30 Rockin’ It With Tina Fey
‘I really feel like this is going to be my year,’ said Liz Lemon as she looked at her boss, Jack Donaghy, and smiled.
The opening lines from ‘Seinfeld Vision,’ the first episode of this season’s ’30 Rock’ might as well be describing Tina Fey’s life right now. Fey’s birth name is Elizabeth and she admits that ‘Liz is absolutely a version of me.’ Fey writes, executive-produces and stars as Liz Lemon on the NBC surprise hit ’30 Rock,’ this year’s Emmy winner for Best Comedy.
Despite taking home the statue, Fey remains modest. ‘We are all working really hard. But at least we are in a better mood. Once in a while someone sends over a cookie bouquet. Although I will admit, having the award is better than not having it.’
This season’s first episode was surrounded by a lot of hype because of its special guest star Jerry Seinfeld.
‘He is absolutely amazing to work with. He had so many ideas,’Fey said.
Even though the show is only in its second season, Fey has given the show its own niche and tackled pop culture trends through brilliant and witty comedic writing. In the second episode of season two, ‘Jack Gets In the Game’ airing Thursday, Oct. 11, the show focuses on body image in the media. Actress Jane Krakowski plays Jenna Maloney, star of ‘The Girlie Show,’ written by Liz Lemon (Tina Fey). She has recently put on more than a few pounds and is feeling pressured to lose weight. The audience follows Maloney to a plastic surgeon who recommends bone shaving and organ reduction and then watches her go on a ‘Geisha paper diet,’ eating wads of paper. Fey manages to get her points across by poking fun at society’s obsession today with diet fads and plastic surgery using humor.
Although Fey addresses serious issues in her show, she doesn’t plan to switch over to writing in a more dramatic style or even try her hand at directing.
‘My mind doesn’t work that way and, no matter what I write, I will always have some element of comedy in there.’
Now with two Emmy wins and two Writers Guild Awards, Fey is no stranger to winning, although she admits she was not always accustomed to the limelight. In college she was a ‘clean-living drama department nerd.’
‘I hung around the drama department and hit on gay guys,’ Fey said.
Saturday Night Live is where Fey experienced her first taste of celebrity. Fey joined the cast and became its first female head writer.
‘It wasn’t like being the first woman president. My biggest hardship was that everyone was taller than me,’ Fey said.
After six seasons on SNL, Fey started ’30 Rock,’ shorthand for ’30 Rockefeller Plaza.’ The show is a spin-off of Fey’s very own SNL experiences. Despite having lower ratings, ’30 Rock’ managed to beat out other comedic favorites like ‘The Office’ and ‘My Name is Earl’ to take home the Emmy.
All hope is not lost though. Both comedic classics ‘Cheers’ and ‘Seinfeld’ had very low ratings in their first couple of seasons and have managed to become iconic staples in comedic television.
After asking Fey what she thought about the ratings she jokingly said, ‘I think it is because we are the only show that doesn’t have actors talking directly to the audience. ‘The Office’ has those confessionals and both ‘My Name Is Earl’ and ‘Scrubs’ use voice-overs. Maybe that’s it, maybe the audience is just waiting for us to talk to them.’