NBC recently held a conference call for their highly anticipated show 30 Rock. Created by Saturday Night Live stalwart Tina Fey, 30 Rock focuses on a fictional late night comedy show and stars Alec Baldwin, Jane Krakowski and Tracy Morgan among others. On hand for this discussion were Fey and Krakowski who plays Jenna DeCarlo on the show.
Given that Alec Baldwin has done some of the probably the best work of his life on Saturday Night Live, how much of a given was that he would be somebody that you wanted to do for this particular show?
Tina Fey: Well, I wrote the part with Alec in mind and I sort of never dreamed that we would really get him and then miraculously we have got him. So, I'm very pleased. Yeah, I've seen Alec to be so very, very funny over the years that he hosted and he has tremendous comedy skill.
Will the actual skits that are going to be seen on the show, do you find that you want to keep them relatively live or do you want to keep them - do them the best that you can without having a constraint of time?
Tina Fey: Well, actually, it brings out a good point which is we're not really going to see sketches on the show. We're going to see the lives of these characters that work at the show in their daily life, for lack of a better word. And so, we're not going to - I don't think we really hardly ever going to see sketches.
So, are you going to kind of sort of be like - let me use the term Mary Tyler Moore, not that you're like Mary Tyler Moore but that she was kind of a straight woman surrounded by a bunch of crazies...
Tina Fey: I think that's a very accurate description, yes. And, you know, also much like Mary Tyler Moore, we're not going to show the news very much, you know, how was sort of just them and their world and their lives and their office work and that is - I mean, we should be so lucky to be anything like Mary Tyler Moore. But, yes, I am sort of the straight center.
Do you happen to recall the obscenities that you uttered when you heard about video 60?
Tina Fey: I - because we're so much all the time anyway that it was probably - it would have even interrupted my constant flow of swearing. That was probably happening over just the quality of my (lunch that day).
Did you find yourself a little disconcerted knowing there's such a similar style show or similar (unintelligible) show on the air at the same time?
Tina Fey: Well, it's funny because I had friends coming up to me and say like, "Oh, I'm so sorry, we're not going to get to do your show." And I've said, "Well, you know, I haven't really heard anything," and then really actually within the same day, Kevin Riley called me at home to assure me that we were still - because we were in pre-production to the pilot and he assured me that we were still going to shoot the pilot and that he believe in both shows and so, I took the man's word, and so far so good.
And I'm one of those who has not seen the revised pilot yet but I want to understand that, Jane, you're taking over the role that more or less (long duration on the) pilot?
Jane Krakowski: Well, I'm playing the star of The Girlie Show which is the fictional show within the show. The role has been quite (new bit) I would say and made a little bit difference. But I love the show so much and I was so thrilled to be asked to join in to the cast.
Tina Fey: What sort - this is Tina. What sort of happened was once we realized after doing the pilot that we were never going to see sketches, then we wanted to take Rachel, who's as a sketch player and use her differently and she's still in the show and she's going to play a series of characters.
You'll see if you do get a chance to see the revised pilot, you'll see she plays a cat wrangler in that pilot and then she'll come back another week as a different character and then week or two after that, she'll come back as a different character.
What SNL joke or sketch are you the most proud of?
Tina Fey: Oh, that's not a question. I wrote a sketch one called (Senses), it was just about (senses) paper, it was just Christopher Walken and Tim Meadows, just the two of them and that was my - maybe my favorite sketch that I ever wrote. Unfortunately for me, it was on the exact same show as "We need more cowbell," so it's long since been forgotten. But that was a really - that was maybe the best show that we had in the whole nine years that I was here, that show with Christopher Walken.
Did you ever you have a sketch that didn't make on the air that you really (unintelligible)?
Tina Fey: Usually the ones that don't make it is with very good cause. They're usually pretty stinky.
I was a little (bummed) when I got the disc from NBC and saw that it was the remade pilot, not Episode 2, where's Episode 2? It's been - they saved special effects?
Tina Fey: You know, it's - we're locking picture on it today. So, hopefully, it will be going to you guys soon. We're not hiding.
