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Tina Fey: Entertainer of the decade

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We want to live inside Tina Fey’s brain. If there is anything her decade’s worth of work has taught us, it is that. From her seven-year stint as Saturday Night Live‘s first female head writer to her creation of the reliably zany 30 Rock, the 39-year-old has graciously invited America into her uniquely loopy, ferociously smart, unapologetically female psyche. It’s a place where high school movies are a blast (as in her script for 2004’s Mean Girls), where ”bitch is the new black” (her passionate defense of Hillary Clinton on a 2008 SNL), and where one deft comment can puncture a national campaign (Fey’s impersonation of Sarah Palin — including the phrase ”I can see Russia from my house,” which Palin never uttered — redefined the 2008 vice presidential candidate). Can we go to there?

Tina Fey shares a few of the other treasures rolling around in her noggin:

On Her Childhood Aspirations

”I wanted to be a colonial lady or C-3PO. Those were not viable, paying options, except maybe at Comic-Con. So I decided I wanted to be on TV.”

On Success Coming Later in Life

”The fact that this all started coming together when I was 30 was a real blessing. It put a real perspective on it. I had an office job for a while, and I knew that this job was way more fun. When I inevitably go back to an office job, I will know how to behave in an office.”

On the Best Two Days of Her Last Decade

”Last year I had one weekend where on Saturday morning I shot with Oprah Winfrey for 30 Rock, and that evening I went and did the first Sarah Palin sketch [on Saturday Night Live] with Amy [Poehler, as Hillary Clinton]. Then Sunday was my daughter’s third birthday party. And I didn’t have to work on Sunday.”

On Her Best Decision of the Last Decade

”To have a baby. Followed closely by having the guts to ask Alec Baldwin to read the pilot of 30 Rock. Though I didn’t do that — Lorne Michaels did. I had written it with Alec in mind, but we were never going to ask him. We read other actors, but then he was hosting SNL and having a fun time, and we were like, Maybe we should just ask him. We caught him on a good week, and here we are.”

On Her Worst Decision of the Last Decade

”It was featured on the cover of Entertainment Weekly [in 2002]. I got these very short, asymmetrical bangs. It was my fault. I saw it in a magazine and I asked for it. It was rough.”

On Retirement Plans

”I would like to manage a Linens ‘n Things…oh, they went under. A Laytner’s Linen on the Upper West Side [of Manhattan], then. Every time I’m in there I wish I worked there?free towels, smells like candles. One of my husband’s future plans is, we retire and he plays the piano in the Grand Floridian [hotel] in Disney World. I should start learning to cut silhouettes so I could be the lady who does that. I don’t know how they do that, but it’s impressive.”

On Whether She Imagined Her Career Turning Out This Way

”Did I imagine it? Sure. But I’m still imagining a thing where I eat my way out of a room filled with McDonald’s french fries. It’s floor-to-ceiling french fries. The way you save yourself is you eat your way out.”

 

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