Tina Fey

Presented by Kathy McKelvie
To the Calgary Women’s Literary Club
March 12, 2019

Although Tina Fey has written only one book to this point, she is a person whom I consider to be a prolific writer and I hope that this presentation gives you greater insight into her career as a writer and not just an author.

Tina Fey is an American writer, author, playwright, comedian, actress and producer. She has garnered:

  • seven Emmy Awards,
  • three Golden Globe Awards,
  • four Screen Actors Guild Awards
  • four Writers Guild of America Awards (1st for SNL 25th Anniversary Special)
  • and the Mark Twain Award for American Humor

**She was singled out as the performer who had the greatest impact on culture and entertainment in 2008 by the Associated Press, who awarded her their

  • AP Entertainer of the Year award.
  • 2018 Drama Desk Award/Outer Critics Circle Award; Outstanding Book or A Musical (Broadway or Off Broadway) for her work on Mean Girls which is a musical adapted from her movie by the same name.

Her writing credits include (over 19 categories) almost 200 Episodes and Specials of Saturday Night Live, 137 Episodes of 30 Rock her TV series, 9 Episodes of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (TV series she created), the 70th, 71st,  72nd and 75th Golden Globe Awards shows from 2013, 2014, 2015 & 2018, and various other web and TV series, as well as the screenplay for the 2004 movie Mean Girls and the subsequent Broadway musical of the same name and of COURSE, her one book… Bossypants, in 2011, which spent 5 weeks on the New York Times’ Best Sellers List.

Bossypants was nominated for a GRAMMY Award for Best Spoken Word Album (which includes Audio Books, Poetry Reading, and Storytelling), but the 2011 GRAMMY went to Betty White for If You Ask Me (And Of Course You Won’t)

Elizabeth Stamatina (Tina) Fey was born on May 18, 1970 in Delaware County, Pennsylvania.

She was born to Donald Henry Fey (d. 1982) and Zenobia “Jeanne” née Xenakes, and has an older brother (by 8 yrs.), Peter. Her dad, Don, was a Korean war vet, a fireman and a university administrator. Her mom is 89 and until her retirement, worked at a brokerage firm.

I presented excerpts of her book Bossypants, and talked about the movie Mean Girls – I didn’t like the movie so I didn’t spend much time talking about it. I don’t think it’s her best work!

Part of my presentation centered on her TV series: 30 Rock. I explained the characters and their interactions and showed 2 clips and a still of a situation “Liz” (30 Rock’s main character, played by Fey) getting advice from Oprah, where it is eventually revealed to the audience that “Liz”’ had hallucinated that she met Oprah and it was actually a 13 year old African American girl she has asked to come and settle a dispute between the fictional show’s 2 lead characters.*

I closed with an audio recording set to stills of an SNL skit from 2008 where Sarah Palin (played by Fey) and Hillary Clinton (played by Amy Poehler) are at a press conference about sexism in the presidential election campaign.

Both sides reacted to this skit, but Tina is adamant in her book that she cannot be blamed for exploitation of any candidate or influencing the results of the election, since the skit was streaming on YouTube where it has been viewed over 58 million times. (that’s not 100% true however, because I was unable to locate it on YouTube as it is property of NBC and MSNC, so is not open to the public as any other video is.)

There were technical difficulties about ½ way through my presentation. A representative of the library came to my rescue (and was thus crawling around on the floor under the table), while I read part of a chapter from Bossypants, about Tina’s 2001 honeymoon, which I fortunately had prepared for just such an eventuality! As I read, the club members were laughing out loud, and I was later told that it was a good thing I was reading something funny, because the most hilarity was derived from the subsequent contortions of the staffer crawling around behind me! Because the reading was supposed to be funny, it was appropriate that there was uproarious laughter, so the staffer didn’t even know that perhaps all the laughs were not for Tina! I missed it all, as I had my back to the ‘action’, but felt grateful that everyone involved felt happy with how everything turned out!