Tina, are you concerned at all about any similarities between 30 Rock and that other show that people might think it has to do with Saturday Night Live, of course I'm speaking of Friday Night Life.
Tina Fey: Friday Night Life. Yes, the big concern to me that our show is so similar to Nip Tuck. No, you know, the great thing about doing the show is we're so busy. We're shooting five days a week, writing seven days a week sort of that there's no time to even worry about it. We're just (barely ahead).
Jane, I was wondering if you could tell us who if anyone is influencing your character. Like, is she going to be (Dipsie), is she going to be, you know, a ball-busting prima donna, is she, you know...
Jane Krakowski: Well, actually, I've never played an actress before and to play a neurotic, insecure actress is surely a stretch for me. But it's been kind of fun to play this role because of the nature that it is sort of an ala - it's a variety show, Saturday Night Live, sort of sketch comedy show that I get to, in occasional episodes, play different characters and certainly in the episodes seeing the backstage aspect of them where we're wearing all the costumes, the different things and it's quite fun, I think.
Yes, I have a good sense of humor to sort of last a long time in show business and I think to be able to find comedic value in who you are and the people that you work is always a good thing. And what I love about the show because we get to sort of (stand) up who we are and the people that we love and the business that we love.
Tina Fey: I would say - this is Tina. A nice thing too about the way Jane is playing the role that she is playing a neurotic actress but she makes it very human and three dimensional and, you know, believable as a person that my character would be friends with.
Jane, were you getting courted for a lot of series regular staff since Ally McBeal? And what you made you decide this was the show to do?
Jane Krakowski: Well, I've done a few pilot since Ally McBeal that didn't get chosen for fall season and I most have been doing theater, Broadway shows and I did a show on the (West) for almost a year since Ally was over. But I - when this part and this show came around, I loved the script so much. I thought it was one of the funniest things I have read in such a long time. And the fact that I live in New York and it shot in New York was a great plus to me and it was already aligned with Tina and Lorne Michaels and Alec Baldwin and Tracy Morgan, I was so lucky to get to be asked to join it.
Jane, I assume that in the revised pilot it's you we hear singing at the very beginning of the show because they put them to the stage where you're singing?
Jane Krakowski: Oh, actually, it isn't. That was sort of a pre-recorded jingle but in that number in a later editor and the edit you have, maybe, I do sing one line.
Then how - what's your feeling to that so far as far as whether or not you'll be able to do some singing from time to time in the show?
Tina Fey: This is Tina. She's singing in Episode 2. Oh, we're going to milk her. We're going to work her like a work horse.
Jane Krakowski: This is Jane. I love it. You know, we have endless boundaries really in the reality of the show because of the fact that it is backstage of a show. So, the more they want to add that in, I love it.
And Tina, then, although we just - we pick up on that particular song in the revised pilot, that song or that jingle, we're going to hear every week then or...
Tina Fey: No. Actually, that's not our official title sequence. That is one that's unique to pilot and we've also got a - I really like and a cool-sounding title sequence that will start in Episode 2.
And another thing I wanted to ask, Tina, was just kind of offbeat nature of the title the, Girlie Show, I mean, that just is so retro or something. How did you come up with that as the name of the show?
Tina Fey: Well, there were couple a things. One, I wanted it to seem like a show that my character had created that has sort of a feminine sensibility about when Alec's character and Tracy's character invaded it, you could get the sense that it was this male present coming in and taking over. And then I also sort of thought if we had a female-driven star and that it was, you know, sort of like the man show, it seems sort of like a sketch show title to me. And the fact that we have kind of hot lady, dancers and stuff, it seems like it was a (neo) feminist re-appropriation of why girls.
I mean, obviously, it's been on a couple of people's minds here already, I'm wondering if the two of you have actually watched Studio 60, what you think so far.
Tina Fey: I saw - I Tivoed the one last night, I saw the first one, it looks very (fasty) and I think Bradley Whitford escaped.
I mean, did - are there similarities here? I mean, because obviously that's still kind of the perception out there is that they're coming from the same platform.
