When I bought Tina Fey’s book, the elderly parking attendant at Powell’s saw me carrying it and his face lit up. He gushed that he had heard so many great things and couldn’t wait to read it himself. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I had only invested the $27 with the intention of being offended and that I don’t like her because she doesn’t like me. I took one for the team and read Bossypants. I laughed out loud, I got to know as much of Ms. Fey as she would allow, and I made this list. I present you with Bossypants sex workery references, in order of the benign to horribly offensive.
10. On the subject of improv: “You may have a point to make about the health care system in America, but you’ll find out that you need to present that idea through a legally blind bus driver character or as an exotic dancer whose boobs are running for mayor. (I would like to see that sketch, actually.)” When Bubbles sent me this quote a few months ago, we had most of a sketch worked out after a few emails. I can’t remember the plot anymore, but it involved Beau Breedlove.
9. When describing the couple next-door on a cruise: “…the wife wears a spangly American-flag bikini, leading me to believe she is a retired stripper.” This is most likely accurate, as owning one of those is a requisite for any stripper who has ever had to work Fleet Week, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Veteran’s Day or in the state of Texas.
8. In response to a detractor on PerezHilton.com: “You know who does have a funny bone in her body? Your mom every night for a dollar.” A yo’ momma diss. Seems harmless enough, what the hey.
7. “If you don’t have a good body, you’d better starve the body you have down to a neutral shape, then bolt on some breast implants, replace your teeth, dye your skin orange, inject your lips, sew on some hair, and call yourself Playmate of the Year.” This is the pervasive beauty strategy (recipe for success) for many of my coworkers, so I see what she’s saying. But, it’s not the first time the bunnies have been the tail of her jokes. In fact, there’s a twin Playboy models incest jab later in the book.
6. “The borderline-homeless guys were sneaking women up to their rooms, which only goes to show that women continue to corner the market on low gag reflex.” This is from the chapter about the YMCA where Tina worked in Chicago. I used to work at a strip club below a weekly hotel, and the only women who ventured upstairs were streetwalkers. Blowjobs for not enough money, yuk it up. If this is just about civilian women, well, it’s still slut-shaming. They have nation-wide marches now in order for women to have the freedom to have relations with borderline-homeless men if they feel like it. (Did I miss my chance to insert a joke about “eating at the ‘Y’”?)
5. “‘The Days Are Long and the Years Are Short’ –Stay-at-Home Moms and Sex Workers” I was like, why are you so obsessed with us?
4. On the disappointment of Italian rum cake at Greek children’s birthday parties: “I imagine it’s like being at a bachelor party only to find that the stripper has overdosed in the bathroom.” The only time the incessant bachelor party/stripper death scenario was actually funny was on Arrested Development. I wish this joke would die inside a giant cake in an isolated locale so nobody could discover it.
3. “Politics and prostitution have to be the only jobs where inexperience is considered a virtue.” I thought that reading the book would shed some light on this quote after I saw it in context, but I’m still confused. She has to be talking about the eBay virginity auction thing, right?
2. On unpleasant-smelling tap water: “How can I describe it? –if you boiled ten thousand eggs in a prostitute’s bathwater.”
1. From a facetious poem chapter titled, “The Mother’s Prayer for Its Daughter”: “May she be beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty.” Yeah, it’s always those weathered, chain-smoking seven year-olds who let their roots grow out too long who deserve to be molested… and then grow up to become 30 Rock fodder.