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SoNowThen

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Tina Fey -- I love you
« Reply #210 on: October 30, 2003, 06:01:11 PM »
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somebody post it, please
Those who say that the totalitarian state of the Soviet Union was not "real" Marxism also cannot admit that one simple feature of Marxism makes totalitarianism necessary:  the rejection of civil society. Since civil society is the sphere of private activity, its abolition and replacement by political society means that nothing private remains. That is already the essence of totalitarianism; and the moralistic practice of the trendy Left, which regards everything as political and sometimes reveals its hostility to free speech, does nothing to contradict this implication.

When those who hated capital and consumption (and Jews) in the 20th century murdered some hundred million people, and the poster children for the struggle against international capitalism and America are now fanatical Islamic terrorists, this puts recent enthusiasts in an awkward position. Most of them are too dense and shameless to appreciate it, and far too many are taken in by the moralistic and paternalistic rhetoric of the Left.

godardian

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Tina Fey -- I love you
« Reply #211 on: October 30, 2003, 06:05:36 PM »
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ANCHOR WOMAN
by Virginia Heffernan
Tina Fey rewrites late-night comedy.
Issue of 2003-11-03
Posted 2003-10-27


On a Monday afternoon last spring, at a diner in Manhattan, Tina Fey recalled her first days on the job at “Saturday Night Live.” She told me, “I’d had my eye on the show forever, the way other kids have their eye on Derek Jeter.” As we were talking, a man in his twenties, with wild tufts of dark hair, stopped by our table, which was near the soda fountain. Over the roar of a blender, he shouted to Fey, “Can I tell you that you are amazing? I don’t want to interrupt, but you are truly, truly amazing!” Fey thanked him, staring down at her plate. When her admirer retreated, she grinned. “Most of the time you’re too busy to think about it,” she told me. “But every now and then you say, ‘I work at “Saturday Night Live,” and that is so cool.’”

Fey joined the show six years ago, when Lorne Michaels, the creator and executive producer, summoned her from Chicago, where she was working at Second City, the comedy troupe. After twenty years on the air, “S.N.L.” had suffered several seasons of declining ratings. Fey was known as a versatile performer with a broad range and a gift for satire, but Michaels wanted her to write for the show.

She started work in an office on the seventeenth floor of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, NBC’s headquarters, which offered a view of the Empire State Building. She missed Chicago, but “S.N.L.”’s backstage dynamics inspired her. “In that comfort zone, we say the meanest kind of things,” she explained. “If you want to make an audience laugh, you dress a man up like an old lady and push her down the stairs. If you want to make comedy writers laugh, you push an actual old lady down the stairs.” In 1999, Michaels invited Fey to become a head writer, and the following year she began performing in sketches and on “Weekend Update.”

In addition to being the first woman to hold the title of head writer at “S.N.L.,” Fey is also the first female performer to become the face of a show that other female comics, including the original cast members Jane Curtin and Laraine Newman, have cited for frat-house hoo-ha. Janeane Garofalo, who was briefly on the show in the mid-nineties (during what she described in the “S.N.L.” oral history, “Live from New York,” as “the year of fag-bashing and using the words ‘bitch’ and ‘whore’ in a sketch”), calls the current period “the Tina Fey regime,” and its reforms impress her. “I’m assuming somebody has come in and done an exorcism,” she says. Audiences and critics have responded well to Fey’s influence. In 2001, Fey and the writing team won a Writers Guild Award for “Saturday Night Live: The 25th Anniversary Special.” Last year, the show won an Emmy for outstanding writing, its first in that category since 1989. And this season “S.N.L.” is once again attracting more viewers than any other late-night show, including the “Tonight Show” with Jay Leno and “Late Show with David Letterman.”


Fey began performing on the show after Michaels saw her onstage in a sketch that she had put together with Rachel Dratch, an “S.N.L.” performer, at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, in Chelsea, and proposed that she audition to co-anchor “Weekend Update” with Jimmy Fallon. Unlike Fey, Fallon—a boisterous, clownish figure—had started out as a standup comic, but they got along well, and viewers liked their priss-and-goof routine. On a Saturday afternoon last spring, Fey, Fallon, and Michael Shoemaker, one of the show’s producers, along with the writers Doug Abeles, Charlie Grandy, and Michael Schur, who produces “Update,” milled around a table in a conference room, as they do every Saturday afternoon of the television season, for a meeting they refer to as “bagel times.” The writers “call down the jokes,” reading through a dozen topical one-liners to be delivered during the three-minute segment. “Bagel times” is their last opportunity to convene before the dress rehearsal that precedes the live broadcast, which that week featured Salma Hayek as the host and Christina Aguilera as the musical guest. “Update” is always the last element of the show that the writers work on, and, except for the “feature” interludes, in which guests stop by the news desk—that night Hayek appeared as a buxom sidekick to a Latino showman—Fey and Fallon don’t formally rehearse.

The writers were trying to come up with a joke about the Dixie Chicks, whose lead singer had slighted President Bush. Doug Abeles read the setup: “While in London on Thursday, the Dixie Chicks angered country-music fans when lead singer Natalie Maines told the audience, ‘Just so you know, we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas.’” Fey squinted, as if detecting a quip in the distance. She is slight, with bright eyes, fine features, and thick brown hair. A white scar runs up her left cheek. (She has had the scar since childhood but she hates to discuss it.) Wearing a shabby green cardigan, Levi’s, and sneakers, she was eating a bagel out of which she had scooped most of the soft bread. “We apologize,” she suddenly declared. “We forgot that our entire fan base were hillbillies and idiots.” Everyone chuckled except Shoemaker, who pointed out that Dixie Chicks fans were people like his wife. Fey agreed, without apology, and the group moved on to a joke about a man who swallowed a diamond ring in order to ask his proctologist to marry him.

