Characters: 30 Rock
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Played By: Tina FeyThe showrunner of TGS who pretty much has to babysit everyone else.
- All Women Love Shoes: Subverted to show her unfeminine side. Not wearing heels makes her shorter than most everybody else, which adds an element of elfin charm.
- Author Avatar: She's based on Tina Fey.
- Big EaterRosemary Howard: Are you hungry?Liz: Always.
- Blind Without 'Em: Averted. She is seen frequently without her glasses. Lampshaded when she and Jenna got into a fight.Jenna: At least I'm not a fraud. She doesn't even need those glasses!
- Brainy Brunette
- Brainy Specs: Jenna mentions that she only wears her glasses to look smarter.
- Butt Monkey
- Catchphrase: "Blerg" and "I want to go to there".
- The Chew Toy: "There's no chance that I'm blowing this."
- Deadpan Snarker
- Establishing Character Moment: The very first thing we see her do is buy out a hotdog vendor's entire stock to prevent someone who cut in the line from getting one.
- Fangirl: For Star Wars and only Star Wars. She dressed like Princess Leia for her wedding and scoffed at visiting Harry Potter World in Orlando: "I'm not some kind of nerdery slut!"
- Goofy Print Underwear: Of the childish kind: blue with yellow buses.
- Hot Librarian
- Hollywood Dateless
- Lost Food Grievance: Do not even think of touching her food."WHERE'S MY MAC AND CHEESE!?!
- Masochist's Meal: "What time do you start throwing out the doughnuts?"
- Ms. Fanservice: Fey shows off her cleavage many times every episode, but rarely exposes any other flesh.
- Not So Above It All: She may be the Only Sane Employee, but she has her occasional crazy moment as well.
- Obfuscating Insanity: She's gotten out of jury duty several times by acting like a delusional Princess Leia cosplayer. Sadly, this doesn't work half as well in New York.
- Obsessed with Food: Food is Liz's main vice, and she's gross enough about it that it manages to make her Hollywood Homely trait plausible.
- Only Sane Employee: While it's clear that she has her own stock of crazy, she's the one who holds things together between the egotisical stars, dozy writers, executive meddling and everything else that befalls the show.
- Platonic Life Partners: With Jack
- Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up: Revealed to be one when she attends her high school reunion.
- Show Runner: Liz is TGS's Show Runner. Tina Fey, who plays Liz, is 30 Rock's show runner.
- Unusual Euphemism: Lizzing. Also, Snarting, a Portmanteau of sneezing and farting.
- White Guilt: Has her fair share of this, as when she finds it difficult to break up with an annoying black boyfriend played by Wayne Brady for fear of being thought racist. She also admits that she voted for Obama primarily out of White Guilt. She mostly gets over it after a couple seasons of Tracy playing the Everything Is Racist card a few times too often, although characters like his wife Angie can still throw her off-balance by playing off of this trait.
Played By: Alec Baldwin
NBC Executive who regularly calls for changes on TGS.
- Actor Allusion / Shout-Out:
- Badass In Charge: Beyond. He not only has emotional depth, he is an honest, snarky, confident alcoholic, with keen wisdom to boot.Jack: ..because it's winning time, you magnificent son oF A BITCH!!!!!!!!
- Big Eater: A huge stress eater.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer
- Catchphrase: "Good God Lemon."
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Zig-zagged.
- Deadpan Snarker: He gets all the best lines.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Horrified that Devon Banks would destroy thousands of jobs for personal reasons.
- Executive Meddling: In-Universe, he does this regularly.
- Flanderization: Initially he was only a moderate Republican and even set Liz up on a date when convinced she was gay. Overtime, he's called Barack Obama a "communist", keeps a framed picture of Nixon in his office, has Avery wear a Reagan mask on webcam, and is constantly making fun of anything he considers Liberal. This is likely a joke about Alec Baldwin's staunch left-wing views. In the finale, he reels off a list of "liberal foes" he's "defeated", including Alec Baldwin.