Tina Fey: Well, it's (unintelligible) because we are a different genre really, we were comedy and they basically are drama and it's - I think in tone they're really different but, I mean, yes, old people are going to be confused. Your grandma is going to be confused. But look for Alec Baldwin, if you can find Alec Baldwin, you know, you have us.
Jane, a question for you, I mean, it's just a pure coincidence obviously but do you stay in touch with Calista Flockhart? Have you talked to her about the fact that you're both back on TV series on the very same year?
Jane Krakowski: It's purely coincidence. And I - it's kind of nice actually. I had been (unintelligible), I'll say a year ago now, it's been a little while since (unintelligible) because I've been on the East Coast and she's been on the West Coast. But it is kind of odd timing, isn't it that we both come back on the same year. I mean, obviously, Portia De Rossi has been on TV Arrested Development for many years and... So, yeah, I would love to check in with her and see how she's enjoying it this time around.
I did see the revised pilot and it's just so shocking to see a Rachel Dratch broken down from star of that show to cat wrangler...
Tina Fey: Cat wrangler, well, I think, it's, you know, it's a - the part of (unintelligible) sort of evolved over the season. It's going to be seen over a series of episodes, so, don't panic.
Is it - are you keeping her on because it's...
Tina Fey: Because she's very funny.
She's very funny, not because she's on the contract or anything or...
Tina Fey: Rachel Dratch has threatened to sue me. No, no, you know, there's an old saying at (Second City) which is you never (caught) funny and it's more funny, more funny people, the better. Jane is funny, (unintelligible) is funny, Jack McBrayer is funny, it's great to look around the room, it's such a big ensemble of funny people.
Well, tell me about why it changed and when it changed.
Tina Fey: Well, after we shot the pilot, we sort of realized that we didn't want to see sketches because if you - that's not - to see kind of canned sketches within or by the show just didn't really feel right. And so, then it seemed it was going to be more of a straight acting part and we want to just sort of rewrite it.
And Rachel and I, actually both are very excited about this new direction of - a different way to use her range and her - she's so delightful when she's deep in character and she's going to play a range of characters going from the cat wrangler that you saw to Barbara Walter to a little blue space man. She's going to be quite a wide range of things.
And Jane's character changed you said, how did that character change?
Tina Fey: Well, I think that also - you'll see that more as we go down the road but I think she is - we've been sort of describing her as she's a neurotic - I like to describe the character as sexually voracious, aggressive, confident and - but vulnerable at the same time. So, I think, you know, you'll see - one thing I'm used to from Saturday Night Live is when you are writing to specific actor, and so when the actors switch around, then it's - you make adjustments, you write for them differently.
Had you worked with Jane before?
Tina Fey: No, I've never met Jane before a couple of months ago. Not a great times before.
And this was your decision, it sounds like it's kind of a decision that an Alec Baldwin type of character might have made for you.
Tina Fey: Well, you know, what happened was (Karl Rouge) called clearly enough.
Jane, when you came in and what was it like to come in to a show that's already kind of started without you.
Jane Krakowski: Yeah. I've never done that before. I actually came in on the first day of the (fan) which is a very interesting thing. I remember seeing, you know, because the character that Alec has created, I just think is so brilliant and I was actually kind of nervous to do my first being with him because I just thought he was so awesome and Tina and, you know, wanted to instantly have that connection of friends and sort of that history that you want to have to be unbelievable.
I know when I first saw Jack McBrayer, I was just like, "Oh, my God, I love you so much (as the page)." So I sort of came in as a fan and then just really didn't want to mess it up. I wanted to fit in as much as I could and bring as much as I could to the program. It's very interesting to kind of see what the product is before you join in, it's a very different thing and because I loved it so much, I just wanted to do the best job I could to be a part of it. I thought it was so hip and cool and funny.
How quickly did you have to move? When did you come in and shoot your parts for the pilot?
Tina Fey: We started shooting - we did new pilot stuff at the end of August... and then rolled right into the next episodes.
Just to clarify, what's the original plan to have sketches and you decided against that?