Fey peered at a monitor that showed performers rehearsing the night’s routines in a studio downstairs. Hayek was swooning in a mock Mexican soap opera. Fey grimaced. “That sketch is in peril,” she said. A premise for another joke came up. A summer camp in northern Virginia trains preteen girls to be models, someone explained; they learn makeup, hair, and runway techniques. At the end of the summer, the writers proposed, the camp would donate the best little model to. . . someone. Tommy Lee? Kid Rock? Everyone looked stumped.

Fallon abruptly turned to me. “Name someone who dates supermodels,” he commanded. Then he bellowed, “Give me five names! Give me five!”

“Rod Stewart?” I said.

No one laughed except Fey, who giggled happily.

“Do you really think that’s funny?” Fallon asked, turning to her.

“Nah,” she said. “I’m just trying to make her feel better.”

The other writers and performers defer to Fey. “If she laughs, everyone’s laughing,” Fallon told me. Fey writes two comedy sketches each week, and runs one of two pivotal and often ego-bruising “rewrite tables” every Thursday. (Dennis McNicholas, the show’s other head writer, runs the other table.) And she is one of a small group of writers and producers who decide which sketches will air, as well as which writers get to join the staff. During the past few seasons, Fey has seen to it that the female performers (Amy Poehler, Rachel Dratch, and Maya Rudolph) play recurring, center-stage parts. Poehler and Dratch also write prolifically, often in collaboration with the staff writers Emily Spivey and Paula Pell. (Only three of the show’s twenty full-time writers are women, but two of them, Fey and Pell, have senior positions.) Dratch told me, “I love writing with Tina, but I’m always so self-conscious.” Poehler said, “Tina likes to be at the top of the mountain, keeping an eye on things.” And yet, at the read-through, at least in my presence, Fey was considerate and accessible. She solicited a range of opinions, paid earnest compliments, and showed political convictions about international law and the consequences of jingoism. (America’s current troubles make Fey miss the previous Administration: “The Clinton years were the best of times,” she told me. “Because there was a nonviolent, giant, sexy scandal. And I long for a return to those times every day.”) Only every now and then did she turn to a writer and say something like “Jesus, how long did it take you to come up with that?”

Still searching for a punch line about the Dixie Chicks, Schur suggested that an analogy might work. Abeles, a friendly, lanky man in his late thirties, stepped up. “No one has alienated their fan base this much since Jenna Jameson stopped doing anal,” he offered. People laughed politely, and someone hooted; everyone knew the line would stall at the department of Standards and Practices. Fey, who seemed to have momentarily lost interest, skimmed an article in the Post. (She gets most of her news from CNN and a packet of newspaper clips that the show’s staff prepares for her.) Soon afterward, the meeting adjourned, and Fey headed downstairs to the run-through of the sketches. Schur appointed Abeles and Grandy to solve the Dixie Chicks puzzle by dress rehearsal. Later, no one could say who came up with the punch line, but at airtime it ran: “If you’d like to hear more of what Natalie Maines has to say, check out the new government wiretap on all of her phones.” The audience seemed to like it.


Fey’s first comedy job was as the anonymous author of a column in the Acorn, the Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, high-school newspaper. She was born in Upper Darby, a middle-class suburb of Philadelphia, in May, 1970, when it was home to many Greek- and Italian-Americans. Fey’s mother is Greek-American and her father is German-Scottish, but she’s wary of claiming an ethnic identity. “I’ve said a few things about being Greek, and now every Greek organization wants to adopt me,” Fey told me. She admired her parents: her father for his integrity and his versatility (he has worked as a paramedic, a grant writer, and a mystery novelist) and her mother—a homemaker who spent her evenings playing poker—for her wit. She has one sibling, an older brother, Peter, who is a Web-site editor at QVC, the home-shopping network. As children, they did comedy routines together. Peter remembers a drawing that Tina made when she was about seven: it showed people walking down the street holding hands with wedges of Swiss cheese, and the caption read, “What a friend we have in cheeses!”

Fey wrote her high-school column as “the Colonel”—an acorn pun. She says that the column was “about school policy and teachers. I remember I got busted because I was trying to say that something would ‘go down in the annals of history,’ but it was a double-entendre with ‘anal’ and I didn’t get away with it.” Her sense of humor, however, didn’t make her cool. Instead, she was a straight-A student who packed her schedule with extracurricular activities, including the newspaper and choir. She has a soft but precise singing voice.

High-school social dynamics still fascinate Fey, who has written a screenplay about teen-agers for Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video Motion Pictures, whose offices are at Paramount Pictures. Currently in production in Toronto (starring Lindsay Lohan and directed by Mark S. Waters, both of “Freaky Friday”), Fey’s “Mean Girls” tells the story of a girl named Cady, who, having been home-schooled, enters her junior year in a public high school knowing nothing about cliques, makeup, dating, dieting, lying to her parents, or betraying her friends. She learns. The movie is based on a parenting book called “Queen Bees & Wannabes,” by Rosalind Wiseman; Fey was impressed by Wiseman’s characterization of girls’ inhumanity to girls. “Girls are capable of spending a lot of time with someone and hating them,” Fey explained to me.

