Sitting down with David Tennant for an episode of the Doctor Who star's new podcast, David Tennant Does a Podcast With, the former SNL head writer and 30 Rock creator opened up about the long-running NBC sketch show and the impact of its political commentary.
According to Fey, she doesn't feel that SNL's sketches -- which predominantly lampoon President Donald Trump and other outspoken right-leaning political figures, "can really sway people," when it comes to their own philosophies.
"I think you can shine a light," she said, adding that through sketch comedy, "You can help them articulate something they’re already feeling about a given person."
While Saturday Night Live was founded on the idea of mocking authoritarianism and holding truth to power through satire, in recent years the rhetoric on both sides of the political divide has grown angrier and Fey feels that it's made things less conducive to a fun environment for comedy.
"The culture is so ugly and the political climate is so ugly," she said. "We would always have everybody on because you could. You'd have Bush Sr. come do a thing with Dana Carvey before I worked there. It's so truly ugly now."
In fact, Fey herself famous played Sarah Palin back when the former Alaska Governor was running on the ticket with John McCain against Barack Obama in 2008. Fey opened up about playing the political figure -- whom she said she didn't really know much about and didn't really felt she looked like.
However, when the real Palin eventually did end up agreeing to be on the show, Fey said she didn't want to share the screen with the controversial politician.
"I didn't want to be in a two-shot with her," Fey recalled. "Because I just thought, 'Well, that's what they'll show when I die.' When I die, that's what they'll show on the Emmys."
When Fey came back to SNL to portray Palin, she'd already left the series to focus on writing and starring in 30 Rock, but agreed to guest star in a few cameos.
That was one of the first major examples of a recurring guest star coming in to play a major political figure. Famously, frequent host Alec Baldwin took things a step further when he signed on to play Trump and has since portrayed the embattled president in countless cold opens since 2016. Additional recurring cameos include Robert De Niro as Robert Mueller and Ben Stiller as Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen.
For more on this politically charged era of Saturday Night Live, check out the video below.