Last week, I shared this Tina Fey sketch on Facebook and thought it was somewhat cathartic to see Fey eat a sheet cake (because that does seem relatable) but there has been some serious backlash against this sketch that is worth reading and acknowledging our part in it as well. While some are claiming the brilliant satire of Fey to be overlooked, I believe with that platform she had that night, she could have done so much more with it, especially knowing that a lot of people were looking for something we're clearly not getting from 45.
She's a smart lady and uses humor well most of the time. I've been a fan of hers for years. Hell, my branding is to say I'm a lovechild of Tina Fey and Audrey Hepburn. But, while I have admired the witty New York writer, I am becoming more aware that she does not have the best reputation in the feminist world. She sides more with white feminism than intersectional feminism, and a lot of her humor is pretty damn racist. I noticed more of it in Kimmy Schmidt, but it's definitely seen throughout 30 Rock as well. And yes, she's a comedian. A lot of people felt the need to remind us of that after the backlash began with the sheet caking. Comedian or not though, a lot of POC took great offense to the sketch, and that should be enough for us to look at it (and ourselves) with greater perspective. While I don't think it's fair to hold Fey to that level of presiding over us, we the people were expecting/needing more in that moment. No, she's not a leader, but she's the face we saw and looked to for hope.
I do wish she had ended the bit with a more of a unifying tone instead of telling us to stay at home (because a lot of people thought she was seriously suggesting that). When I initially watched it, I thought there was something to it, the idea behind not giving power to the white men whining about their rights. It seemed to say "take care of yourself, you're not alone, don't just sit around and do nothing though," which who's to say if that's what she was going for or not. Either way, the audience for that message was people like me. White ladies overwhelmed by guilt and the sad state of the world. It reminded me of the following Bo Burnham lyric from his song "Sad":
"That's it, laughter, it's the key to everything
It's the way to solve all the sadness in the world
I mean, not for the people that are actually sad, but for the people like us who've gotta fucking deal with 'em all the time
Being a comedian isn't being an insensitive prick capitalizing on the most animalistic impulses of the public, it's being a hero!
The world isn't sad. The world's funny! I get it now! I'm a sociopath!"
And the other day at a Town Hall meeting with my Congressman, was I tempted to get up and ask him: "So, what do you think of Tina Fey's cake sketch?" Yes. Without a doubt. I wanted to get up, ask my silly question, and tell everyone there I brought enough sheet cake for us all to share (which obviously I didn't). I wanted to do that because the room was so full of hate, anger, and shouting, my friend and I were holding hands throughout a lot of it because of how intense it was. So, I created a humorous situation in my head to ease the pain. Because humor is a wonderful thing to turn to during moments of struggle, but sometimes it's truly not enough.