The one thing that kind of bugged me about Tina Fey’s Bossypants was that she used the word “grim” a lot. Situations were grim. Lighting was grim. People were grim. She loves the word.
But maybe she finds that “g-r” construction evocative, because in this clip from last night’s Inaugural Gala for the Center for Reproductive Rights in New York, she makes the best use of “grey-faced” I’ve ever heard. I didn’t know how much I appreciated the term until now:
F-cking YES. She is so goddamn smart. And is lending her smarts not to some vague, bland “Campaign For A Better Tomorrow” or “The More You Know” but is instead doing what only Tina Fey can do, using a fun, totally accessible joke about gymnasts or Mad Men to soften her straight-up rage at the way white male politicians are talking about rape – something none of them will ever personally, individually, have to worry about.
Do you know what a skill this is? To be able to take what is undoubtedly a fervent belief that the people she is talking about are misogynistic idiots, and then to harness that anger and massage it until you’re not just making jokes with it but also convincing people to come together to do something about it?
American politics can often be like so much theatre for the rest of us who aren’t directly affected. It’s ironic that a comedic actress getting serious is part of what makes it seem more real. Like, if she’s paying attention to how bad it’s getting down there, we’re not imagining the political climate to be worse than it is just for our own entertainment.
There were others there, of course – Stanley Tucci and Janeane Garofalo, among others -- but this Tina Fey clip is the one people will comment on and forward and dare to send to their mothers, because of that unique skill. Angry as hell, yet still able to make the original speakers sound like junior-high school idiots. That detachment is something Oprah, for all her skill, never achieved.
I can already hear some of you gearing up the keyboards to call me a fangirl, but you know what? I will save my shame for some other time, when the object of my admiration isn’t spending her time saying something really important at an event that could use the attention.