30 Rock's live episode kills by becoming the shortest Saturday Night Live in history
Here's how Tina Fey and Co. built the funniest 30 Rock episode in history; by turning Thursday's live episode into the shortest Saturday Night Live in history.
Staged on the SNL set in New York, backed by the SNL band, former SNL head writer Fey built a sidesplitting show around lead character Liz Lemon's 40th birthday and amazing cameos by everyone from Matt Damon and Jon Hamm to Rachel Dratch and Julia Louis-Dreyfus (as Liz Lemon in funny flashbacks).
The West Coast version of the show, performed at 11:30 p.m. eastern time, wasn't nearly as smooth, perhaps because all the nervous energy had been used up on the earlier performance for East Coast viewers. Star Tracy Morgan in particular made the kind of mistakes critics remembered from his SNL days, stumbling over his lines and searching desperately for cue cards at the edge of the stage.
"Does it seem weird in here to you?" Alec Baldwin's narcissistic TV executive Jack Donagy quipped at the episode's start. "Everything looks like a Mexican soap opera."
Fey's secret weapon: keeping the jokes flying so furiously -- including Morgan showing off his ample belly during an Oprah skit -- you didn't have time to realize how giddly, smartly stupid it all is (if you missed it, check out NBC.com for both East and West Coast versions). Somebody needs to consider doing this every week. On Thursdays and Saturdays.
When NBC allows, I'll embed the episode here. until then, check out some other stuff around the episode: