43 Great Tina Fey Quotes for Her 43rd Birthday


One of Flavorwire’s favorite people, Tina Fey, turns 43 years old tomorrow, so we’re marking the occasion in the best way we know how — by rounding up some of the funniest witticisms and best advice from the brilliant and funny writer/comedienne. We’ve got one for every year, so click through for her thoughts on working motherhood, celebrity, homophobia, strip clubs, and Mark Wahlberg’s nipples.

On the “women aren’t funny” debate

“It is an impressively arrogant move to conclude that just because you don’t like something, it is empirically not good. I don’t like Chinese food, but I don’t write articles trying to prove it doesn’t exist.” (Bossypants, 2011)

“It’s one that now I feel free to opt out of because it’s just so boring. The fact that it’s still even talked about is just so, so boring and dumb.” ( Entertainment Weekly , 2012)

On euphemisms for sex organs

I do love cooter. I suppose I like cooter because it’s one of the least graphic ways to describe a lady’s genitals. Not that I don’t have an appreciation for other euphemisms. There’s an SNL writer named Matt Piedmont who used to write these unairable but hilarious sketches, and one of them had over fifty euphemisms for the female genitals. I don’t remember most of them, except for ‘meat drapes.’ That really stuck out for me. Meat drapes. It leaves you with such a vivid and disturbing image.” ( The Believer , 2003)

On Playboy Playmates

I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but every one of them — every single one — has those pencil-eraser nipples and an orangey-tanny body. I just don’t understand where the appeal is. If you’re going to be a whore, at least be original about it.” ( The Believer , 2003)

On blondes

“Let’s admit it, yellow hair does have magic powers. You could put a blond wig on a hot-water heater and some dude would try to fuck it.” (Bossypants, 2011)

On strip clubs

“I love to play strippers and to imitate them. I love using that idea for comedy, but the idea of actually going there? I feel like we all need to be better than that. That industry needs to die, by all of us being a little bit better than that.” ( Vanity Fair , 2009)

On wearing glasses

“Glasses would make anyone look smarter. You put glasses on Woody Harrelson in Indecent Proposal and he’s an architect. You put a pair of glasses on Denise Richards and she’s a paleontologist.” ( The Believer , 2003)

On “developing”

“I developed very early. I was probably in, you know, fifth grade, getting a bra. I say in the book that I developed breasts so early, and so strangely high, that it wasn’t — the bra was more to clarify what they were — that they were not a goiter, or something.” ( Fresh Air , 2012)

On her first catcall

“I was walking home alone from school and I was wearing a dress. A dude drove by and yelled, ‘Nice tits.’ Embarrassed and enraged, I screamed after him, ‘Suck my dick.’ Sure, it didn’t make any sense, but at least I didn’t hold in my anger.” (Bossypants, 2011)

On her sex symbol status

“When I was in my early twenties, being called sexy was not part of my experience in any way. There’s such a small window of time when people want to write any articles about you. If you’re a woman and they say anything complimentary about your appearance, well, I’m not going to complain. I fully intend to keep all of these magazines in the attic and bring them out for my daughter someday. ‘You see? There was a time when people thought your mother was a sexy bitch.’” ( The Believer , 2003)

On being named on of People’s 50 Most Beautiful People

“I’ve been reading the ‘50 Most Beautiful People’ issue for years, and there’s always one person on the list who makes you think, ‘Give me a fucking break.’ This year, I’m proud to be that person.” ( The Believer , 2003)

On Photoshop

“I feel about Photoshop the way some people feel about abortion. It is appalling and a tragic reflection on the moral decay of our society… unless I need it, in which case, everybody be cool.” (Bossypants, 2011)

On dressing for men/women

“I spend most of my time in my daily life trying to be like a fashion noncombatant. My hands are up! I’m not even trying! That said, to talk about the impact of fashion is really interesting. I think so much of it is tied into feminism. I am a post-baby boomer who has been handed a sort of Spice Girls’ version of feminism. We’re supposed to be wearing half-shirts and jumping around. And, you know, maybe that’s not panning out. But you can tell different generations of women by whether or not they wear that Hillary Clinton blue power suit or the reappropriated Playboy-symbol necklace worn ironically. I think women dress for other women to let them know what their deal is. Because if women were only dressing for men, there would be nothing but Victoria’s Secret. There would be no Dior.” ( Vogue , 2010)

