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Fey grabs a quick breather in her dressing room, which — as evidenced by the teddy bear and wooden moose — also serves as a frequent play space for her 3-year-old daughter, Alice.
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Fey and costar ?Tracy Morgan prepare to film a scene. Between takes, Morgan cracks wise with the crew, claiming he's descended from Hollywood royalty: Ernest Borgnine and Lauren Hepburn. ''Who is Lauren Hepburn?'' Fey wonders aloud, laughing.
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A Queens check-cashing outlet doubles as a post office that Liz and Tracy?visit in the episode. Crew members keep having to explain the switch to real customers who wander in — probably wondering why everyone is wearing heavy coats on a balmy September day. ''I know it's warm,'' assistant director Steve Davis tells the bundled-up extras, ''but don't be fanning yourselves, because it's December 22nd.''
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Fey's dead-ringer stand-in, Laura Lynn Berrios, assumes her position while the crew works on lighting.
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In the Christmas episode, Liz forces her writers to participate in a charity that provides gifts for underprivileged kids. ''It's based on a somewhat dissatisfying experience I had with a letters-to-Santa ?program,'' hints Fey. Much like Liz — who goes overboard with Jenna (Jane Krakowski, right) at J.T. Less Discount Department Store — Fey says she found herself ''spiraling'' into guilt-fueled overshopping.
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Fey reviews footage with director Don Scardino.
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Fey shares a laugh with Krakowski.
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Earlier in the day, Fey shot her half of a phone chat in which Jack (Alec Baldwin) explains his idea of a ''real'' Christmas: ''Fly to Rio, tan in the nude, and bet on monkey wrestling.''
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ON THE ROAD WITH MGMT
Sept. 25, 2008 · El Paso
Photographs by Alex Tehrani
They met as freshmen at Wesleyan University, and formed a band built on trippy, epic songcraft. Today, Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden have transcended the indie-rock genre with a hit record — the aptly titled Oracular Spectacular — and are currently traveling the U.S. on a 12-city tour with elder statesman Beck.
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''We consider it a fluke that we play music that people like — people who don't even necessarily listen to indie rock,'' says Goldwasser.
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The band has a TV on their bus, but Goldwasser says, ''We mostly watch VH1 Classic, or maybe a football game. Getting [our songs] placed on shows like Gossip Girl — we're ?flattered, but I don't think we've gotten the full meaning of it [because we haven't really seen it]. Still, a lot of people have told us about it!''
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''We're really grateful Beck has taken us on the road with him,'' says Goldwasser.
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ON THE SET WITH EMILE HIRSCH
Sept. 18, 2008 · New Lebanon, N.Y. · 4:20 p.m.
Photograph by Brigitte Lacombe
''The mud's pretty cold,'' says Emile Hirsch, explaining what it's like on the ?upstate New York set of Ang Lee's Taking Woodstock, a behind-the-scenes look at how the 1969 music fest came together. ''It's later in the year than it was during Woodstock ?[which actually took place in August]. We were all shivering, and we had these silver-foil space blankets that miraculously keep you really warm.'' But they don't keep you clean: ''I did a Superman slide down a hill, and started turning on my back,'' he says with glee. ''I was covered in mud. I think there was pig crap mixed in, because we all smelled like crap.'' His good mood reflects that of his character, a Vietnam vet. ''Woodstock becomes a way for him to find the joy he has left in his life.''
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ON THE SET WITH JASON BATEMAN
Sept. 25, 2008 · Commerce, Calif. · 1:23 p.m.
Photographs by Chris McPherson
In Office Space director Mike Judge's latest workplace comedy, Extract, Bateman reunites with his Juno costar J.K. Simmons, playing the owner of a flavor-concentrate plant who's losing his taste for life. ''He's okay...but he's flawed,'' says Bateman. ''He's not happy, but happy people aren't necessarily funny.''
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Inside a water-bottling plant in Commerce, Calif. — which doubles as the set — Bateman watches the action in a monitor room with Judge (second from left) and crew members. ''He's very lazy,'' Bateman cracks about the director. ''He likes to just sit there and watch TV.''
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Gene Simmons adds a touch of crass to the shoot, playing an oily personal-injury lawyer. ''I didn't read the script,'' admits Simmons, who signed on only after Judge agreed to let him use cue cards.
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ON THE STREET WITH JIMMY FALLON
Sept. 23, 2008 · Rockefeller Center, NYC · 1:30 p.m.
Photographs by Jake Chessum
How does a guy prepare to replace Conan O'Brien on Late Night next spring? Step 1: Watch a lot of talk shows. Step 2: Create?a nightly Web show (starting this winter). Step 3: Play videogames? ''Seventy percent of my day is Wii,'' Fallon jokes. Hey, whatever works.
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When not out on the street gathering material for his Web show, Fallon and his writers hang out in a comfy 16th-floor ?office — which is just an elevator ride away from both his old SNL digs and the stage he'll soon inherit.
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Fallon and crew also use a private Web page to share late-night bursts of inspiration from home. ''One post was called 'Pizza,''' says Fallon. ''It wasn't really an idea. I just felt like eating pizza.''