I welcomed 2012 with (drumroll): the stomach flu! Thanks to that and a lot of time needed for email catch-up, I was forced to put blogging on the back burner for a little bit.
But now that I’ve recovered and caught up from my week of downing ginger ale and soda crackers in bed, I’ve returned to the blog!
Last year felt like the year of the celebrity funny woman book. Jane Lynch, Betty White, and Ellen DeGeneres all came out with new books last year. Tina Fey’s Bossypants was a bestseller, and I listened to it twice on audiobook (since Fey narrates, it feels like having a private conversation with her for five hours, complete with appropriate voices and accents when needed). I finally purchased the hard copy of the book with an Amazon gift card so that I could re-read particular stories whenever I want and get access to all of the pictures.
A few months later I decided to read Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) after picking it up in Target and laughing at the first few pages. I admit that I am not an avid viewer of The Office, so Kaling wasn’t entirely on my radar. But after devouring her book in two days (it could have easily been one but I wanted to spread the joy), I felt I owed it to her to at least give a couple of episodes a try.
I highly recommend these books for those who want a light, easy, yet funny read, and if you’re a fan of either of them it’s clearly a no-brainer to read these books.
After I wrapped up reading Kaling’s book I pondered who I’d like to see on the shelves this year. Here’s my list of top choices:
- Melissa McCarthy: I’ve been a huge fan of Melissa McCarthy since her days as Sookie on Gilmore Girls. She was one of my favorite characters on the show and I was excited to see her get roles in Samantha Who? and Mike & Molly following GG‘s end. But never have I loved her more than when she played lovable weirdo Megan in Bridesmaids. I truly think this role helped play a role in her Best Actress in a Comedy Emmy for Mike & Molly and of course her FANTASTIC turn as one of this season’s best hosts of SNL (click the link to see the skit listing page on Hulu; my top picks are Lulu Diamonds, Taste Test, and Arlene). But the thing I love most about her is that she’s a pretty down to earth Midwestern-raised woman from Illinois with a husband (Mr. Air Marshall in Bridesmaids), a couple of kids, who just happens to be pretty darn funny. I would love to see her write a book to learn a little more about her life and how she got to be who she is & where she is today.
- Mya Rudolph & Kristen Wiig (or pretty much any of the other ladies of Bridesmaids): I had a pretty big soft spot for Bridesmaids last year. I saw it in the theater three times: once with a friend, once with my mom for her Mother’s Day gift (she laughed so hard I thought she was literally going to stop breathing and die), and then again with my sister. Rudolph and Wiig have always been two of my favorite SNL cast members and I loved getting to see them interact in a film. I look forward to seeing where Wiig’s career goes post-Bridesmaids and post-SNL, though I will be pretty sad to see her leave the weekly show. Rudolph is enjoying a run on NBC’s Up All Night, but I would love to see her continue to reunite on the big screen with other former SNL castmates. And of course I think they would make great candidates in the funny-women-of-film-and-TV-turned-writer club. But seriously, the rest of the cast was so strong, if any of them wrote a book, I’d probably read it.
- Jimmy Fallon: One of my other great soft spots is for Jimmy Fallon. He’s adorable (though married, sigh) and very much the most talented late night host on TV (Conan fans, I’m prepared to battle!). The others can tell jokes, but Fallon makes his show a party, complete with charades and other random audience games paired with incredibly funny skits and music parodies. I’ve never seen anyone who could do impressions of singers so well. In addition, the show’s Real Housewives of Late Night rank as some of my favorite comedy sketches ever. And through it all, he maintains this really great boy-next-door type of personality. I love that when he has a guest that he truly respects, he seems like a high school kid who is about to meet his idol. You end up cheering for him. Fallon is so talented I’d love to see what his turn with a pen (or behind a laptop) would be like.
- Jason Segel: Okay, okay, I have a soft spot for Jason Segel, too. From the strange and quirky stoner kid on Freaks and Geeks to Marshall on HIMYM, to a bare all (literally) man in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, he’s had lots of great and memorable roles. I always fall a little bit more in love with him when he’s on a talk show, so I’d love to know a little more about the guy who is one of my favorite characters on one of my favorite TV shows.
- Neil Patrick Harris: Speaking of one of my favorite TV shows, Jason Segel’s HIMYM co-star makes my list, too. My family watched NPH back when he suited up as a teen doctor on Doogie Howser, and now he entertains as the womanizer yet likable Barney Stinson. But NPH has lived kind of an intriguing life: child actor turned Broadway star turned television actor with a cute husband and adopted twins. That’s enough to be quite an interesting saga right there.
- Amy Poehler: Yep, I’m adding another SNL-er to the list. I’m completely obsessed with Parks and Recreation right now, a show I just watched in its entirety a few months ago. If you don’t watch the show, please do. It has so many strange and quirky and completely funny, lovable characters. And it is supposed to take place in my home state, so it automatically gets bonus points. I’ve also always enjoyed her on SNL. But when both Fey and Kaling talk about Poehler in their books (Fey & Poehler are good friends who met at Second City before working at SNL together; Kaling met Poehler when she spent two weeks as a guest writer at SNL), I instantly wanted to know more about her. She’s tough, warm, and talented all at the same time.
- Jane Curtin: Jane Curtin is SNL royalty, one of the original members of the Not Ready for Primetime Players. She’s Mrs. Conehead and a founding mother of Weekend Update. And I can only imagine the stories she tells. I was really intrigued when last year Curtin opened up about John Belushi on Oprah: “Jane says one cast member, John Belushi, was especially tough on women writers. “They were working against John, who said women are just fundamentally not funny. You’d go to a table read and if a woman writer had written a piece for John, he would not read it in his full voice. He would whisper it,” she says. “He felt as though it was his duty to sabotage pieces that were written by women.” You can read more here. Curtin’s book might not be as fun and lively as the others’, but I am interested to hear more about the sometimes turbulent behind-the-scenes happenings of the early SNL years.