On “crazy” women in show business

“I have a suspicion — and hear me out, ’cause this is a rough one — I have a suspicion that the definition of ‘crazy’ in show business is a woman who keeps talking even after no one wants to fuck her anymore. The only person I can think of that has escaped the ‘crazy’ moniker is Betty White, which, obviously, is because people still want to have sex with her.” (Bossypants, 2011)

Advice to women in the workplace

“When faced with sexism or ageism or lookism or even really aggressive Buddhism, ask yourself the following question: ‘Is this person in between me and what I want to do?’ If the answer is no, ignore it and move on. Your energy is better used doing your work and outpacing people that way. Then, when you’re in charge, don’t hire the people who were jerky to you.” (Bossypants, 2011)

On her dream job

“I see these stories like, so-and-so works three days a week on whatever — listen, if I could get a job where I go in three days a week and pitch stories on Smash, I am there. I will bring my own scarves. I have a lot of ideas.” ( Entertainment Weekly , 2012)

On the SNL offices

“It’s not at all surprising to hear screaming at three o’clock in the morning, or to walk out of your office and nearly get plowed over by a writer pushing [Chris] Kattan down the hall in a cardboard box. And there are always lots of people fake-raping each other. After another long night of trying to come up with sketch ideas, there’s nothing like a little fake-rape to relieve the tension.” ( The Believer , 2003)

On the “mom jeans” SNL commercial

“Oh, I saw ‘Mom Jeans’ recently; I passed it on VH1. The padding that I wore in ‘Mom Jeans’ has now come to life.” ( Entertainment Weekly , 2012)

On status

“I’m not really one for status symbols. I went to public school. I have all my original teeth and face parts. When left to my own devices, I dress like I’m here to service your aquarium.” (Bossypants, 2011)

“When I have a day when my hair is dirty and I’m tired, my friend Kay sings this little song she made up: ‘TV star, livin’ the life, just like Jennifer Aniston!’ My life is not at all like Jennifer’s. I never walk the dogs on the beach. I’m never in St. Bart’s. I’m never on a yacht.” ( Oprah , 2009)

On feeling like a star

“One day last week when I was writing, I was in my sweatpants, exhausted, and I realized I’d just eaten six Kit Kats in 10 minutes.” ( Oprah , 2009)

On homophobia

“Gay people don’t actually try to convert people. That’s Jehovah’s Witnesses you’re thinking of.” (Bossypants, 2011)

On acting vs. writing

“At SNL, when you come downstairs to leave after the show, there are people waiting for autographs. A lot of the young women I talked to there told me they wanted to be writers. I always tried to encourage them. I think the world has too many actresses.” ( Reader’s Digest , 2008)

On turning 40

“I need to take my pants off as soon as I get home. I didn’t used to have to do that. But now I do.” (Bossypants, 2011)

On Mark Wahlberg’s nipples

“It’s an honor to work with Mark Wahlberg’s nipples in Date Night. They’ve been in a lot of amazing movies and music videos. I’m actually impressed the director, Shawn Levy, got him back to Shirtless Town. Because obviously he’s done some serious movies since he was a Calvin Klein model. He doesn’t have to give us the nipples. I don’t know if it’s that his nipples wanted to work with Steve Carell, or maybe his nipples are fans of The Office. But they showed up. No, I couldn’t see the third nipple. And I was paid to stare at them for a day.” ( Esquire , 2010)

On being Greek

“I don’t have a WASP body. Preppy doesn’t work on me at all. There’s something about the Greek thing where there’s only, like, two speeds. If you put me in something conservative, it looks matronly. And if you cut it down to here [gestures to her navel] it looks slutty.” ( Vogue , 2010)

On animals

“I don’t hate animals and I would never hurt an animal; I just don’t actively care about them. When a coworker shows me cute pictures of her dog, I struggle to respond correctly, like an autistic person who has been taught to recognize human emotions from flash cards. In short, I am the worst.” (Bossypants, 2011)

On New York

“I think part of picking where you live in New York is accepting who you are. Really looking at yourself and going, ‘Yeah, I’m not cool enough for the West Village.’ ” ( Vogue , 2010)

On New York’s best doughnuts

“That’s Peter Pan doughnuts in Brooklyn. It’s a Polish bakery. We shot nearby once for 30 Rock. Its white-cream-filled powdered doughnut. And I really believe, when I first tried it, if I had a penis, I would put it in this doughnut. I finally understand what you guys are thinking about and what motivates you guys.” ( Esquire , 2010)

