, and Fey’s clear love for the world she’s invested her professional life in comes through clearly on every page. Her straightforward descriptions of what it takes to get sketches on the air when working forSaturday Night Live offer a glimpse into the show’s inner workings, and remind aspiring comedy writers that perseverance and patience matter as much as the rare flash of genius. In one of the book’s highlights, Fey walks readers through the history of one of her biggest contributions to pop culture, showing how a mild physical resemblance to a controversial vice presidential candidate led to one of the biggest satirical coups of SNL’s storied career. The main takeaway from all this is that Fey has worked to get where she is, making the most of opportunities that came her way, and refusing to let other people’s expectations hold her back. It’s good advice.

You May Also Like: