Move over Tiny Fey. There’s a new gal on the block and her book is funnier than Bossypants. Comedian Ali Wentworth never lets her prep school pedigree get in the way of a good joke, which explains the against-type casting of the Candice Bergen-esque blond in the edgy sketch comedy show In Living Color for two seasons.
Most pampered women Wentworth’s age—she’s 47—are consumed with preserving their dignity, but not Ali. She seems intent on self-destructively deconstructing her WASP heritage with a zeal familiar to fans of novelist John Irving. Married to politico and journalist George Stephanopoulos, Wentworth is a caustic combination of a K Street insider and Lucille Ball.
Young Ali’s misadventures at boarding school stand out in this collection. She lampoons the prison-like atmosphere of these storage units for hands-off parents. Here’s what she says about one classmate’s mother and father: “Her parents seemed nice enough, for elitist drunks who drove around in golf carts in Gilligan hats.” Another classmate is portrayed as the “latent lesbian who always wanted to brush people’s hair and could tell fortunes by reading belly buttons.” I’m guessing Wentworth will be absent from the next class reunion.
“I don’t even take Sudafed for fear I might stab an ex-therapist,” writes Wentworth in a preamble to her recalling her one and only bad trip when she gets really high on cocaine as a student and nerdily hops a plane home. “The plane ride was endless. The stewardess looked concerned, kept asking me if I was okay and if I needed water. I was licking my lips like a puppy who’d been fed peanut butter.” Ali in Wonderland is a must-read for Gen-X Judy Blume readers who charged snacks on their parents’ golf club tabs, favoured Laura Ashley skirts and kept Bonne Bell lip smackers in their Roots purses.