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Entertainment Weekly


Emily Mortimer couldn’t deliver a joke Elaine Stritch told her to say on 30 Rock

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Watch the full episode of Couch Surfing streaming now on PeopleTV.com, or download the PeopleTV app on your favorite device.

Emily Mortimer still regrets flubbing a line the late Broadway icon Elaine Stritch fed her on the set of 30 Rock.

On season 1 of the hit NBC comedyMortimer played Phoebe, an art dealer with “Avian Bone Syndrome” who was briefly engaged to Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin), and had the pleasure of working with Stritch, who played Donaghy’s mother.

Well, it was a pleasure, until Mortimer couldn’t understand a joke Stritch gave her last-minute.

RELATED VIDEO: Emily Mortimer on Aaron Sorkin’s writing on The Newsroom: “It’s like he’s writing in verse”

“I didn’t understand it, it was like American New York colloquialism, and I didn’t know what it was but I was too scared of her by a million miles to say, ‘I don’t know what that joke is,'” Mortimer confesses to PeopleTV’s Couch Surfing host Lola Ogunnaike.

Unfortunately, this only made Stritch more upset. “She was like, ‘Can you not hear the rhythm of it?'” Mortimer finally told Stritch she couldn’t understand the joke, but Stritch insisted she keep trying, “She was like, ‘Just say it as I f—in’ say it!’

Watch Mortimer recount the hilarious incident in the Couch Surfing clip above.