I am not one for new year’s resolutions. Throughout the year I try to be better, smarter and you know, just totally awesome. I understand the notion of 1 January being a lamppost to guide change but it’s never really been my schtick. This year rather than pledge to be fitter and healthier (no one likes a skinny sober b*tch anyway), I decided I wanted to be funnier. Wittier. Sharper. Acerbic. Over the Christmas break there was dearth entertainment on the silver screen and so I started watching British panel shows. On YouTube. The clever sarcasm of David Mitchell and Richard Aoyarde, the witty repertoire of James Corden and Michael McIntyre graced my iPad and I was inspired by my Oprah-spired Aha moment: “I want to do that too”.
As sure as tinsel is removed by January, being funny is hard. Really hard. I’ve nailed drama queen over the last decade or so but comical candour is proving somewhat harder to master. So I need inspiration. And so I decided I needed Tina.
I wasn’t a massive 30 Rock fan although I have watched most episodes. Where Fey really sprang to my attention was that VP wannabe impersonation. Fey’s imitation of Sarah Palin defined the US 2008 election campaign to such an extent that people to this day believe that Palin said “I can see Russia from my house”. She didn’t. But Fey’s depiction so entered the zeitgeist that the conflation between reality and fiction has infiltrated popular culture and urban legend. And she includes the original script including rewrites which is brilliant.
Bossypants is good but not great. It wasn’t super-laugh-out-loud funny which made me nervous. Being funny is hard. REALLY hard. I think I was expecting to be in tears of laughter through every page. I wasn’t. But it was incredibly insightful. Her father seems like an incredible man; a man who has earned the respect of the rich, powerful and influential by his very presence.
Fey talks about her career journey in a way that is inspiring. She is a doer. A worker. While her talent is unquestionable (the letters to trolls on the Internet are gold), her success is no mistake. Fey is a sharp, clever and funny lady. And a feminist. She wants to do better by being better. That, if anything, should not only be my new year’s resolution but my mantra for the other 364 days of the year.