Tina Fey has established herself as one of the most prominent comedians of her generation with iconic projects like 30 Rock under her belt. In recent years, Fey has gained recognition for creating the popular series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt while also working on other productions such as Mr. Mayor which starred Ted Danson.
Over the course of her career, Fey wrote multiple acclaimed screenplays including the one for Mean Girls which has been immortalised in popular culture. She has always drawn inspiration from a wide variety of authors and for Mean Girls, Fey chose to delve deep into the accounts described in Rosalind Wiseman’s book Queen Bees and Wannabes.
Alongside her screenplays, Fey has also attracted a lot of attention for her other literary projects such as her 2011 memoir Bossypants which became an instant fan-favourite. Reaching the zenith of The New York Times Best Seller list and staying there for multiple weeks, the book received glowing reviews from critics and readers.
Fey has had multiple favourite books, starting from her childhood when she considered Milton the Early Riser to be the one that she loved the most. Later on, she fell in love with Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans which has remained embedded in her mind even after all these years and she claims she can still recite it from memory.
In addition to these, the book that she has recommended people to read is Leni Riefenstahl’s Memoiren which she named her “favourite (cautionary) book”. It is the autobiography of famous Nazi propaganda filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl whose cinematic projects are known for their technical brilliance even though the subject matter is extremely controversial.
Talking about Riefenstahl’s achievements and her genius as a filmmaker, Fey said: “She grew up in Germany. She was in many ways a brilliant pioneer. She pioneered sports photography as we know it. She’s the one who had the idea to dig a trench next to the track for the Olympics and put a camera on a dolly.”
Fey considers Riefenstahl’s autobiography to be a cautionary tale for all artists living under fascist regimes. The comedian claimed that this book teaches us to value the importance of independent thought and artistic integrity instead of succumbing to the pressures of the political power structures all around us.
Fey added: “She also rolled with the punches and said, ‘Well, he’s the Fuhrer. He’s my president. I’ll make films for him.’ She did some terrible, terrible things. And I remember reading [her book] 20 years ago, thinking, ‘This is a real lesson, to be an artist who doesn’t roll with what your leader is doing just because he’s your leader.”