Tina Fey: Well, we thought maybe we'd see a little bit now and then and probably we'll see a few lines (unintelligible) story but it's just - to really show a big chunk of it, not a little square.
So, then or now, are there any plans to reference some of your great sketches that got (unintelligible) on SNL?
Tina Fey: Am I going to go through my trunk and - no, no, not so much.
Just to harp on Studio 60 one more time, was it at all weird to be upfront in (PCA) with them?
Tina Fey: It was - actually, it wasn't weird because a few of them I've met before and Matthew Perry hosted our show at SNL and Bradley Whitford was very sweet backstage, no because they're such a nice group. And Amanda Peet had common hangout, you know, I think she was, maybe, friends with (Jimmy Fallen) or something. So, I've met a bunch of them before; it wasn't weird.
Tina, you were in a very successful movie. Does committing to this show mean that movies are kind of on a background for now?
Tina Fey: Well, thank you, first of all. I am currently sort of between a second and a third draft for a movie for Paramount. And it will definitely slow things down but I definitely hope to try to keep doing both.
There's the Carly Song song, "You're so vain, you probably think this song is about you," I'm wondering if there are people who might think right or wrong with the characters about them like for example or let's say, maybe a half dozen or more NBC GE Execs think that Alec Baldwin that they were the blue print (unintelligible) Alec Baldwin, and so on, stuff like that.
Tina Fey: Yeah, that will be interesting to see if some of the guys upstairs think that's them. I don't really hangout with a lot of GE Executives so this is - there's really no way for me to base it on any of those guys.
What would you say if somebody thought that you were basing it on them?
Tina Fey: I'm going to tell all of them yes... no matter who they are. I'm going to say, yes, this is based on you because then they'll keep watching.
While you were on SNL and you were also working on 30 Rock, were you kind of putting different things aside, different jokes aside and anecdotes aside that you made use for the show?
Tina Fey: Actually, no. I will say, one thing I've learned from working at Saturday Night Live is if you have a joke, you use it immediately because you always need something and so there's no - you can't really (unintelligible) anything away for the winter. You just have to hope that you'll make more when the time comes.
And then what it is like for you to leave kind of that stability of SNL that's been, you know, on for decades and now you're going, you know, to a new show that whether it's good or not, it could sink or it could (unintelligible).
Tina Fey: Well, obviously, it's a risk. There are so many new shows on TV and you'll never know what's going to happen but it times out well because it was an appropriate time for me to leave SNL anyway. I felt, you know, like a senior who - it was time to graduate. So, I think it's great. This is a great venture and I hope we do it for long time, if we don't, I'll go home and see my kids.
But you don't have any jitters about it or...
Tina Fey: I don't; I feel really good about it because I feel like it's all sort of a win-win situation.
And does your husband complain that you've got this long-standing relationship with Lorne?
Tina Fey: No, no, he's cool with that. My husband works for Lorne also and my husband works at Saturday Night Live and at 30 Rock. So, what he is complaining about is the fact that he's actually more over stretched than I am right now.
So, then you're jealous of the time he has with Lorne.
Tina Fey: I am very jealous at my husband's relationship with Lorne.
I want to ask you on (press tour) a little over two months ago, you were still very much on a learning curve in terms of such how to do a show like this, where are you at now on that, have you settled in or...
Tina Fey: Yeah, we're settled in. We're shooting Episode 5 right now, I think. And it's good. We were able - I was so very pleased we were able to bank a really good number of scripts before we started shooting. And so, that's now a luxury and, yeah, I think I'm learning quickly as we go, you know, how to not stand in front of the camera and block the other actor and stuff like that. It feels - it's a fast curve. It feels like - where I'm learning a lot.
And, you know, there's some downsizing going out at SNL and two people in particular you worked with for many years, Horatio Sanz and Chris Parnell.
Tina Fey: Yeah.
Do you think it would be a good idea to maybe work them into the show with guest spots or do you want to kind of stay away from having too many SNL?
