Just the Funny Parts

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A book review of Just the Funny Parts…and a Few Hard Truths About Sneaking Into the Hollywood Boys’ Club by Nell Scovell

A book review of Just the Funny Parts...and a Few Hard Truths About Sneaking Into the Hollywood Boys' Club by Nell Scovell

Stars: ***

Dey Street Books (2018)
336 pages

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Summary: Just the Funny Parts is a juicy and scathingly funny insider look at how pop culture gets made. For more than thirty years, writer, producer and director Nell Scovell worked behind the scenes of iconic TV shows, including The Simpsons, Late Night with David Letterman, Murphy Brown, NCIS, The Muppets, and Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, which she created and executive produced.  

In 2009, Scovell gave up her behind-the-scenes status when the David Letterman sex scandal broke. Only the second woman ever to write for his show, Scovell used the moment to publicly call out the lack of gender diversity in late-night TV writers’ rooms. “One of the boys” came out hard for “all of the girls.” Her criticisms fueled a cultural debate. Two years later, Scovell was collaborating with Sheryl Sandberg on speeches and later on Lean In, which resulted in a worldwide movement.

Now Scovell is opening up with this fun, honest, and often shocking account. Scovell knows what it’s like to put words in the mouths of President Barack Obama, Mark Harmon, Candice Bergen, Bob Newhart, Conan O’Brien, Alyssa Milano, and Kermit the Frog, among many others. Through her eyes, you’ll sit in the Simpson writers’ room… stand on the Oscar red carpet… pin a tail on Miss Piggy…bond with Star Trek’s Leonard Nimoy… and experience a Stephen King-like encounter with Stephen King.

Just the Funny Parts is a fast-paced account of a nerdy girl from New England who fought her way to the top of the highly-competitive, male-dominated entertainment field. The book delivers invaluable insights into the creative process and tricks for navigating a difficult workplace. It’s part memoir, part how-to, and part survival story. Or, as Scovell puts it, “It’s like Unbroken, but funnier and with slightly less torture.”

Just the Funny Parts

I bought this book because I thought it would be cool to read a memoir from a tv/movie writer. Unfortunately it wasn’t as funny as I’d hoped. In fact I didn’t laugh once. I try not to be negative but I can’t pretend it was hilarious because it wasn’t. That said, just because I didn’t find it funny doesn’t mean someone else wouldn’t. Everyone has a different sense of humour.

The book covers how hard it is to be a woman in the TV writing industry. I can’t even imagine how hard it must be, especially years ago. I hope it’s at least gotten better. It was interesting read how she wrote for such a wide range of characters and people such as Barack Obama and Kermit the Frog. I mean who else can say that but a comedy writer?

I enjoyed the parts where she was talking about episodes of shows or movies that I’ve actually seen. It’s definitely more interesting when you recognize what she is talking about.

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About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.