- Freudian Excuse: His mother wasn't exactly the nicest one.
- Guttural Growler
- The Irish Diaspora: Jack is staunchly Irish American.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold
- Limited Wardrobe: He has almost never been seen without a suit.Liz: Why are you wearing a tux?
Jack: It's after six, Lemon. What am I, a farmer?
- Manipulative Bastard
- Only Sane Man: At times.
- Raised Catholic
- Pointy-Haired Boss: He starts the series as one.
- Sidekick Ex Machina: A lot of the plots have Liz struggling when she is unable to call on Jack's omnipotence or her surprise when he steps in and resolves issues far beyond her mortal ken.
Played By: Tracy Morgan
The famous movie star that Jack brings on to TGS. Played by Tracy Morgan.
- Adam Westing: Basically playing himself. in "Grandmentor" he shouts "We're on a Show Within a Show! My real name is Tracy Morgan!"
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Especially when he's off his meds.
- Even Evil Has Standards: He is disgusted with the writers making up a religion to deceive Kenneth.
- Everything Is Racist: Uses this frequently to try and avoid being blamed. It never works.
- Uses a physical "race card" in the episode "The Natural Order"
- Fantastic Racism: Trained his dog to attack white people, because most ghosts are white.
- Genius Ditz: Tracy is an American History buff.
- Happily Married: He visits strip clubs regularly to maintain his image, but he still loves his wife, Angie.
- Hidden Depths
- It's All About Me: Has this, but not as bad as Jenna.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold
- Large Ham
- Lethally Stupid: He once almost stabbed Conan O'Brien for no reason other than that he was pretending to be a "stabbing robot".
- Mad Hatter
- Man Child: Part of his image since, as a celebrity, he basically gets to be a Karma Houdini.
- Multiple-Choice Past: Generally, he always grew up poor in the Bronx. Details beyond that seem to be somewhat variable and change according to the needs of the current gag. Of course, you can never be sure how much of what Tracy says about himself is true.Frank (while writing his biography) According to wikipedia you were discovered after doing standup at the Apollo in 1984.Tracy I have no memory of that. Write it up.
- No Fourth Wall: When he's off his meds.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Gets brought up from time to time, that his Man Child antics are actually an act.
- Rich in Dollars, Poor in SenseJack: Tracy, we think your spending has gotten out of control.Tracy: (while wearing a shirt made of money) Give me an example.
Tracy I've put more money into this than my money pit in Conneticut.Jack You have a house in Conneticut?Tracy No, I do not.
- Tracy actually admitted he spends money foolishly because he assumed he'd die young. When Dr. Spaceman told him he would live another 30-40 years, he panicked, because he'd have to consider the future.
- Tom Hanks Syndrome: In-Universe example. He tried this kind of image change for a while, which included him only making "movies about the Holocaust or Georgia O'Keefe or both", trying to prevent the release of some trashy comedy film of his, and sporting a black beret and turtleneck everywhere. The result is...interesting.
- Ultimate Job Security: He has it because of his celebrity status.
- Villain with Good Publicity: After starring in a tough social drama, he can't get anyone to view him as crazy anymore, much to his annoyance. "I can't stop the horrible respect people have for me."
- Wealthy Yacht Owner: Invites everyone to his yacht for a party in one episode. Only it turns out the yacht is not his, and everyone is arrested for trespassing.
Played By: Jane Krakowski
TGS's crazy, attention loving star.
- Attention Whore: Big time. She even considered having a baby to get more attention.
- Though she does resort to Suspiciously Specific Denial to try to put bad attention behind her: "I don't know what you're talking about, and that was two years ago."
- Dreadful Musician: Atually she's a fairly competent singer, but she always overdoes it to the point where most people find her singing unbearable.
- Dumb Blonde: Surprisingly averted. She is, however, monstrously self-obsessed and will do anything for attention.
- Generation Xerox: Due to egg donations she has a bunch of biological children with the same looks and obnoxious behaviour as her. The only likeable one of the lot is Hollywood Homely.