Tina Fey: No, actually, I mean, I love to work with people I've worked before and it's actually great that you mentioned that because Chris Parnell is going to come and do a guest spot, I think, it's on Episode 6 and he came - we had a read the other day, it's super funny. And I would love to have Horatio some time. I love to work with family. I love - because I love, you know - and I know all those guys and I know their strengths and their hidden secret strengths and yeah, I love them.
And just one last thing, how do this compare to where - is this more frantic or frenetic than working on Saturday Night Live or is this a bit of an easier pace to have your own show or not?
Tina Fey: Well, weirdly enough, it's a little bit more hectic because it's - at Saturday Night Live, you would sort of stroll in in the afternoon and you might stay late at night but you could come in at three or four in afternoon. And also as now it's 20 weeks a year spread out over 40 week - 20 shows a year, spread out over 40 weeks. And this is pretty intense. It's film day. So, it's like 5:30 am pick up getting home at 8:00 or 9:00 and then having some writing or some pages to look at and so it's - I'm enjoying it but it's actually worse.
Now, I'm interested in the Internet-only content on NBC.com part of the TV (360) initiative.
Tina Fey: Yeah.
And there's been some talk about some extend comedy sketches to be on the Web only. So can you kind of confirm or deny that and perhaps explain, Tina, what it's like to write for the Web which perhaps you might be doing in the future.
Tina Fey: Yes, I can, in fact, deny that. We realized that the cause and sort of (sense) of writing sketches and shooting sketches, you know, on film, in front of no audience, so it didn't really make sense to do that as our Web content. We definitely want to have Web content that will be - original material that's not just I'll take from the show.
We have a bunch of ideas and we're actually in a little bit of limbo right now while the writer skills kind of worked it out with NBC. We're, you know, we're excited to do it. We hope to deliver it but I know like the guys at the office and stuff, we're all kind on of a little bit of a (hold).
Now, do you find that the Web is a good place for 30 Rock to go or do you believe it should pretty much stick to network television?
Tina Fey: Well, I think the Web is, you know, things like YouTube and stuff are absolutely where a lot of younger people are watching their TV on iTunes in the Web and YouTube, whatever. So, I think it's an important place to have a presence. I mean, obviously I think you have to prioritize making the actual show good first. But we've got some ideas that we are really (in tune) for the Web site, so I hope (unintelligible).
Tina, we don't see sketches in the first episode but we do get a sense of what some of the sketches are about; there's the recurring morbidly obese woman character... it looked like the cat lady was probably a recurring character as well, 30 Rock, I mean, Studio 60 does this too, do they have a (crack) - peripheral vision man in the first episode. There's a sense that you're kind of biting the hand that's fed you for nine years but are you also biting your own hand, are you going to be taking (jabs) at some of the mistakes you made on Saturday Night Live?
Tina Fey: No, I really don't think we will because that's when - you know, there's this thing that I learned from the pilot is, I think all that's in the pilot is okay but I feel like, yeah, maybe less writing about writing sort of not - doesn't interest me so much. And, you know, I feel like I, maybe could get away with - if you feel like I'm (unintelligible) SNL, at least it's like my own family, so hopefully no one will get mad about it.
But, yeah, I think, it's not really - I mean, it's interesting because we try to make up a (fake) sketch to be within a show. It's inherently reductive. It feels like you have to make up something that sounds like the name of a sketch. So, it's sort of just shrinks everything. And so, I think we probably won't do it too much.
I think it's just an insane coincidence. I mean, for me, it's certainly it's coming out of the world a very specific workplace and Kevin Riley encouraging me to write about my own life and I want to know if (unintelligible). He encourage me to do that but for me, it's just the world that I know and I love to try to spring to life to people and, you know, situations about their lives.
I guess in am essay question was - should have, "Why do you think it's taking so long?"
Tina Fey: Oh, I think a lot - well, you know, there have been other shows, other (unintelligible) as (Larry Standard) which is the Late Night World, it's a talk show that - and I think (Sam Levinson) years ago did a pilot that was - I've never seen it but it was a similar kind of premise. I don't know, there definitely have been other attempts.
And also - it's like in your head like how long has it been on the air, and when...