This is a topic that she knows something about. “I was a mean girl,” she told me, recalling that she used to ridicule wayward classmates, reserving particular scorn for kids who drank, cut school, overdressed, or slept around. She has a hard time explaining her motives—“It’s a defense mechanism”—but her hostility persisted after she enrolled at the University of Virginia. “When I was eighteen or nineteen, that was all that I was, caustic,” she says. She started out as an English major but switched to theatre and settled into the life of a “drama geek.” On a campus renowned for keg parties, she refused to drink. In her second year, she remained in student housing, even though most of her classmates moved off campus; she preferred to be close to Culbreth, the university’s theatre. “I used to do a monologue from a one-act play by Tennessee Williams called ‘This Property Is Condemned,’” Fey told me. “And, I have to say, I was pretty good.” In 1992, her last year of college, she played Sally Bowles in “Cabaret.”

After graduation, Fey moved to Chicago; Second City’s reputation as an improv Mecca had piqued her interest, because, as she told me, “I knew it was where a lot of ‘S.N.L.’ people had started.” She hung around acting workshops and, at one point, held a job as the child-care registrar at the Y.M.C.A. before she was invited to join the troupe, in 1994. Her work was eclectic in form: monologues, sketches, one-acts. That same year, she met Jeff Richmond, a piano player at an improv school, who would later become her husband. Richmond is a levelheaded Ohioan, whose humor is more antic than cutting, and Fey believes that he is good for her character. Richmond described his first glimpse of Fey, whom he saw doing improv: “I don’t want to say she was funny ‘for a woman,’ but there were so many talented men there at the time, and then suddenly there was Tina, who was so funny—and she was at home with all those boys on the stage.” (Three years after Fey left Chicago, Richmond joined her in New York, where—on his own merits, the people at “S.N.L.” take care to point out—he, too, was eventually hired by the show, to compose music for sketches.) In June of 1997, at the suggestion of Adam McKay, a former Second City player who was then the head writer at “S.N.L.,” Fey sent some scripts to Lorne Michaels. In August, Michaels called her to New York. Though she had applied for the job, she had some qualms about taking it. She was twenty-seven, and she was finally doing what she loved: improvisational comedy, eight shows a week. She told Amy Poehler, whom she knew from the Chicago comedy scene, that she dreaded leaving Second City and moving away from Richmond. Poehler asked her how much money she would be making in New York. When Fey named the figure, Poehler laughed. “I think you should take the job,” she said.


The cast members of “Saturday Night Live” are recruited from standup acts and from three comedy farm teams that tend to define the comedians they produce. The writer-performers from Second City (Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, Rachel Dratch, Amy Poehler, Horatio Sanz) are known for their aesthetic perfectionism. “They’re tangled up in their own integrity,” as Fey puts it. The performers who come from the Groundlings, an improv troupe in Los Angeles (Laraine Newman, Chris Farley, Will Ferrell, Julia Sweeney, Maya Rudolph, Chris Kattan), create vivid and eccentric characters. The writers who worked at the Harvard Lampoon (Dennis McNicholas, Michael Schur, Conan O’Brien) tend to emphasize the conceptual premise of a sketch. While each of the fifteen performers on “S.N.L.” is expected to write (or risk getting no parts), some take to it more naturally than others. Fey characterizes certain kinds of Groundlings jokes, and especially Harvard Lampoon humor, as peculiarly male, founded in boyhood fantasies. “She’s Chicago,” Jimmy Fallon explains. “Dennis is Harvard. She’d do more jokes about having sex with a hobo, and he’d do more jokes about robots and sharks.” Fey has contributed to a mostly friendly rivalry between the competing sensibilities, conceding that “the Lampoon people are very smart, obviously—they’re helpful to have around.”

Fey herself tinkers with a line’s inflections and implications in a way that befits a Second City alumna. The details of human behavior—minor notes of pomposity, say, in apparently self-effacing speech—make her laugh, and she knows how to introduce those notes into sketches. She also knows how to update existing comic conceits subtly: when Billy Crystal reprised his Fernando character for the show’s twenty-fifth-anniversary broadcast, in 1999, Fey surprised longtime staff members by learning the Fernando voice (“You look mahvellous”) and writing jokes that suited it.

On “Update” she periodically slides into the kind of easy world-weariness that is associated with Jan Hooks, who is one of the former cast members that Fey most admires. At other times, she uses broad self-mockery and caricature, which recalls Gilda Radner’s work, although when Fey claims in jokes that she can’t get a date she’s hard to believe. In fact, she may be alone among contemporary female comics in appearing, above all, distant and aloof—an object of desire.

Gender has been Fey’s ace since she arrived at “S.N.L.”—one recent sketch dramatized the barbarism of bikini waxing, and another cast Barbie as a fading beauty living with a gay man in Southern California—and she has spoofed stereotypes of women while taking on formerly neglected subjects, such as infertility, sexual abuse, and plastic surgery. When a male staff member asked Fey, who had just written a sketch that imagined a world in which old black ladies were Hollywood trophy wives, if her sketches were “anti-woman,” she told him that the show’s business was to make fun of people, and if it didn’t make fun of women the female performers would have no parts to play. Now she has found a way of playing sexism for laughs, of telling audiences, “I can say this, but you can’t.”

Although Fey is credited with bringing moral authority to the set—the black-rimmed glasses she wears on “Update” add to this impression—she has also made the show more lewd. Raw humor has long been a part of Fey’s repertoire. (She once wrote a piece for a workshop in Chicago that featured Catherine the Great complaining about life’s inequity: “You can be a murderous tyrant and the world will remember you fondly. But fuck one horse and you’re a horse-fucker for all eternity.”) And since she became a head writer the words “whore” and “bitch” have flourished on the show. (After the invasion of Afghanistan, she announced on “Weekend Update,” “For the first time in more than two years, women took off their veils and walked freely in the streets. Those whores.”) Jokes have also become more graphic. “My mom had me when she was forty,” Fey said in a personal aside one night on “Update.” “This was back in the seventies, when the only ‘fertility aid’ was Harveys Bristol Cream. So waiting is just a risk that I’m gonna have to take. And I don’t think I could do fertility drugs, because, to me, six half-pound translucent babies is not a miracle—it’s gross.” On another show, she told the audience, “Female inmates in the United States have been victims of sexual misconduct by corrections employees in every state except Minnesota. So, ladies, if you wanna rob a bank but you don’t want your cooter poked, head to beautiful Minnesota, land of ten thousand lakes.”

