From making history as one of the first women ever to write for The Simpsons to creating hit teen sitcom Sabrina the Teenage Witch, prolific comedy writer Nell Scovell shares how she’s managed to survive the Boys Club atmosphere of the television industry. Peppered with eye-opening anecdotal and empirical evidence of rampant structural sexism, Scovell’s hilarious, honest, and at times heartbreaking memoir allows us to find cathartic comfort in laughing at such a frustrating subject — a must-read for anyone who enjoyed Bossypants by Tina Fey. Recommended By Mia V., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
You’ve almost certainly laughed at Scovell’s jokes — you just didn’t know it until now.
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."
"Scovell minces few words when skewering the toxic atmosphere for female talent in Hollywood….Her fearlessness was clearly evidenced when the David Letterman sex scandal broke and the author made a controversial and risky career move by speaking out about a marked lack of gender diversity in the late-night TV arena….A breezy, affably written amalgam of memoir, advice, and workplace survival guide from the front lines of the entertainment industry." Kirkus Reviews
"In Just the Funny Parts, Nell Scovell offers readers an unvarnished look into a writer’s life. Through her unique lens, she bravely confronts some uncomfortable truths, and yet keeps you laughing the whole way through." George Lucas, yeah that George Lucas
"Nell is an incredible writer, and this book is just as amazing as I would expect. I particularly liked page 213." Samantha Bee, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
"First things first. Just the Funny Parts is, like Nell Scovell herself, funny as hell. Laugh-out-loud chuckles, eye rolls, embarrassed (for Nell) giggles — it’s all there. But there’s a lot more, too. This is a smart, wise book about growing up, growing old(er), and most of all, what it means to be a woman in a man’s world. That’s no joke. (But it is, as I mentioned, funny.)" Jeffrey Toobin, author of American Heiress
"Nell Scovell has finally written the book that everyone in the comedy world has been waiting for! Besides being one of the funniest people I know, she has not just survived, but she has thrived. How the hell did she do it?? Crack it open and find out!" Bette Midler
"This clear-eyed account of 30 years in a profoundly flawed industry is the funniest, most unflinching book I’ve read in a long time. I laughed out loud so many times. If you’ve ever watched TV, you should read this book. And if you’ve ever read a book, you should read this one, too." John Oliver
About the Author
Nell Scovell is a television writer, producer, and director, She collaborated with Sheryl Sandberg on the #1 New York Times bestseller Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. She is the creator of the television series Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and her TV writing credits include The Simpsons, Coach, Monk, Murphy Brown, Charmed, and NCIS. She has directed two movies for cable television and an episode of Awkward. She has contributed to SPY magazine, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and The New York Times. She and her husband Colin Summers have two college-age sons. Despite Blue Oyster Cult’s well-reasoned arguments, she still fears the reaper.