- Hidden Depths: Once proved herself a surprisingly efficient businesswoman.
- It's All About Me: She has this bad.
- Lack of Empathy: "You look like that flash card they told me means sadness."
- Noodle Incident: Has an unspecified feud with Raven-Symoné.
- She also views Jenny McCarthy as her nemesis.
- Manipulative Bitch
- Narcissist: A fairly accurate portrayal of a more extreme case. She lacks empathy, has a disproportionately large ego, and is threatened easily by the opinions of others — but she does have genuine affection for a small handful of people, and is capable of (limited) remorse.
- To a point where she ends up dating a man who dresses up as her for a living. Who takes her whole name when they get married.
- Parental Abandonment: "My mother's boyfriend raised me to believe..."
- Shout-Out: name is a play on Janel Moloney.
- The Sociopath: In one episode, Pete and the writers test her to see if she is one. When she shows genuine remorse for hurting Kenneth, however, he deems her an "extreme narcissist" instead.
- Weird Aside: "That's a double edged sword, like the one Mickey Rourke tried to kill me with." "Telling Dennis off last night was so empowering, I was so pumped on the way home that I tossed a brick through the window of a Banana Republic!" "I still think the album would have sold better had he shot me in the face!"
- In the finale, it's Implied in a Medium Aware moment when she says "I've never met Mickey Rourke" that she made up all those stories.
- White-Dwarf Starlet: She's trying to avert this.
Played By: Jack McBrayer
The NBC page who is a Wide-Eyed Idealist despite how he's treated by the staff of TGS.
- The Ace: Perfect at nearly everything he does, and rarely faults. He's also selfless, well kept, and much smarter than initially apparent. He is so good that he actively predicts what Tracy wants. Tracy.
- In one episode, he arrives with pizza, only for Tracy to chime in that he wanted waffles instead. Kenneth opens the box.. containing a pizza-sized square of waffles.
- Butt Monkey: Everyone is horrible to him but he seems to enjoy being so badly mistreated.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Maybe not as bad as Tracy, but definitely up there.Bird Internet
- Country Mouse: He's from a farm in Georgia. He's also more innocent and pure than most of the people he works with. Which isn't saying much, but considering how nice he is, it might as well.
- Deep South: He's from Stone Mountain, Georgia. Which is a fairly decent city in reality, but in the series its county technically never rejoined the United States, science classes feature the old testament, traditional dishes include union soldier meat, and there's a constant threat of hill people attacks.
- Expansion Pack Past: Along with most people on the show, but him especially. He's lived forever/300 years/at least long enough to coach Shirley Temple, spent a summer captured by hill folk, his family joined a militia, he randomly speaks Latin...
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!: "Sir, I don't mean to swear, but I am irritated right now."
- "You are being a real C-Word. That's right, a Cranky-Sue."
- Honest Corporate Executive: By the end of the series, he has succeeded Jack as CEO. And holds the position for the next hundred or so years.
- Humanoid Abomination: To begin with, he sees only a white haze when he looks in a mirror. He's also implied to be very old, and according to his mother, said the following when he was born:Mama, I am not a person. My body is just a flesh vessel for an immortal being whose name, if you heard it, would make you lose your mind.
- Kindhearted Simpleton:Kenneth: There are only two things I love in this world: Everybody, and television.
- Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Everyone on the staff treats him horribly, but he doesn't complain because he loves his job.
- Jack goes so far as to fake a "not enough oxygen, Someone Has to Die" scenario just to see how far he'll go. Kenneth tries to sacrifice himself without the slightest hesitation, weirding Jack out.
- Innocent Bigot: Kenneth is by no means spiteful but this doesn't prevent him from saying rather ghastly things because of his religious upbringing.
- Living Bodysuit: According to Kenneth's mother, he told her when he was born that he was an immortal being using Kenneth's body as a vessel.