Tina Fey: Well, actually, it tells you that something we sort of adjusted with the pilot because originally in the pilot, we had a beat if it was on the air - is the air very long? And we sort of took that out because I thought - I decided that it was just too much confusing - confusion. So I think it's in my head anyway, I think it's been on for about a season.
I think, you know, in my head, I think the character of Jenna maybe did a show that was all the rage and acts and comedy festival and we got a deal with NBC and this is what we did. And also I think we're - we've moved to show vaguely into late night again. We're avoiding the same time slot only because there is no, on NBC Real Network, there is no open late night time slot. So we're just sort of late on Friday somewhere.
Okay. And, Jane, can you talk about a little bit what you're character's relationship is with Tracy's character as, you know, there is that - your sort of reactions started at the very end of the pilot?
Jane Krakowski: Yes. Well, Tracy is a movie start who's brought in by Alec's character to be the new star of the Girlie Show which they then renamed. Basically Tracy's character is such a charismatic figure that he - because of Alec's character is demanding so it takes over the show, and then I become sort of a bit more of an insecure actress hoping that our show isn't taken away from her and needing the reassurance of her best friend and long time working partner, Liz Lemon, Tina's character to be assured that her position is safe.
What I love, I think, Tracy's character is one of the freshest characters I've seen written on TV. And I love this character so much and we've - because we've filmed up to about Episode 5 now, we've done so many fun scenes together. We're so opposites, our characters from each other, that the hilarity that can ensue when we're together is great fun.
I was wondering what you think about TV comedy today, as far as the appearance of so many single camera sitcoms? And how did that affect your sort of creative process for 30 Rock?
Tina Fey: Well, it definitely seems like the single camera sitcom is that - is the current trend, isn't it. And I think the nice thing about it is you can do a lot of different kinds of jokes, you can do smaller jokes, you can have a more of a subtlety of performance, I think. I mean, I've never been on a multi-camera sitcom but you can change up the rhythm because I know there's - you sort of have set up punch lines, set up punch lines, set up punch lines on a
And it almost seems like Will & Grace was at the last of the thriving
multi-cameras and now they're gone. But if you look at shows like Arrested Development, they can just - they can move so much faster and you can get so many more jokes in an episode.
Okay. And then, just kind of for both of you along the same lines, just - what would you say your favorite comedy is today on TV?
Tina Fey: My favorite -- this is Tina -- my favorite is The Office.
Jane Krakowski: Yeah, this is Jane and I would say The Office as well. I did like Arrested Development as well but it's no longer on so the new one would be bumped up to The Office.
I'm doing well. I want to know is Liz going to have a love life?
Tina Fey: She sure is. It's starting at Episode 3. But I can tell you it's not going to go well. No, but we are going get into everyone's personal life pretty quick.
All right. Well how is the love of your life -- your daughter?
Tina Fey: She's excellent. She was just visiting before this call. She is delightful.
My question is directed to Tina. I just have one question that's sort of open-ended. But going back to like the sort of (unintelligible) like feminist-driven shows and stuff, it seems like you like to poke (unintelligible) in American societies. Yet, you know, you like (unintelligible) glasses and you were a named a sex symbol in 2003 by (unintelligible) Magazine...
Tina Fey: A what? Okay, that's good. I didn't know that.
Oh, okay. Yeah, I found that online. But I think I'm always wondering what you thought about like your audience evolving right now, is the American public changing their perceptions of like what they like to do on television.
Tina Fey: Oh, in terms of like SNL audience or like...
Tina Fey: ...on all of America.
...the rows of women.
Tina Fey: What women? I mean I - my hope is that women, you know, I want to see women on TV that reflect them, that are - that have their intelligence and have their same problems and situations and that, you know, that are believable, that aren't - I'm definitely hoping people don't want to see women that are super duper worked out because I can't really bring that and I don't have big boobs. But I'm hoping, yeah, that as we portray (unintelligible), we portray them truthfully and accurately that people will be into that.
Tina, do you ever see something happen in the news and you think, "God, I think wish I just had one more weekend, then we can update?"
