by Tina Fey
Reagan Arthur Books
288 pages, 26.99
TINA FEY has achieved renown as the first female head writer at Saturday Night Live, as a spot-on Sarah Palin impersonator, and as the creator of the hit TV series 30 Rock; but her embrace of gay-positive themes and plotlines is only now getting attention. What’s striking about Bossypants, her bestselling memoir, is that Fey devotes an entire chapter to all the gay and lesbian kids who, growing up with her in the Philly suburbs, helped to create her uniquely comic, even camp, sensibility.
The gay chapter bears this proviso: “All names in this story have been changed to protect the fabulous.” Recalling her time spent in a youth theatre program, first as a box office manager and later as a children’s theatre director, Fey writes about “the four-year-long pride parade” that shaped her vantage point as an outsider: “Like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, I was embraced by the gays. … I was filled with a poisonous, pointless teenage jealousy, which, when combined with gay cattiness, can be intoxicating. Like mean meth.” This same sentiment reverberates throughout Mean Girls, Fey’s first screenplay (2004), in which the film’s high school heroine sits on the sidelines with gay friends Janice and Damien. At one point Damien is seen belting out the sappy, self-affirming song “Beautiful” (“No matter what you say…”) at the Christmas recital, all the while being pelted by shoes.