Male comics, particularly Bill Murray, Steve Martin, and Colin Quinn, have influenced her, especially with their comic rants—extended monologues shouted straight at the camera. On “Update,” Fey frequently rants about political topics, as in:

President Bush was criticized this week for not having a clear stance on the Middle East crisis. You know what? Good. The only people with a very clear stance on the Middle East are the crazy people in the Middle East. I’ve had it with all of them. Yasir Arafat? Don’t talk to us in English and say, “I agree to a ceasefire,” and then turn around in Arabic and be like, “Hassan, let’s do this.” O.K.? We’re onto you. We’ve got like two bilingual C.I.A. guys now. We know what you’re saying.
And Sharon? When you’re storming West Bank towns and bulldozing people’s homes? Try not to look like ya love it. ’Cause ya kinda look like ya love it.


“What destroys comedy writers,” Lorne Michaels told me, “is when they cling to something.” Fey has won his favor because she will drop ideas that have run dry, such as her once-popular parody of “The View,” ABC’s morning talk show, which featured the catchphrase “I’m a loy-ya.” She also risks new voices. Among these is her “Old French Whore!,” a sketch involving haggard prostitutes who tell stories of revolting, drug-addled nights. The prostitutes are paired on a game show with clean-living Americans, who have to prop up their dissipated, despairing partners. Eventually, one of the Americans says, “I think my whore is dead.”

Offstage, Fey is playful but proper. On the air, her delivery is like a lash—“Hey, kids, it’s the great women of U.S. history! Collect all ten!” or “This is the hardest Bush has worked since that time he tried to walk home from Mardi Gras”—followed by a self-deprecating smile. Nearly all Fey’s colleagues mentioned her ability to be mean and disarming at the same time. I heard her humor variously described as “hard-edged,” “vicious,” and “cruel.” Shoemaker told me, “The fight you have in your head with someone, that you’re never really going to have? . . . I think she plans one every day.”


While I was sitting with Fey one afternoon in a café on Broadway, she admitted that she chronically prepares for the worst, in part by keeping zingers close at hand. But it’s excessive, she realized: “No one’s really coming at you.” She had been reflecting on current events, and I expected to hear her customary tartness, but her voice faltered, and tears slipped down her cheeks. “In New York you get to have little moments of fear every day now,” she said. “Right after September 11th, I thought, We got to get out of here. My dad talked to me about how important it was to go back to work. But it has not been easy. I remember I was writing jokes in my dressing room one Friday. I looked up and there was a guy on MSNBC saying, ‘Anthrax has been found at 30 Rockefeller Center.’ And I thought, I’m fucking in 30 Rockefeller Center. Thirty. Not even 45 Rockefeller Center. You do get the irrational feeling that they are specifically coming for you. And I got up, got my coat, walked out of the building, and I just kept walking. I was very upset. That night, I got a call from Lorne, and he said I was the only person who hadn’t come back.”

Others at “S.N.L.” didn’t know how to respond. “I do have to say that it changed the way we thought about her,” Shoemaker said. “That was the first sign of fragility.” Fey told me that she has been systematically imagining—and rehearsing—a knockdown fight with terrorists. She entered a course of psychodrama, a form of therapy that uses acting techniques to banish sadness, anger, and fear. In sessions, she said, she faces down imaginary terrorists, sometimes represented by chairs. She also punches a pillow that stands in for President Bush. Later, she surprised me again by mentioning that she had once been the victim of a violent street crime.

Her anxiety has shaped her work. On a show in 2001, Fey said, “On Monday, Attorney General John Ashcroft issued a terrorism warning, asking all Americans to be on high alert this week. . . . I think I speak for all Americans when I say, ‘Bitch, I can’t be any more alert than I already am. O.K.?’ I’m opening my mail with salad tongs. I take my passport in the shower with me. I am watching so much CNN I am having sex dreams about Wolf Blitzer.”

Another day, when Fey and I were walking around her neighborhood, on the Upper West Side, a man passing us spat on the sidewalk. When she turned to confront him, he looked up innocently. “Hey, dude!” she shouted. “Get a Kleenex!” The man slunk off in shame, as Fey, shaking her head in disgust, kept complaining. As in her college days, she looks down on misbehavior. “She’s pretty monastic at times,” Amy Poehler told me. “She’s not the first girl to belly-flop into the pool at the pool party. She watches everybody else’s flops and then writes a play about it.” Fey goes out with the cast after the show, but she is self-conscious at parties and careful not to embarrass herself. She’s meticulous about her diet, too. She lost thirty pounds in the year before she went on camera for “Weekend Update,” and she now works out with a trainer and counts the point value of each meal according to the Weight Watchers system. (Earlier this year, People included her in its annual list of most beautiful people. “Don’t mention it,” she told me. “Ride it out.”)