Tina Fey: Yes, sometimes. Nothing specific lately but a lot of times at SNL until we be off the whole summer and crazy stuff would happen during the summer and then I couldn't believe we were off. Martha Stewart got arrested in summer, (unintelligible).
And that's - are you like, "Darn, I wish we were working."
Tina Fey: Yeah.
And do you get up sometimes and think, you know, and The Saturday Night Live I wish you know...
Tina Fey: Well, it's funny we're shooting, right, we're shooting in (Rockson Plaza) today and I feel a little homesick today because it's so beautiful here and it's a gorgeous day and it's just a beautiful landmark building and everyone else that has snow is starting work today.
Tina Fey: So it's a little weird, yeah.
Is it tough to be - being a new mom too with all that's going on?
Tina Fey: It's tough. I know I think every working mom probably feels the same thing which is you go through big chunks of time where you just go and like, "This is impossible."
How much of Tracy's character is inspired by Dave Chapelle?
Tina Fey: Well, I won't say that I don't know Dave, I'm - like barely ever met him but I do know Tracy. And so, I would say that it's primarily Tracy if Tracy were (nuts)...
Tina Fey: ...more than anybody else. But I think anything any celebrity does, let alone African-American celebrity, anything anybody does is going to be fair game for Tracy to do. Maybe Tracy will leave a bag with a $1 million of jewelry in the airport. I don't know.
Will the Girlie Show have like celebrity guests or guest hosts?
Tina Fey: I don't think it will.
Tina, if you could a little bit about how your schedule compares when you were on Saturday Night Live to how it is now? Do you have more free time or less free time?
Tina Fey: I actually have less free time... because this is filming, it's more like a film-based or (unintelligible), like this morning I left the house at 5:15. And I'll go home tonight maybe 8:00 or 9:00. Whereas at SNL I could be home, you know, all day until the late afternoon... with the baby and then roll in the evening. It's a nice thing that I do have normal weekends...
Are you seriously considering doing both shows at the same time?
Tina Fey: You know, there was a window of time, you know, a couple of years ago when we were all in the planning stages, and we thought, "Well, (unintelligible) coming on Saturday and do updates." And I think if I didn't have my daughter, I would be stupid enough to be trying to do that... but it - having a kid is an instant perspective and priority adjustment.
I just wanted to ask you personally both your relationship with him and how he, other than the obvious ways that he's benefited your career, what kind of sort of personal advice has he given you both on Saturday Night Live and in this new venture? And how he's helped you out?
Tina Fey: I mean, the stuff that I've learned from Lorne is exponential, it's - you know, I've watched what a great producer does and just the way he run things and even just the way he has set up his own world. He's a great lifestyle coach, Lorne. He's got a really great laugh and he's always encouraging you, he'll always baby you, you know.
"You should buy a summer house," you know like, "Yeah, I should. You're right. I don't have the money but you're totally right." He's really - he wants you to succeed and he wants you to live a great life and he's - you know, he wants everyone to get rich, (unintelligible) in that way.
Great. And did he ever say he was going to ask you, workplace comedies, you know except for Cheers and Taxi, there weren't about many for a long time there. Sitcoms were all sort of family-centered and I wonder has the office been part of the reason why we're seeing workplace comedies now, office sitcom needs and...
Tina Fey: Maybe, yeah. Maybe the office is bringing it back around. I know for me I just felt that I wanted to write a workplace comedy, I knew that from the beginning because my work was such an enormous part of my life. As much as I love, I was a big fan of Sex in the City; that was not my life. I couldn't even attempt to write that because I, you know, that I've never did it, it's kind of like. So, all I knew about was going to work, the people at work, how do you get along with people at work. So for me, that was - it was sort of my own situation.
I was wondering, Tina, what is the reality, what goes on behind this tone event? Is it more funny like your show or is it more like a dramady, that you know, more drama, the reality of behind the scene.
