Anthony Lane thinks Tina Fey is fat, but not fat enough to be funny

“Kate stalks around bare-legged in skirts that lurch to a halt two inches above the knee, which is a length that Christy Turlington would struggle to carry off.  It’s possible that Fey, like other television stars, is unused to being framed in full length, and, though in complete command of her delivery—dry, spiky, but unthreatening—she hasn’t yet made up her mind how funny her body is meant to be. She isn’t big enough to make a joke of her ripeness, like Bette Midler, but she’s no Lily Tomlin, either. She could do worse than steal a trick from Lucille Ball—a lovely, elegant figure who taught herself to be graceless.”

Allow me my little moment of being humorlessly indignant here but … we agree that no one would ever take a dude comedian to task for not having decided how funny his body is meant to be, right?  I get what Lane is trying to say, but the way this is worded is just so … weird.  Of course physicality is a big part of funniness, but can’t someone just look like, well, a completely normal-sized lady and still get laughs, or do funny women all have to either be either comically voluptuous or hilariously awkward skinny minnies? Blarg.

7 comments to Anthony Lane thinks Tina Fey is fat, but not fat enough to be funny

  • Matt

    The worst part is he’s saying she’s fat compared to a woman who spends most of the movie in a pregnancy suit. Burn!

  • But luckily Tina Fey gives us context in the first two episodes of 30 Rock this season!

    “She needs to lose thirty pounds or gain sixty…anything in between has no place in television.”

    Not only has she specifically considered this admitted double standard, but devoted two prime-time scripts to it. Which makes the question less, “Should we judge Tina Fey’s lack of physical comedy prowess?” and more “Does Tina Fey *want* us to judge her physical comedic prowess?”

    I think the second question is a lot more interesting. If No, then any lack of this physical dimension is Tina Fey deliberately not caring, and good for her though I think it’s legitimate to question whether this conscious choice detracts from the film. (Why anyone would want to get that far into analysis of the film though, dunno.) If she’s trying to make physical humor a part of her act, it’s fair game too.

    Either way, it seems like this is a unique situation: We’re not talking about something that might not have crossed her mind; we’re talking about something a really smart satirist has analyzed specifically and in detail. This is a bargain she made when she went from writer to cast member on SNL…she’s doomed to be analyzed as actor, writer, blocker, critic, metacritic all at once. That’s her game; if she fails on any axis the whole thing falls apart.

  • Sean Carman

    I think it’s more that, as an actor, her body is her instrument, so it’s fair to ask whether she’s making the best use of it. He’s careful, I think, not to indicate that any particular type of body is necessarily more funny or more acceptable than any other.

  • I always thought it was “bleurgh”

    and yes, I agree with this post

    time to weigh in on topless Miley!

  • emily

    I guess it’s “Blerg”

  • Tina Fey fat? She’s not close to chubby. She doles out chubbies.

    Lane was referring to the scene where Fey’s character goes clubbing, and the sight of her in the too-small dress is supposed to be funny. He completely misread it, though. The point isn’t “Haha isn’t it funny how I’m fat but dressed like a Grand Theft Auto hooker” but “Haha isn’t it funny how I’m an uptight business nerd dressed like a Grand Theft Auto hooker.”

  • Jennifer

    I think being number one at the box office is lovely enough.

    Hurray! Ladies being pregnant beat out dudes being stoned!

Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>