Sunday 8 August 2021

Book ~ "Just the Funny Parts" (2018) Nell Scovell

From Goodreads ~ "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. 

Nell Scovell is an American television and magazine writer, and producer.  I had never heard of her ... I came across her book on the Toronto Public Library site as a "Staff Pick".  I like getting the behind the scenes scoop on how things work and it sounded interesting.

Scovell started off as a magazine writer and then moved on to write for television. In 2009, after David Letterman admitted to having sexual relationships with his female staffers, she published an essay in Vanity Fair calling his show a "hostile work environment" for women.  She has gone on to write a book with Sheryl Sandberg, political speeches and more and fights for gender and racial equality in the workplace.

I thought this book was okay.  It was interesting to read about her interactions and friendships with famous people.  The writing could have been tighter, though ... or maybe it was just about some things I wasn't interested in.  As a head's up, there is swearing and adult activity.

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