Tina Fey on '30 Rock' live show, the importance of live TV
A peek at the sets for 30 Rock‘s upcoming live show inspires great confidence that the show’s sophomore live performance will prove to be a memorable one.
And as crews put finishing touches on the sets this morning, EW caught up with Tina Fey during a visit to show’s set at Rockefeller Center to talk about what’s in store for the big episode and chat about the end of the season.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Another live show. Is it easier going into the second one?
TINA FEY: It’s still a lot of work, and I’m sure we’ll have some moments in the next couple of days that are harrowing of like, “Wait, how long is it?” But I think we’re definitely excited to be asked to do it again. NBC asked us if we would consider doing another one and we were like, “Yeah. Sure.”
[Any] fears going into it for a second time?
No — just dumb enough to say yes.
During the last live episode, we saw some many great cameos. Any hints as to who might pop up?
No Liz Banks. No James Marsden — that I can tell you. [But] there will be some very exciting cameos, some friends of comedy, some friends of 30 Rock. Also, you’ll get to see our people do some things they don’t usually get to do.
Speaking of friends of 30 Rock, we are going to see flashbacks to young Tracy Morgan with Donald Glover. That’s going to be amazing.
Well, Donald started right out of college as a writer at 30 Rock. He was actually still, I believe, living in an NYU dorm. He was an RA, and he would work and go home to a dorm. [Snickers] And he was on the show once a million years ago at the last minute. We had cast some teenager, and then we got [on set] and the kid didn’t show up, and Donald filled in as a gay teenager in a high school graduation scene. Tracy said something like, “There you are obviously gay kid” and Donald improvised the line, “Who told?” And we also knew that Donald could sound like Tracy because we did an extended version of “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah,” and by the time we finished it, we were wrapped and didn’t have Tracy. So half of it is just Donald imitating Tracy. But yeah, he’s super busy performing at Coachella, so he’s coming in for a hot second to do this. We’re very lucky.
In the episode, we take a bit of a trip through time. Tell me about that.
The basic premise of the episode is that Kabletown has decided that they don’t want to do TGS live anymore. They want to do it more on a sort of syndicated, Tyler Perry-model where they just make a hundred of them in two days. Liz is like, ‘Alright.’ Basically, everyone is like, ‘Okay. Great.’ — except for Kenneth because he is pure of heart and pure of television. So he spends the episode trying to convince us that live TV is important and that the studio, itself, has a history that has to be respected.
That’s obviously a subject that’s very close to you. Did you like that about that episode?
I liked the idea for the episode a lot because I think it makes sense for an episode that you’re doing live and to do it here in 8H which does have kind of an amazing history back from Toscanini through Saturday Night Live. It seems to make sense and it is at a time when people are always asking if broadcast TV is dying. The one thing that does seem to matter to people are things that are events — like the live results show of The Voice. People do still do want that communal experience.
Switching gears, the season finale is coming up.
We shot it already.
What can you tell me about it? Will we be seeing some baby news for Liz?
Well, we’ll keep going in that track, yes. We’ll see the return of Liz Banks and the return of Mary Steenburgen. That’s awkward because Jack tried to bone both of them. James Marsden’s back. Hopefully, what we’ll be seeing is some good stuff to set our characters up for next year.
Is there a cliffhanger?
It’s not a cliffhanger. We leave them where we leave them, but it’s not a cliffhanger.
Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, and Tracy Morgan star in the Emmy-winning comedy. You want to go to there.