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.”
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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.
Table of Contents
Foreword Sheryl Sandberg ix
Stage 1 Who Is Nell Scovell?
Chapter 1 Every Character Needs a Backstory 11
Chapter 2 Sports and SPY 21
Chapter 3 The Setup 35
Chapter 4 The Big Twist 49
Chapter 5 The Payoff 67
Stage 2 Get Me Nell Scovell!
Chapter 6 The Simpsons: Fugu Me! 85
Chapter 7 Brush with Greatness: Working for Letterman 107
Chapter 8 The Meet Cute 121
Chapter 9 We're All Oompa Loompas 135
Chapter 10 So You Want to Run a TV Show 151
Stage 3 Get Me a Younger, Cheaper Nell Scovell!
Chapter 11 Poetry Is in the Doing 173
Chapter 12 The Ones That Got Away 189
Chapter 13 You Sexy Motherwriter 203
Chapter 14 The Decade-Long Roller-Coaster Ride 215
Stage 4 Who Is Nell Scovell?
Chapter 15 "Fame Whore" 233
Chapter 16 The One I'd Been Waiting For 249
Chapter 17 Lily Tomlin, the Kennedy Center … and a Surprise Guest 263
Chapter 18 Our Funny President 281
Chapter 19 Stage Five of a Hollywood Writer's Career 293
Job Timeline 305
Photo Credits 313
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Nell’s ability to draw you into the seedy underbelly of the writers room and all that it entails with anecdotal humor and brilliant observations made this a fantastic summer read. Highly recommend.
I read it nonstop.
Nell Scovell is hilarious. This is her very personal story told in an entertaining way. I didn't want it to end. I hope she continues to write about her life.