I was obsessed with Saturday Night Live.
As a little kid, I would sneak downstairs to watch it on this weird, little TV with a massive antennae that had been relegated to the basement in my parents' house. I was too young to understand half the jokes, but I didn't care. I still thought sketch comedy was hilarious.
The sarcastic news program, Weekend Update, was my favorite skit. It was funny when Norm MacDonald was the anchor from 1994-1997. He laughed at his own jokes and frequently messed up his lines. It was still pretty funny from 1998-2000 with Colin Quinn, but his humor was a little too "angry New Yorker" for me, a twelve-year-old girl wearing Snoopy pajamas and glasses. Then, in 2000, Tina Fey showed up with Jimmy Fallon, and instantly became my idol.
I love Tina Fey. She makes fun of herself a lot. She is witty and confident and sarcastic, and she tells a lot of jokes about being mistaken for a dude. She frequently references all the terrible haircuts she has had throughout her life. She never talks about the fact that she is gorgeous. Instead, she maintains humility. I like her sense of humor, which essentially is the ability to find humor in the mundane, mostly using irony and accuracy. In high school, I made 3-minute videos for the student-run news show that played on TV's in every classroom every single morning. I tried my hardest to make these videos funny by pointing out the absurdity in everyday procedures throughout our high school. I would literally think, "How would Tina Fey approach this situation?" It usually worked-- the videos were ridiculous, and my peers even voted me "Most Likely to be on SNL" in a school-wide yearbook survey. Seventeen-year-old me was psyched. Here are some Weekend Update quotes I liked:
MSNBC reporter Ashleigh Banfield, now in Pakistan covering events there, has cut her hair short and died it brown in order to go undercover in the male-dominated country. Take it from me, Ashley: If you think having brown hair and wearing glasses will keep men from noticing you.. you are right.
Fey's list of accomplishments is insane-- she became the head writer for SNL, wrote and acted in the movie Mean Girls, then developed the show 30 Rock, on which she starred as the main character, Liz Lemon. She received eight Emmy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, a five Screen Actors Guild Awards, four Writers Guild of America Awards, and wrote a hysterical autobiography called Bossypants that landed her on top of The New York Times Best Seller list for five weeks. She also won The Associated Press' Entertainer of the Year Award for her SNL impressions of Sarah Palin in 2008 and received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 2010. And she has two kids. How can one human being do so much? And that's not even everything. Seriously--wow.
As an adult, I still love Tina Fey. Her book, Bossypants, has been almost a manual for how I run my small business. I like to approach my work with adaptability, a sense of humor, and ambition. I applied the following gems from Fey to my design business:
“You can’t be that kid standing at the top of the waterslide, overthinking it. You have to go down the chute.”
“MAKE STATEMENTS also applies to us women: Speak in statements instead of apologetic questions. No one wants to go to a doctor who says, “I’m going to be your surgeon? I’m here to talk to you about your procedure? I was first in my class at Johns Hopkins, so?” Make statements, with your actions and your voice.”
“Whatever the problem, be part of the solution. Don’t just sit around raising questions and pointing out obstacles.”
Fey also has good perspective on love:
"I met my husband, Jeff, when we were both in Chicago, and I had short hair with a perm on top, and I would wear oversize denim shorts overalls. And that is how I know our love is real.”
—From her speech for the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor
Interacting with other women:
“Obviously, as an adult I realize this girl-on-girl sabotage is the third worst kind of female behavior, right behind saying "like" all the time and leaving your baby in a dumpster.”
― Tina Fey, Bossypants
And, of course, fashion:
“It can’t be said enough. Don’t concern yourself with fashion; stick to simple pieces that flatter your body type. By nineteen, I had found my look. Oversize T-shirts, bike shorts, and wrestling shoes. To prevent the silhouette from being too baggy, I would cinch it at the waist with my fanny pack. I was pretty sure I would wear this look forever. The shirts allowed me to express myself with cool sayings like “There’s No Crying in Baseball” and “Universität Heidelberg,” the bike shorts showed off my muscular legs, and the fanny pack held all my trolley tokens. I was nailing it on a daily basis. Find something like this for yourself as soon as possible.”
Fey does not take herself too seriously, and I like that about her. She is an intelligent, level-headed woman with a sense of humor, and I can only aspire to have the kind of patience she must possess to work in the same room as Tracy Morgan and Alec Baldwin. Fey is a strong lady-- she is a feminist without really trying. Oh, and luckily for women everywhere, Tina Fey wrote the Mom Jeans commercial:
For that sketch alone, Tina Fey will always be my hero. All that woman power, role-model stuff is just bonus.
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