“The first thing I am going to do is something that Dave Barry, the great comedy writer, said never to do unless you have medical records from a doctor and a medical report from the hospital, and that is ask a woman if she is pregnant,” Steve Martin quipped to a visibly pregnant Tina Fey.
Five thousand attendees filled the Nokia Theatre, some of whom traveled from as far as New Jersey, Texas, Canada and Denmark to attend the conversation between the two comedians last night.
Martin’s bluegrass album “Rare Bird Alert” was played before the comedy duo took the stage to discuss Fey’s memoir Bossypants, which includes humorous stories from Fey’s life and career.
After his pregnancy opening, Martin asked, “And do the breasts go down?”
“I hope not.” Fey said.
“Well, either do we. That’s all the questions I have prepared.”
Martin and Fey were a fitting pair, as they’re a Jack and Jill of all trades who both excel on multiple levels of the entertainment industry and share a laundry list of accomplishments as an actors, comedians, writers, producers and authors. Martin was the perfect companion to Fey, inserting humor whenever possible, but never overshadowing the comedienne.
“I was told by doctors that this is ‘hysterical pregnancy’ from my desperate need to sell books,” Fey joked.
“Bossypants” is steeped in Fey’s signature self-deprecating humor. The front cover shows a portrait of a Photoshopped Fey with hairy man arms, and the back cover is plastered with unflattering quotations from the media and an ex-boyfriend.
“I just wanted to make sure this looked different than a magazine article where it’s a magazine presenting you,” Fey said. “I don’t know what this says about me where that is how I prefer to present myself but…I wanted to make sure there was some kind of joke to the picture.
“It’s a confusing line that woman have to walk because you want to look good enough that they let you to stay in show business, but you don’t want to become carried away. I don’t really care, truly that much, about being ‘fancy.’”
Martin got a kick out of Fey’s “Dear Internet” chapter and read a few excerpts aloud. In one of them, Fey corresponds with internet haters who post comments like “Tina Fey is an ugly, pear-shaped, bitchy, over-rated troll.” Fey’s witty and vindictive comebacks garnered applause and laughs.
For instance: “Tiny Fey completely ruined SNL,” someone named JerkStore posted online. “The only reason she is celebrated is because she is a woman and an outspoken liberal. She has not a single funny bone in her body.”
“When I first set out to ruin SNL, I didn’t think anyone would notice,” she replied, in the book. “Everything you ever hated on SNL was by me and everything you ever liked was by someone else who did it against my will. Sincerely, Tina Fey. P.S. You know who does have a funny bone in her body? Your mom, every night for a dollar.” The crowd roared.
Fey always knew she wanted to be on stage and was inspired by shows like The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, The Carol Burnett Show and, of course, Saturday Night Live.
In only three years, Fey climbed from writer to head writer at Saturday Night Live. But these days, Fey’s most-recognized contribution to the show is her Sarah Palin impression, which at one point led to NBC.com’s most-watched viral video ever and received over 58 million hits online.
Martin mentioned how Palin said Fey and Katie Couric had exploited and profited from the Palin family.
“I’m pretty sure I only got $400 every time I did that Palin sketch,” Fey responded.
“And of course Sarah Palin had a reality show, [in which] she profited from her own family,” Martin said.
After the discussion, members of the audience were invited to ask a few questions during a Q&A segment and Fey signed copies of Bossypants.