- Never Gets Drunk: He's able to outdrink the Teamsters in a contest after he realizes he's been drinking that stuff since he was a baby.
- Nice Guy
- Older Than They Look: Born "May 27, 1781"
- Perpetual Smiler: Seriously, its becoming a bit creepy.
- The Pollyanna: He regards a guy he's known for a few days as his "best friend ever... tied with everyone else he ever met!"
- "I'm gonna be upset until the end of this sentence".
- Really 700 Years Old:Tracey: Ken, you don't wanna be a page forever!Kenneth: Who said I've been alive forever?
- Stepford Smiler''"Every morning when I wake up, I tell myself everything is gonna be alright. I don't know how long I can believe it".
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: Maybe.
Played By: Scott Adsit
The beleaguered producer with a big family and a fatalistic outlook.
- Bald of Awesome
- Creepy Child: One of Pete's kids is frequently referenced as "the creepy one"
- The Cynic: Arguably the most jaded in the entire cast of TGS
- Deadpan Snarker: To Liz at times.
- Demoted to Extra
- Expansion Pack Past: As told by Pete in season 6 "My father was a congressman, I was valedictorian at St. Andrew's, an Olympic Archer, fourth guitarist in Loverboy as a teenager." Immediately lampshaded by Jack " If it weren't all true I would say it doesn't even make sense."
- Hidden Depths: He's an impeccable archer and a pretty good musician.
- Jaded Washout: Definitely jaded, though not exactly a washout. Although he did get denied the chance to participate in the olympics, and a DUI prevented him from being a Congressman. He still manages to keep his sanity and tends not to relive his past glory.
- Not So Above It All: Has been becoming increasingly unstable as the series goes on.
- Only Sane Employee: Slightly less sane than Liz, but that's just because he's far more cynical
- Parental Abandonment: Inverted. Pete confesses to wanting to run away from his wife with each of her seven pregnancies, but he always comes back.
- The Straight and Arrow Path: It's rare that it's relevant, but there have been a few times where his archery skills resolved the episode's conflict.
Played By: Judah Friedlander
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk
- Likes Older Women: He also likes younger women, but older women are the only ones he has success with.
- Man Child
- Momma's Boy
- Never Bareheaded: Always wears the trucker caps with amusing slogans, except for one episode where Jack took him under his wing and had him wearing suits.
- Oedipus Complex
- Once an Episode: His hat has something different written on it each episode.
- If It's You, It's Okay/Single-Target Sexuality: He becomes convinced that he's gay after meeting Liz's date in one episode.
- The Slacker
Played By: Katrina BowdenLiz's young, airheaded assistant, who is treated as the resident hot girl.
- Hidden Depths: She disapproves of Greek treatment of Cyprus, she knows the exact speed of light, and she's just saner in general than most people at TGS.
- Meaningful Name: She's a copy girl, and Los Angeles is apparently brimming with girls who look exactly like her.
- Ms. Fanservice: Goes out of her way to wear revealing outfits, which are often commented on inverse.
- Sexy Secretary: As Liz's assistant she essential fulfils this role and has the appearance to match.
- Spoiled Sweet: She's obviously from a wealthy background but is consistently sweet and kind.
- Valley Girl: Has the voice and personality, plus its regularly implied she's from a wealthy family.
James 'Toofer' Spurlock
Played By: Keith Powell
- Bald of Awesome
- Boomerang Bigot: James himself isn't one, but he's horrified when he learns that his ancestor, whom he thought was the highest-ranking black officer in the Union army, was actually a Confederate officer.
- Ivy League for Everyone: Graduated from Harvard, and he makes sure everyone knows it.
- Stop Being Stereotypical: He's not very approving of Tracy's behavior.
- Twofer Token Minority
- Liz states early on that they call him Toofer because he's black and from Harvard, but it's repeatedly implied as the series goes on that he's gay, which actually makes him a Threefer Token Minority.
Warren "Grizz" Griswold
Played By: Grizz ChapmanPart of Tracy Jordan's entourage.
