Tina Fey Reflects on 30 Rock
Tina Fey | Photo Credits: Ali Goldstein/NBC
Lemon out! After seven seasons, three Outstanding Comedy Emmys, countless nominations and more catchphrases than you can shake a bag of Sabor de Soledad at, 30 Rock takes its final bow Thursday at 8/7c on NBC. Tina Fey, 42, recalls her life as Liz Lemon and reveals what it's like to shut it down once and for all.
TV Guide Magazine: It's been a great ride. How do you feel about the end?
Tina Fey: I feel good. All things must come to an end, and I'll be heartbroken to leave all these people, but it was time and the right thing to do. We've told the whole story.
TV Guide Magazine: Do you remember shooting the pilot?
Fey: Parts of it. Like realizing what the hours were like on a single-camera comedy and crying because I had just had my first daughter, Alice. She was, like, 6 months old and this was supposed to be my bridge out of the hours at SNL, but this schedule was so much worse.
TV Guide Magazine: Did you read the early reviews?
Fey: I didn't really have time to read all of them, but I flipped through this huge bundle on my desk and by chance landed on [a review] that said I was the problem with the show and everyone else was fine.
TV Guide Magazine: Ouch. Do you read them now?
Fey: Nah. I like to search #30Rock on Twitter because I think you get a more honest balance of what stuck with people, if they liked it or not.
TV Guide Magazine: What's your favorite episode?
Fey: I have a lot. When Tracy did Conan O'Brien's show; "Apollo, Apollo"; "Black Tie" with Paul Reubens; Liz's wedding. I have to say, "Verna" is one of my all-time favorites because I love Jan Hooks so much, and for her to come in as Jenna's mother was really great.
TV Guide Magazine: Least favorite moment on the show?
Fey: The ones when I came back six weeks postpartum, absolutely green and swollen. I will not want to look back at them. [Laughs]
TV Guide Magazine: Did the fact that 30 Rock kept winning awards help ease the sting of the show's low ratings?
Fey: Oh, yeah. They also kept us alive. I used to look at the ratings as a bummer, but you can't control them. I think in seven years we've had nine time slots. I begged to be on later every year. Our show is inappropriate for 8pm. I have kids! Weirdly, some of the best ratings we ever got were when we were on at 10pm.
TV Guide Magazine: How did you handle the scandals, like Alec Baldwin's political rants and saying he was leaving show business?
Fey: A lot of that happened when we were off the air during the summer, and when you turn these people loose, they cause trouble. [Laughs] I wouldn't be surprised if Alec ran for mayor of New York in a few years. And when he said he was leaving the industry, I knew that absolutely meant he was staying. That I have learned.
TV Guide Magazine: What about Tracy Morgan's gay-bashing comedy routine?
Fey: Tracy's controversy was one I had to deal with because the network wanted me to. People were threatening to boycott the show, and I wanted to make sure people knew Tracy didn't speak for us. I'm sure he wasn't even speaking for himself. He was trying out some unformed stand-up and it backfired. We had to cajole him into letting us deal with it on the show — he was nervous, because he really felt bad about it and wanted it to go away.
TV Guide Magazine: We know Jane Krakowski replaced Rachel Dratch as Jenna in the original pilot, but were there ever any other contenders for Jack?
Fey: No. The network was thrilled that we could get Alec, who, I have to say, really opened the door for movie stars to feel like it was OK to do TV. He was so good.