Fey’s rigidity may be connected to her tendency to see the world in stark moral terms. (“She has very definite opinions as to what should be done about terrorists,” Shoemaker said.) At work, Fey tempers her hard-line reputation by playing the nerd—by pretending that she’s unfamiliar with, rather than disdainful of, the ways of the less temperate. Jeff Richmond told me, “I don’t know if she’s judgmental—maybe ‘fascinated.’ Nah, ‘judgmental’ is the right word.” He went on, “She says, ‘Why do people have to drink too much?’ I’ve heard that in reference to—well, me.” She and Richmond, who were married in a Greek Orthodox ceremony in 2001, bought a duplex at the top of a building off Amsterdam Avenue earlier this year. A fluke electrical fire and water from the fire hoses damaged it in the spring, but it has since been fixed up and painted chartreuse, although there’s still not much furniture, besides a piano and an old school table. During her time off, Fey often sews or bakes cookies. “For some reason, I believed Nancy Reagan,” she explained. “I believed that what she said, I should do.”

Lorne Michaels waves off Fey’s classification of herself as a square, and compares it to the tendency of the show’s first cast to claim they were rebels. “This cast is young. They’re ambitious. They pride themselves on being less self-destructive,” he said. “But we didn’t pride ourselves on being self-destructive in the seventies. People were experimenting with freedom. The spirit then was more fraternal than maternal.” He added, “I think that being geeky is just another way of being Holden Caulfield or the Graduate. Comedy people are always outsiders.”


On October 13, 1979, Steve Martin hosted the season première of “Saturday Night Live”—he played the Pope, an aspiring male model, and Carole King’s boyfriend—and nearly half of all television viewers in America tuned in. The show can never expect to do so well again; last season, on average, its share was about thirteen per cent. Still, NBC is pleased: the show rivalled its ratings from seven years ago, when the average viewer had only forty-one channels to choose from. Today, the average is more than a hundred channels per household, and several of the cable stations, especially Comedy Central and HBO, have strong comedy lineups.

This fall, Fey is writing and performing as usual. Earlier this month, she appeared in a parody of “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.” Fey, dressed in pink, played a kittenish suburbanite whose life was made over by no-nonsense lesbians. On “Update,” she seconded Rush Limbaugh’s claim that Donovan McNabb, the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, was praised too highly for his performance because he is black. She said, “Finally, someone has the guts to say what the liberal media doesn’t want you to know: black people are not good at sports.” She also flies to Toronto for a few days each week to work on the set of “Mean Girls.” Having spent the summer on Fire Island rewriting the screenplay, she said she was happy to be “back in an environment of comedy snobbery,” because “it’s better for you.”

Lorne Michaels told me, “There’s a group of people who feel Tina can do no wrong in my eyes. But that’s because she’s just wrong less often than other people.” Michaels went on in this vein for a few minutes, and then abruptly paused to ask a question that nearly everyone I had spoken to about Fey had asked: “What does she say about me?”
""Money doesn't come into it. It never has. I do what I do because it's all that I am." - Morrissey

"Lacan stressed more and more in his work the power and organizing principle of the symbolic, understood as the networks, social, cultural, and linguistic, into which a child is born. These precede the birth of a child, which is why Lacan can say that language is there from before the actual moment of birth. It is there in the social structures which are at play in the family and, of course, in the ideals, goals, and histories of the parents. This world of language can hardly be grasped by the newborn and yet it will act on the whole of the child's existence."

Stay informed on protecting your freedom of speech and civil rights.

SoNowThen

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« Reply #212 on: October 30, 2003, 06:19:44 PM »
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thanks godardian.

damn she's great. that horse fucker line is classic. i gotta watch more snl...
Those who say that the totalitarian state of the Soviet Union was not "real" Marxism also cannot admit that one simple feature of Marxism makes totalitarianism necessary:  the rejection of civil society. Since civil society is the sphere of private activity, its abolition and replacement by political society means that nothing private remains. That is already the essence of totalitarianism; and the moralistic practice of the trendy Left, which regards everything as political and sometimes reveals its hostility to free speech, does nothing to contradict this implication.

When those who hated capital and consumption (and Jews) in the 20th century murdered some hundred million people, and the poster children for the struggle against international capitalism and America are now fanatical Islamic terrorists, this puts recent enthusiasts in an awkward position. Most of them are too dense and shameless to appreciate it, and far too many are taken in by the moralistic and paternalistic rhetoric of the Left.

ono

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« Reply #213 on: October 31, 2003, 04:57:26 PM »
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Excellent article.  Thank you.

And I love Tina Fey.

Kelly Ripa and Outkast on SNL tomorrow night!  And the Regis and Kelly sketch that is no doubt going to be there should be hilarious.

ono

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« Reply #214 on: April 15, 2004, 11:20:58 PM »
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Tina Fey is on Leno right now (4/15 - 4/16), no doubt to talk about Mean Girls.  It'll rerun next week late at night.

pete

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« Reply #215 on: April 15, 2004, 11:22:23 PM »
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get this month's "Written By:", excellent issue with an excellent interview and she talked about her improv day and how she laughs at being sexy and stuff.
“Tragedy is a close-up; comedy, a long shot.”
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bonanzataz

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« Reply #216 on: April 15, 2004, 11:25:52 PM »
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i just realized. tina fey reminds me a lot of my marine bio teacher.
The corpses all hang headless and limp bodies with no surprises and the blood drains down like devil’s rain we’ll bathe tonight I want your skulls I need your skulls I want your skulls I need your skulls Demon I am and face I peel to see your skin turned inside out, ’cause gotta have you on my wall gotta have you on my wall, ’cause I want your skulls I need your skulls I want your skulls I need your skulls collect the heads of little girls and put ’em on my wall hack the heads off little girls and put ’em on my wall I want your skulls I need your skulls I want your skulls I need your skulls

godardian

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« Reply #217 on: April 15, 2004, 11:27:50 PM »
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A rather extensive Q&A w/ Fey by Alec Baldwin in the new Interview (w/ Courtney Love on the cover).
""Money doesn't come into it. It never has. I do what I do because it's all that I am." - Morrissey

"Lacan stressed more and more in his work the power and organizing principle of the symbolic, understood as the networks, social, cultural, and linguistic, into which a child is born. These precede the birth of a child, which is why Lacan can say that language is there from before the actual moment of birth. It is there in the social structures which are at play in the family and, of course, in the ideals, goals, and histories of the parents. This world of language can hardly be grasped by the newborn and yet it will act on the whole of the child's existence."

