Emily White ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff
On September 28, Saturday Night Live alum, fan favorite, writer extraordinaire, and comedic pioneer returns to the late night show to host the season’s first episode. In honor of her return, here are just ten of Tina Fey’s many memorable moments from her long and very un-Blergh-y comedic career. And remember, in the words of Fey’s 30 Rock alter ego, Liz Lemon, “there ain’t no party like a Liz Lemon party, because a Liz Lemon party is mandatory.” So read up!
10. “I want to go to there”
Liz Lemon’s catchphrase for anything awesome pretty accurately describes all my feelings about Fey’s upcoming appearance on SNL and all her past work. It was originally inspired by Fey’s young daughter, Alice, and then brought onto 30 Rock in the mouth of a sober adult woman.
9. Coming onto Justin Bieber on SNL sketch “Teacher”
Only Fey could make fun of heartthrob pop star Justin Bieber in a slightly creepy way without seeming creepy at all. In this sketch Fey plays a frustrated teacher who fantasizes about her overly sweet student, “Jason,” played by Bieber, in a way that simultaneously makes fun of obsessed teen girl “Beliebers,” overworked teachers, and Bieber himself. This is the kind of social mockery that makes Fey so popular.
8. Rapping on Childish Gambino (Donald Glover)’s mixtape
Former 30 Rock writer, Community star, and rapper Donald Glover (rap alter ego “Childish Gambino”), who got his start working under Fey for 30 Rock has shot to fame in the last few years. Fey is featured on the song “Real Estate” on his latest mixtape, with a brief but hilarious rap cameo that is filled with swears but also Fey’s trademark political classiness. Fey knows how to cross lines without breaking them. And apparently now knows how to rap! (Caution: Video contains explicit language.)
7. Liz Lemon’s relationship with boss Jack Donaghy on “30 Rock”
The friendship between Liz Lemon and her mentor Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) on 30 Rock has been debated by fans and critics throughout the show’s run. But Fey deftly and strongly maintains a firmly platonic relationship between these two opposites that makes the show so endearing. TV shows, especially comedies, tend to have an expectation for the main characters to become romantically involved. However, by challenging stereotypes through her ridiculous Liz Lemon character Fey again makes strides for the face of comedy and media.
6. Hosting the Golden Globes with Amy Poehler in 2013
Perhaps one of the best hosting jobs of any award show (and definitely the best paring), oftentimes partners with amazing comedic chemistry Fey and Poehler reunite to make fun of everybody attending the Golden Globes that year – including themselves. Their witty banter left no Hollywood stone unturned, and even was so bold as to make serious jabs at several individuals. Memorable quotes from the night include: “Anne Hathaway you gave a stunning performance in ‘Les Miserables.’ I have not seen someone so totally alone abandoned like that…since you were onstage with James Franco at the Oscars,” referring to Hathaway and Franco’s own (highly unsuccessful) turn at award-show hosting. This jab also made Fey and Poehler’s hosting one notch higher. Check out there opening monologue:
5. Her autobiography “Bossypants”
Fey’s autobiography is literally a laugh-out-loud success. Painfully and hilariously honest about herself while keeping any hurtful or overly revealing secrets about others classily glossed over, it has caused many a joyful public burst of laughter on trains and in libraries around the country. It is a must-read for any aspiring comedic writer, especially since it also gives insider insight and tips into the world of comedy writing and the alien planet that is SNL.
4. Tina Fey on “Weekend Update”
Fey was the first female co-host of “Weekend Update” on SNL since Jane Curtin in the 1970s when she joined the table with Jimmy Fallon in 2000. After that, she and Amy Poehler became the first all-female team of co-anchors on the segment. More a writer than a performer for SNL, Fey also wrote a great deal of the dialogue on the segment while she was a co-host, and the segment was arguably at its peak while she did so.
3. Liz Lemon on “30 Rock”
After SNL, Fey broke ground for female comics, writers, and women in general with her turn as Liz Lemon in the show 30 Rock, for which she was also head writer. The show ended its seven season run this past year and has succeeded in cleverly and hilariously portraying a female lead so opposite to the standards of beauty and success for women in entertainment. Lemon works in the male-dominated comedy industry with an admirable lack of poise and grace that is somehow always endearing. Fey introduced us to not only a hilariously quotable and zany character, but also a more realistic role model for young female comics and writers to look up to. And we got some great catchphrases along the way. “BLERGH!” is still shouted by many in response to many a frustration.
2. Mean Girls
Fey’s hit 2004 movie which starred Lindsay Lohan (pre-scandals), Rachel McAdams, and a then-undiscovered Amanda Seyfried, as well as included appearances by SNL alums Amy Poehler, Tim Meadows, Ana Gasteyer, and Fey herself, is still heralded as one of the best comedies of the post-millennium age. Written by Fey, it is constantly quoted in everyday life and succeeded in propelling several of its actors to relative success, if not fame. It is also notable for being not only a hilarious romantic comedy but also a clever and biting satire on the jungle-like and vicious atmosphere of high school social existence. “Four for you, Glenn Coco! You go, Glenn Coco!”
1. Tina Fey as Sarah Palin During the 2008 Election Year
Fey’s reappearance on SNL after her departure as a series regular during the 2008 presidential election not only garnered media attention, critical acclaim, and high ratings, but it also may have actually influenced the results of the election. According to several university-run studies, voters’ opinions about Republican vice-presidential candidate may have changed due to their exposure to her flaws as demonstrated by Fey. What made her portrayal so amusing and yet so subversively derisive was how much Fey actually stuck to the (ridiculous) truth that actually came out of Palin’s mouth. Oh, and it didn’t hurt that Fey looks so much like Palin that others commented that the real Palin had “Tina Fey glasses” rather than vice versa.