Tina Fey is a regular gal with overgrown eyebrows and a new book called Bossypants that reminds us once again how she just happens to be smarter and funnier than anyone else around.
"Maybe you bought this book because you love Sarah Palin and you want to find reasons to hate me," she writes in Bossypants (Reagan Arthur Books/Little, Brown, $26.99).
"We've got that! I use all kinds of elitist words like 'impervious' and 'torpor,' and I think gay people are just as good at watching their kids play hockey as straight people."
If you're a man, she'll thank you kindly for buying her book, but you're not the target audience. Pimply teen-age girls, virginal college women, striving young professional women, overworked moms: This book's for you.
There's a riff about her mother giving her the learning-about-puberty pamphlet Growing Up and Liking It, which women of a certain age will remember with a cringe. There are chapters called Remembrances of Being Very Very Skinny ("I once took a bag of sliced red peppers to the beach as a snack") and Remembrances of Being a Little Bit Fat ("My boobs were bigger"). There's an astonishing section about the propensity of male writers at Saturday Night Live for peeing into cups and leaving them around the office.
Fey isn't afraid to call herself a feminist, and she approaches sexism with her refreshing sense of humor. Here's her response to Christopher Hitchens' 2007 Vanity Fair essay headlined "Why Women Aren't Funny": "It is an impressively arrogant move to conclude that just because you don't like something, it is empirically not good. I don't like Chinese food, but I don't write articles trying to prove it doesn't exist."
Don't buy Bossypants looking for deep introspection or a long, tortured explanation of how she got that scar on her face. This is a book of comedic essays along the lines of Nora Ephron or Woody Allen, not a memoir. Fey even plays earnest questions, such as whether to have a second child, for laughs. (That dilemma was answered last week, when she announced that she was pregnant.)
Naturally, some pieces work better than others. A chapter about Fey's romantic foibles at the University of Virginia was a bit slow. But I laughed out loud at her interview for a job as the night box-office manager with what she calls the Tiny Pretentious Theater Company.
"We like to think of ourselves as the most exciting theater company in Chicago," the artistic director said.
"I like to think of myself as the most beautiful woman in the world," Fey replied. "But where will that get either of us, really?"