Stay informed on protecting your freedom of speech and civil rights.

bonanzataz

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« Reply #218 on: April 15, 2004, 11:28:19 PM »
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Quote from: godardian
A rather extensive Q&A w/ Fey by Alec Baldwin in the new Interview (w/ Courtney Love on the cover).


haha. courtney love.
The corpses all hang headless and limp bodies with no surprises and the blood drains down like devil’s rain we’ll bathe tonight I want your skulls I need your skulls I want your skulls I need your skulls Demon I am and face I peel to see your skin turned inside out, ’cause gotta have you on my wall gotta have you on my wall, ’cause I want your skulls I need your skulls I want your skulls I need your skulls collect the heads of little girls and put ’em on my wall hack the heads off little girls and put ’em on my wall I want your skulls I need your skulls I want your skulls I need your skulls

pete

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« Reply #219 on: April 15, 2004, 11:30:07 PM »
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Quote from: bonanzataz
i just realized. tina fey reminds me a lot of my marine bio teacher.


bone her!
“Tragedy is a close-up; comedy, a long shot.”
- Buster Keaton

godardian

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« Reply #220 on: April 15, 2004, 11:37:06 PM »
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Quote from: bonanzataz
Quote from: godardian
A rather extensive Q&A w/ Fey by Alec Baldwin in the new Interview (w/ Courtney Love on the cover).


haha. courtney love.


If you think you're laughing (derisively?) now, you should read the interview. You can never tell when she's being serious or funny (or do the two get transposed in translation out here in the real, non-Courtney world?), which is often a good sign. The interview is much more interesting and entertaining than the album, anyway.

Morrissey just got through saying in the NME that he's hung out with her and "she's not a whole shilling."  :-D
""Money doesn't come into it. It never has. I do what I do because it's all that I am." - Morrissey

"Lacan stressed more and more in his work the power and organizing principle of the symbolic, understood as the networks, social, cultural, and linguistic, into which a child is born. These precede the birth of a child, which is why Lacan can say that language is there from before the actual moment of birth. It is there in the social structures which are at play in the family and, of course, in the ideals, goals, and histories of the parents. This world of language can hardly be grasped by the newborn and yet it will act on the whole of the child's existence."

Stay informed on protecting your freedom of speech and civil rights.

El Duderino

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« Reply #221 on: April 16, 2004, 12:07:18 AM »
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she's on leno
Did I just get cock-blocked by Bob Saget?

SoNowThen

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« Reply #222 on: April 16, 2004, 08:52:22 AM »
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That clip from Mean Girls looked horrible, but Tina was class, as always. Her voice and facial expression on her fake 3-way phone call with Jay and Kevin was tops, as Leno pointed out. "I'm the bitch of comedy" .... hehehe, perfect.
Those who say that the totalitarian state of the Soviet Union was not "real" Marxism also cannot admit that one simple feature of Marxism makes totalitarianism necessary:  the rejection of civil society. Since civil society is the sphere of private activity, its abolition and replacement by political society means that nothing private remains. That is already the essence of totalitarianism; and the moralistic practice of the trendy Left, which regards everything as political and sometimes reveals its hostility to free speech, does nothing to contradict this implication.

When those who hated capital and consumption (and Jews) in the 20th century murdered some hundred million people, and the poster children for the struggle against international capitalism and America are now fanatical Islamic terrorists, this puts recent enthusiasts in an awkward position. Most of them are too dense and shameless to appreciate it, and far too many are taken in by the moralistic and paternalistic rhetoric of the Left.

cine

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« Reply #223 on: April 16, 2004, 09:10:12 AM »
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Fey will be on Conan on April 29th.

Since she actually has a movie to plug, does this mean we won't see one of those dog clips? :cry:

cron

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« Reply #224 on: April 24, 2004, 06:23:19 AM »
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We talk one on one with SNL Weekend Update's lead anchor and the writer of the new biting high school social satire, Mean Girls.

 
April 23, 2004 - Tina Fey has been a writer on Saturday Night Live since 1997. Like many of SNL's writing and performing talents, Fey made her start in Chicago with the renowned Second City comedy troupe. In 1999, Fey became the first female head writer of SNL in the show's 29 years. Two years later, Fey would receive her greatest acclaim as co-anchor of SNL's fake news segment, "Weekend Update."


Fey has become a star with her dry wit and smart-girl good looks. In 2001, along with "Update" co-anchor Jimmy Fallon, Fey was named one of Entertainment Weekly's Entertainers of the Year. Working double duty as continuing head writer on the show, Fey has written such popular sketches as a satire of The View and a skit of particular popularity among New England natives, "Sully and Denise." (Insert Bostonian accent here) Nomaaaaar!!! Fey and the rest of the SNL writing staff took home an Emmy in 2002 and she paired with Rachel Dratch to pen an acclaimed sketch show, Dratch and Fey, at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in New York.

