Tina Fey is best known to her fans for her roles in Saturday Night Live and Mean Girls, but this past year Fey has grown as an actress and a writer in her newest comedy 30 Rock. The show is based in an NBC building and centers on the employees of a fictional show entitled The Girlie Show (resembling that of SNL). The dynamic personas between characters (including a cast of Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan, Jane Krakowski, and others) gives this show its edge and sharp storyline. Although the ratings have been lacking, about six million tune in weekly, 30 Rock was recognized for its witty and humorous script when it was nominated for two Golden Globes this past July. Fey was nominated for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series and the show won for Outstanding Comedy Series. Getting ready to launch their second season on an optimistic foot, Tina Fey sheds light on how she feels about the upcoming season, the lack of ratings, and how she comes up with her clever ideas, in an interview we conducted with her via conference call.
DF: When you think of a comedy skit, does it normally come to you while you are doing everyday things and you have to stop and write it down, or do you take time to sit down and actually write the skit?
TF: Sometimes something will come to you and you’ll try to make note of it, or write it down, or tell one of the other writers “ya know don’t let me forget”, but with 30 Rock, we have to write so much, so fast, that there’s almost never a time when we don’t have a deadline. And nothing helps you write better than a deadline.
DF: Would you rather have high ratings for the show because people think it is funny or a smaller audience that likes the show and appreciates it because it affects them personally?
TF: I would be perfectly happy to have a large audience that likes the show because it’s funny. That would be great. I’m not sad though, right now we have a small audience but I feel like our audience really really does like the show, and are very dedicated fans. But sure a larger audience would be great.
DF: In internet blogs, you have been called the best writing since Seinfeld, considering that it took Seinfeld a while to take off, does it put you at ease knowing your (show) might as well?
TF: Well I don’t know that we ever will take off like Seinfeld, but when Jerry Seinfeld was shooting with us he was very encouraging and he was saying that they really didn’t see any big increase in their ratings until their fourth season, but I don’t think we will get that luxury.
DF: I have watched the show and I (think) you will (take off). It is awesome.
TF: Well thank you for watching it. It’s a different climate now. You know the network can’t really afford to leave stuff on for that long. But I guess Cheers was the same way, Cheers wasn’t highly rated in the beginning. So, we will either be like that or we won’t.
DF: Okay, Good Luck.
On the same conference call were writers from other college newspapers.
Westchester University: What was the inspiration behind the concept of this show?