On Internet comment sections

“It’s the repository of all human garbage. It’s the worst place in the world.” ( Fresh Air , 2012)

On winning at the Emmys

“The first year, it made us feel like a real TV show. Before the Emmys, I had done a lot of downplaying: ‘It’s just a bunch of people who paid 200 bucks to start a club and give themselves prizes.’ But after we won, I was like, ‘It’s the greatest thing ever — extremely prestigious.’” ( Oprah , 2009)

On Twitter

“Twitter seems like a busman’s holiday: just more writing. I have no plans to do it. I’ll just stick with my 24/7 webcam. I’m old-fashioned that way.” ( Esquire , 2010)

On taking time off to spend time with family

“There should be a new, more honest euphemism. Like, I’m leaving office because I plan to solicit more anonymous sex in bathrooms… I am going to dedicate myself, full time, to my day-drinking… Yeah, I am actually spending more time with my family — which is nice.” ( NPR , March 2013)

On high school

“If you’ve been to high school, chances are you’ve got a yearbook lying around that’s full of enough cringe-worthy quotes and photos to mortify you until your dying day.” (Huffington Post, 2012)

On performing

“I spent a lot of time performing for people who did not want to see any kind of performance, let alone one from me. I’d get hired to do an industrial, and I’d be doing sketch comedy at 8:14 A.M. in a hotel ballroom while people were eating breakfast, and the content of the sketch material was to let them know they weren’t getting dental insurance anymore.” ( Esquire , 2010)

On body image

“People will say, ‘Oh, fashion magazines are so bad, they’re giving girls a negative message’ — but we’re also the fattest country in the world, so it’s not like we’re all looking at fashion magazines and not eating. Maybe it just starts a shame cycle: I’m never going to look like that model, so . . . Chicken McNuggets it is! And conversely, I don’t look at models who are crazy skinny and think I want to look like that, because a lot of them are gigantic, with giant hands and feet. Also, my dad is an artist — a painter by hobby — and I constantly would see realistic nudes. Because we were raised around art and went to museums and the women I grew up around were curvy . . . there wasn’t this value on skinny, skinny, skinny. Curvy was clearly meant to be the winner. I go up and down a few pounds with a relative amount of kindness to myself. And I have a daughter, and I don’t want her to waste her time on all of that.” ( Vogue , 2010)

On being mean

“I’m not a mean person, but I have a capacity for it. I have the biting comment formed somewhere in the back of my head — like it’s in captivity. Sometimes people expect that I’m going to be tough. It’s not a bad situation. People treat you better. People are on time.” ( Reader’s Digest , 2008)

On the Sarah Palin impression…

“It was scary to be in that world of politics. I felt uncomfortable to be in that discussion. The weird thing is, when Darrell Hammond or Will Ferrell or Dana Carvey did an impersonation of a president, no one assumed it was personal, but because Sarah Palin and I are both women and people think women are meaner to each other, everyone assumed it was personal.” ( Vogue , 2010)

…and her Republican parents

“Everyone’s parents are Republicans! Week one, they loved it; week two, they loved it; week three, they loved it — but by week four? My dad was like, ‘Enough already!’ I told him it was just that Governor Palin was the most fun to play. For a long time, Bill Clinton was the most fun, but in this election Sarah Palin was.” ( Oprah , 2009)

On being a working mom

“It is less dangerous to draw a cartoon of Allah French-kissing Uncle Sam — which, let me make it very clear, I have not done — than it is to speak honestly about [working moms].” (Bossypants, 2011)

On honest work

“I want to keep creating comedy that is, as my old improv teacher would say, at the top of our intelligence or higher. It’s easy to fall into the trap of just cranking out things that are good enough to sell.” ( Oprah , 2009)

On success

“I don’t fit the mold. In this country, success usually happens when you are 22 and six feet tall. Clearly, by asking that question [is she surprised by her success?] they are kind of letting me know that I am an aberration.” ( Vogue , 2010)

“I know for sure that you can tell how smart people are by what they laugh at. I know for sure that a hard-boiled egg is two points on Weight Watchers. I know for sure that my kid needs my husband and me to be with her more. And I know for sure that I can’t get comfortable with all the attention I’ve been getting because it won’t last forever. It’s just a moment — and there will be other moments when people don’t care what I’m doing.” ( Oprah , 2009)