Despite her newfound celebrity status, Fey remains pretty down to Earth. She is married to a guy named Jeff (excellent name choice for a husband) and lives in New York. With Mean Girls, Fey makes her feature film debut.

When I walk into the room to interview Fey, I'm not completely sure what to expect. I am her last interview of the day and sometimes that can mean the subject is a little burnt out. Luckily, the exact opposite is the case. Fey is very friendly and very excited. She promises that, although it will be the last interview of the day for her, she knows it will be the best. I, ahem, have to agree, of course.
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IGNFF: Did you have a [Mean Girls' popular girl] Regina George in high school?

TINA FEY: You know, I had girls that were sort of like those Plastics. But, mostly it wasn't even that I, like, talked to them, but they were girls that were just, like, famous within school. You just, for whatever reason, you knew they were better off than you. You just knew everything about them. You knew who they were going out with and you kinda knew, 'Oh, they're wearing a new sweater.' Even though you never talked to them, they were just celebrities within school.

IGNFF: Which category of the queen bees hierarchy were you?

FEY: I think, in terms of the movie, I was somewhere in between the characters of Janice and the mathletes. I was just kind of a, well, not a mathlete, I was sort of an AP nerd and just hung out with my own nerd friends. In terms of, if you look in the book, where she breaks down like queen bee, wannabe, banker, sidekick, I think I was sort of a banker because I was the sort of person where, if there was gossip about someone, I wanted to know all of it in detail and have it, like, at the ready. The one that freely will pass on the gossip if they hear it.



IGNFF: How many of the situations in Mean Girls were based on your own experiences?

FEY: A lot of stuff came from the book, because there are a lot of different anecdotes and real specific things in the book, but a fair amount of it did come from stuff that I remembered and now it's all sort of blended in my brain, but I did have a health teacher that was kind of like the health teacher in the movie. Like, a really poorly informed health teacher. And I had, some of Cady's storyline with Aaron, in terms of her obsessive pursuit of him, was sort of like the fumbling obsessive pursuit that I was trying to do in high school. It never worked out for me. Also, the moment where Regina says to [Cady], 'Oh, you think you're really pretty? Oh, so you agree?' That happened to me once. I got flat out busted when I was a freshman.


 
IGNFF: Did you base [the character you play in Mean Girls] Ms. Norbury on anyone?


FEY: She's named after one of my favorite teachers in high school, who was my German teacher. This woman, Ms. Norbury, although she wasn't, my character's kind of a mess, going through a divorce. She wasn't anything like that. She was this young kind of very bitter sense of humor teacher and I remember she had the most unusual clothes. She kind of dressed like Charro, actually, because she taught German and she also taught Spanish, so she had a little Spanishy flair.

IGNFF: Are you in touch with her?

FEY: No, I hope she sees it. I hope she's happy about it, because I went back to my old high school recently and I didn't see her. So, I don't know if she wasn't around or maybe she's not at that school anymore. I hope she sees it.

IGNFF: Do you think today's high school kids will "get" the message behind Mean Girls?

FEY: Yeah, I mean... [Laughs] If they're going to want to look and dress like that? I've seen the movie with some test audiences and it seems like, it's funny because, like, 14- [and] 13-year-old girls kind of watch the movie like it's Sophie's Choice or something. They can't believe the drama that is unfolding before them. They're rapt. I think they get because I think it's a little, I think for girls, it's a little close to the bone. It's a little scary, actually.

IGNFF: Do you worry that the film could actually be misinterpreted by teens?

FEY: I wonder. I hope not. I mean, I hope there's enough comedy, first of all, that they'll show up and they'll laugh and then... There's no way of stopping people from thinking that those girls look hot and have cool cars, because they do. But you also sort of see them, you see that they are under this crazy amount of stress. That's one thing in Rosalind Wiseman's book, she talks about how the queen bee girl has a lot to lose. Look at Britney Spears now, where she seems like she's like, 'Aw, I gotta hang on to this. I'm Britney Spears. I've got to stay on top!' It's a lot of pressure to be on top of your game at all times like that. So sometimes the image that they have is larger than the person that they actually are.




IGNFF: How did you first come upon the book ?

FEY: I had read this article about Rosalind in the New York Times magazine and so then I went to Lorne Michaels, but I think between Lorne and Paramount together, we got an advance copy of Rosalind's book and I read it and then I called Rosalind on the phone and I introduced myself and sort of asked for her hand in marriage.

IGNFF: How did she take to the idea?

FEY: She was cool. I mean, we're the same age, and it turned out we actually had some mutual friends and it was a very small world thing. And I said, 'You know, I would like to try to make your book into a movie.' She was reluctant at first because she said she basically wanted me to promise her that I wouldn't take her book and make it into a cheap, dumb, dirty movie; Make fun of it or sell it out. So I promised her that I would try and do a good job.

 
IGNFF: The film is being compared to Heathers. Was there a concern over going too dark?


FEY: Well, it is, it's sort of a more hopeful Heathers. When I first started working, I watched a whole bunch of teen movies, mostly to make sure I didn't bump into them too hard and inadvertently rip them off by not remembering what was in them. And when I first watched Heathers, I was, like, 'Oh, right. Somebody made this movie already. It was called Heathers.' But Heathers is really dark and stylized and a really great movie, so that made it clear to me that I was like, 'All right. I can't go too dark or stylized, because I'll bump up against Heathers, so the movie's a little more realistic.' I mean, the style of the dialogue is realistic and the tone, as part of my promise to Rosalind, is a little more hopeful.

IGNFF: I heard that [Mean Girls Director] Mark Waters' brother actually wrote Heathers.

