Tina Fey: "Quality" Comedy and the Body of the Female Comedy Author

Date

2017-12

Advisors

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

ISSN

DOI

Volume Title

Publisher

University of Texas Press

Type

Book chapter

Peer reviewed

Yes

Abstract

This book chapter examines the television authorship of comedy producer-performer Tina Fey. It takes Fey’s comedy as case study for the examination of the ways in which American “quality” TV comedy of the early 21 st century accommodates thematisations of gender politics and popular feminist discourses. Fey’s work is particularly relevant for this investigation, since her celebrity and comedy mobilise popular discourses around female authorship, liberal feminism, performance, and body politics in the context of American prestige comedy. In the chapter I unpack media controversies around her star text and comedy – particularly as presented in her series "30 Rock" (2006-2013) – which originated in her mobilisation of a “feminist” comic persona and in this persona’s reflection on the gendered dualism of comedy performance and authorship. As I argue, a discursive dichotomy of “writer” versus “performer” of female-centred comedy, much influenced by the postfeminist cultural paradigm, shapes and dominates Fey’s public image, helping to negotiate her presence in the higher echelons of American comedy.

Description

Keywords

Women comedians, Tina Fey, American comedy, Gender, Feminism, Postfeminism, Authorship, Body politics

Citation

Havas, J. (2017) Tina Fey: "Quality" Comedy and the Body of the Female Comedy Author. In: Mizejewski, L. and Sturtevant, V. (eds.) Hysterical! Women in American Comedy. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, pp 347-378

Rights

Research Institute

Media and Communication Research Centre (MCRC)