When you think Greek literature, what do you think? Homer’s The Odyssey? Plato’s Republic?
I often worry that the world at large does not recognize contemporary Hellenic literature. This month, though, we see two books by famous Greek-American comedians turned Greek-American authors.
Bossypants by Tina Fey
A few years ago, when Christopher Hitchens said that women aren’t funny, he said it with the caveat, “there are some impressive ladies out there. Most of them, though, when you come to review the situation, are hefty or dykey or Jewish, or some combo of the three.” That was in 2007. By then, Tina Fey had already showed the world her comedic chops by following up her “Weekend Update” skit on Saturday Night Live with another hit: 30 Rock. Last year she became the youngest person ever to win the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.
In a recent interview, Fey actually said that it was only after she lost weight that she was able to move from comedy writer to comedy actress.
Tina Fey is a Greek-American by birth. Her given name is Elizabeth Stamatina Fey. Her 2001 wedding to Jeff Richmond was held in a Greek Orthodox Church.
She—and a lot of other women—proved Hitchens wrong on all three counts. And now she has a memoir coming out that lets you step into the life of this very funny Greek-American woman.
This Is a Book by Demetri Martin
Books by comedians usually go one of two ways: either really funny or really sad. Demetri Martin goes funny in his first book, a collection of short stories. Martin, known for his work on “The Daily Show” and Comedy Central’s “Important Things with Demetri Martin,” was born in New York City and grew up in Toms River, New Jersey. His dad, Dean C. Martin, is a Greek Orthodox priest. Martin’s Greek heritage plays into his comedy and writing.
Kirkus Review notes that in “Socrates’s Publicist,” one of the short stories in Martin’s upcoming book, “imagines the deadly consequences of the Greek philosopher acquiring a chirpy PR rep eager to brand him and bring his “question thing” to a wider audience.”
Look for it: April 11