FEY: Yeah, isn't that weird. Dan. Yeah, he's a hilarious guy. And I was really psyched [because] he came when we would have table reads, he'd come, because he was [Mark's] brother, and he's basically given us his approval. It meant a lot to me.

IGNFF: Was going for the "R" rating ever considered?

FEY: Well, it's interesting. John Goldman, the guy at Paramount, when I was writing my first draft, he told me, 'Write it the way you want to write it. Don't worry about swearing...' Which is wise, because that first draft, it was so "R" rated. Regina was swearing like a sailor. Just terrible language, and it kind of got it out of my system. Maybe coming from TV, I needed to break free of my chains for a second. And then, by the time we got in the second and third draft, it was like, 'You know, we really do want to try to get a "PG-13" for this movie,' because I wanted girls to be able to see the movie. I wasn't trying to, like, dumb it down necessarily and write it for little girls, but I didn't want them to not be able to see it. Especially with Lindsay in the movie, because Lindsay has a lot of fans and so we went through and cleaned it up. And I sort of felt, 'Yeah, I should be able to, there must be a way to do this without the "F" word.' You're allowed one for a "PG-13" and we ended up going with none.



IGNFF: Do you think the Regina George type of personality winds up regretful or goes through life with those same blinders on?

FEY: I think it depends on the person. Some people definitely carry that behavior into adult life. It's almost like, someone was saying, what's that saying of, like, 'If you're playing poker and you're trying to figure out who the sucker is in the poker game and you can't find him, it might be you?' So, if you're trying to figure out who the bitch is in the room and you can't find her, it might be you. Because, yeah, I think a lot of people can do that kind of behavior and then you kind of justify it. 'No, I'm in the right because they were nothing [without] me.' And yeah, a lot of people probably never know that that was them. We used to actually have a line in the movie, that will be in the DVD, because it's a deleted scene, where Regina, at the end of the movie, says, 'It is exhausting being me. I'm so tired.'

IGNFF: What else can you tell us about the DVD?


FEY: It's gonna have some really good deleted scenes, because there were a few. Having watched a few DVDs lately, a lot of times the deleted scenes are kind of nothing and there's some good ones on there. Yeah, Mark Waters and Lorne Michaels and I did a commentary the other day. And there's an interview with Rosalind Wiseman and I don't know what else. We shot a bunch of these interstitials for MTV, these commercials for the movie. Hopefully, that will be on there.

IGNFF: How close was Lindsay Lohan to the Cady you envisioned in writing the script?

FEY: She's near about perfect in that I always sort of had this vision of Cady that she had to be this girl that was really beautiful, but kind of didn't know it. And Lindsay's beauty is she's so naturally beautiful that, in that way, she fit it perfectly. And she has a real vulnerability in the movie, but she also seems resilient and strong because, on one hand, you don't want a girl that seemed too fragile, or you'd be worried about her the whole time. And, at the same time, because she's so likable, she can go all the way to being this kind of horrible beeyotch, like, three quarters of the way through the movie, but you still, you just sort of feel like, 'This is this character that I like that's making a mistake right now,' as opposed to turning on her.

IGNFF: Do you plan to write more features?

FEY: I would like to at some point, absolutely. The next thing up on my plate is I owe NBC a pilot and they've been really patient with me, God bless, while I've been finishing up this movie. So that's the next thing I'm going to do.

IGNFF: How much has your life changed since taking over "Weekend Update" on SNL?

FEY: It's been great. I feel like I live every writer's fantasy of being mostly a writer, but getting to be on TV just a little bit to get acknowledgment for being a writer. When I was writing for the show the first four years and I was just so exhausted all the time and would never sleep, I remember the other female writers and myself, we would see the actresses, we would be at the re-write table, and we would see the actresses all dolled up to go to some premiere or something. We'd just be there, like, Cinderella, like toiling away, and just thought, like, 'Oh my God, if I could just have, like...' Every Saturday before the party, the cast members get to have their hair and make-up done for the show. 'If I could just have my hair and make-up done, I'd be so happy. If I could just have my same job, but get free shoes and have my hair done.' It's really great.



IGNFF: How much say did Lorne Michaels have in the project?

FEY: He was great. He was a great, sort of, buffer between me and the studio because I really trust him and Paramount really trusts him so, if we'd get studio notes, I could look to him and he would sort of say, 'Yeah, I think this one, they're right, or, no, this one, it's more about a joke, comedy thing, so we'll kind of hold our ground. And he was great in the casting. Because I think casting is one thing that he is very good at as a producer. He kind of finds, myself excluded, he finds stars. The first time he saw Lindsay, we'd watch dailies all the time, he'd be like, 'She's a movie star. She's such a movie star.' Amanda Seyfried had actually come very close to getting the part of Regina. It came down between Rachel and Amanda and Rachel, I think, by virtue of just [looking] more intimidating, and it was Lorne's idea. He's like, 'Well, she's a really good actress and she's really interesting looking. I bet she can handle being Karen.'

IGNFF: Lindsay is hosting SNL on May 1st. Have you guys talked about that at all or do you have any ideas so far?

FEY: She said, she's like, 'What have you written for me?' I'm like, 'Nothing. We do it that week.' There's nothing to tell. She can't believe that we do it on the Tuesday of the week that she's there. I don't know, I was trying to think of some sort of Parent Trap idea, something where she plays twins. I'm sure my friend James is going to want to dress her up like Anne Margaret just for his own fantasy to film it. I think I'm going to probably be on hard-core perv patrol that week with the writers. I'm gonna be walking around going, '17. This lady is 17. Please keep it down. Keep it cool everybody.'
context, context, context.

 

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