Starting about three years or so ago, and with slowly rising frequency, I have been getting what I thought was a very nice compliment.
“You remind me so much of Tina Fey!”
My friends said it, my family said it, people I joked with at parties said it. It was nice. I mean, I sort of do pride myself on my lovable awkwardness, my well-intentioned schemes that never seem to go right, the Star Wars reference uttered at the least appropriate time. Tina Fey chic. The Naughty Secretary glasses helped. But, yes, it was nice. I’d cock my head sideways and crack a sassy joke at dinner with my parents, and my mom would should out, “You are SO Tina Fey!” Which is quite a compliment, as hers is the only hard-core liberal name my mom will utter without subsequently making gagging noises.
Recently, though, I’ve been noticing a disturbing trend. My brother’s girlfriend, funny though she may be, mentioned that people constantly compared HER to Tina Fey. I saw a facebook wall post of a friend of mine, where several people referred to HER as Tina Fey. Now, this girl is very funny, but it is not in a Tina Fey way. Actually, if you want to get technical, my brother’s girlfriend reminds me more of the women from “Absolutely Fabulous”. And my facebook friend is closer to a Maria Bamford or a cleaner Sarah Silverman.
These four women are no less funny but very different comedically from Tina Fey. So what really grinds my gears is that Tina Fey is, like, THE funny woman in America’s eyes. It actually reminds me of when I started comedy in 2003, and everyone compared me to Ellen. I didn’t understand it at all. She was clean and hilarious. I was telling dick jokes at open mic nights in Pittsburgh. She dressed in snazzy business casual on stage. I dressed like I held a stock in silly t-shirts and ill-fitting jeans. Oh, you mean we both have female reproDUCtion systems. Why didn’t you say so?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad we’re finally getting recognition as a sex that is capable of telling a joke, but…like…you wouldn’t go up to a random black person and go, “You know who you remind me of? Obama!” Actually, in Japan they would probably do just that, but not here! I don’t know. It’s weird.
Whatever. I’ll keep taking it as a compliment, even if every girl who’s ever told a joke is a Tina Fey. It could be worse. They could call me Kathy Griffin.