Tina Fey: The reality is that you know, it's not so serious as there are moments of when you do (unintelligible) there maybe moments of panic but you, you know, that something's not ready or how are we going to get this done but if everyone that works in shows like this has a great sense of humor, everyone. So it's not just the writers and the cast but the crew, you know, and it's definitely it's a joy to work in a place like that because it's not a super serious environment at all. And also, it seems the Girlie Show behind the scenes seems a little less busy than a show like SNL would be. I mean, how do you decide how many regulars you're going to have in your sitcom?
It's tricky. I mean, we have I think actually a very large ensemble for us to come, I think we're getting away with murder. I thank NBC for letting me hire all these actors. And so we've kind of been thinking that at least with the Girlie Show, that you can see is that people you - if there were (unintelligible) it's just a show or sort of writer performers... it's sort of the way you have it a show like Conan O'Brien or something where there are writers that you would be in beat (unintelligible).
And just quickly, Jane, it looks as if your character and Jack's are going to have a particularly interesting dynamic. And he's obviously able to hone in on people's vulnerabilities. Can you talk a little bit about that - the relationship?
Jane Krakowski: Yeah. Well, I think, you know, Jenna is of course an actress and is always trying to get as much airtime as she can and as much self-promotion. So, if, you know, any sort of boss and certainly I think in this particular case, a male figure, she would like to get to know as much as possible.
For me personally, I just love working with Alec, I think he is such a - he's got a genius character on the show and he's a huge figure in the show. And so, as many scenes as - I think we all love to have scenes with him. So, it'll be interesting to see what carries on down the line with that relationship, with all the relationships.
Even though there are so many characters, they all do get to interact with each other and what you haven't seen (unintelligible) what's wonderful about Episode 2 and what I love so much when I first read it was that we all are in half of the episode together... and not only for the actors in the show, but also for the good of the show. It's such a great bonding experience and it was so wonderful for us to have it because on television, you're so separate. You can actually not see characters or no characters that you don't work with.
So, it was - I thought it was very smart of Tina and the writers to do that for the good of the people that are really on the show but also just to have - for the audience to see all the actors interplay together because it's a great group of (eclectic) people.
Tina Fey: Yes, a group - a big group of weirdoes.
With all these talk about the revised pilot, it seems like you have your first DVD extra already set. Have you started thinking any about doing a DVD set of the first season?
Tina Fey: We should be so lucky; I hope that all works out. We're going to have some good uptake to be able to do that but with a lot of cursing in them. A lot of (unintelligible) people on the set.
Jane Krakowski: This is Jane. But there's so much stuff that we shot that's so good but they can't make it within the time restrain of the half an hour show so it'll be labeled as sort of a bonus CD later; many, hilarious laugh moments.
Tina Fey: Yeah, a prime time half hour is really short though.
And, Tina, did you train your own replacement for update?
Tina Fey: I did not. I'm going to tune this week just like anybody else and check it out.
Yeah, Tina, I'm interested in the writing process and how much was complete, you know, the (unintelligible) and creativity and that's what made it on air and how many kind of revisions and nip and tucks you might have done to, let's say, the pilot or subsequent episodes?
Tina Fey: How sort of how that process went?
Yeah. How the - whether as a writer, you're the kind of the writer that, you know, doesn't go through many revisions in the first draft as the one that makes it.
Tina Fey: No, I enjoy revisions of pilot, just sort of revise forever because it was me by myself and it was written over like literally a couple of years because I just kept changing it and it's been shaved a few times, and it's really nice right now, now that I have actual other - have a writing staff, we're arranged (unintelligible) including me and it's great to be able to sit with a room full of people and break stories.
That's the one thing - one of the things I learned at SNL is it's great to be able to - doesn't know shame and go into writers and shopping jokes and improving things. It's a very viable skill to be able to steal the best time from everybody else and put it all together. I think you get a better product that way than when you whole up by yourself.
You feel you're a better writer today than you were, let's say five years ago?
Tina Fey: Yes. I do. I feel like I've learned a lot. I've, I mean I've written lots and lots and lots of comedy sketches and then you get so much on the job training at SNL. I think the most important thing a writer can do is have your material be read and seen by people and you (unintelligible).
30 Rock debuts on NBC on Wednesday, October 11 from 8:00 to 8:30 p.m..