- Badass Beard
- The Big Guy: He's seven feet tall.
- Gentle Giant: Often shown with a very tender side, and generally quite soft spoken.
- Genius Bruiser
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With DotCom
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Pretty much all his relationships.
- Incredibly Lame Pun: "You wouldn't think a movie called Somewhere would go absolutely Nowhere"
- Odd Friendship: He and Liz had minimal contact in season one but are later revealed to be close enough for him to call her "Beth".
- Punny Name: Grizz's fiancee (and later, wife) Feyonce.
- Noodle Incident: Used to be secret lovers with Liz.
Walter "DotCom" Slattery
Played By: Kevin BrownPart of Tracy Jordan's entourage.
- Bald of Awesome
- But Not Too Black: Occasionally called out on this by Tracy.
- Gentle Giant: Not as big as Grizz but he's equally soft-spoken and polite.
- Ivy League for Everyone: Went to Cornell.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Grizz.
- Hidden Depths: Speaks French, did theater in college, and goes on exotic foreign vacations.
- Team Chef: Able to whip up a gourmet French meal for Kenneth and his date on Valentine's Day.
- Noodle Incident: He used to be part of Phil Spector's entourage....
- The Smart Guy
Played By: Mauilik PancholyJack's assistant, who seems to have a gay crush on him.
- Ambiguously Gay
- Berserk Button: Insulting or lightly joking about Jack is not a good idea around him.
- Butt Monkey
- Chew Toy
- Crazy Jealous Guy: Becomes a Jerkass to anyone who might matter to Jack more than him.
- Out of Focus: Due to Pancholy taking a job on another show. Lampshaded in an episode.
- Single-Target Sexuality
- Stalker with a Crush: To Jack.
Played By: John Lutz
Recurring GE/NBC/Kabletown employees
Played By: Cheyenne Jackson
- Canada, Eh?
- Out of Focus: After all of one episode of him being Liz's lover and Jack's best friend, he immediately fell into the same background status as Josh, with the only gag his character has is that ... he is from Canada and sometimes things are a little different there.
- One Steve Limit: His name is actually Jack, but Jack Donaghy forces him to change it to Danny.
- Sixth Ranger
Played By: Rip Torn
Played By: Lonny Ross
- Back for the Finale: In a very blink-or-you'll-miss-it fashion; he's in the brief TGS sketch in Greek, standing behind Tracy.
- Demoted to Extra
- Expy: Very clearly based on Jimmy Fallon.
- Man of a Thousand Voices: Regularly does impersonations, and can do a spot on one of Jack and Tracy.
- Put on a Bus
- Out of Focus
Played By: Marceline Hugot
- Adult Child: To a frightening degree.
- The Ditz
- Oral Fixation: She has a tendency to shove things into her mouth, such as pocket watches or toy racecars.
- The Quiet One: She hardly ever speaks.
Played By: Will Arnett
Liz's Love Interests
Played By: Dean WintersLiz's boyfriend at the beginning of the series, a working-class Irish-American who seems to be from Brooklyn or maybe Queens. Generally disliked by all the characters but keeps on finding ways back into Liz's life every so often.
- Affectionate Nickname: "Dummy" for Liz, though she's not really a fan.
- Licensed Sexist
- Odd Friendship: Has signs of this with Criss in season 6.
- Once a Season
- Villain with Good Publicity: In "Subway Hero".
- Your Cheating Heart
Played By: Jason SudekisLiz's second boyfriend. A lawyer in NBC's legal department, originally from Cleveland.
- The Alcoholic
- Embarrassing Tattoo: Courtesy of his season four relapse.
- Happily Married: Presumably, after season 4.
- Nice Guy
- Put on a Bus
- The Bus Came Back: In season 4.
- Off The Wagon
- Shout-Out: To Floyd the Barber from The Andy Griffith Show.
Played By: Jon HammOriginally Liz's downstairs neighbor whose mail was accidentally sent to her. Despite being a doctor, he proves to be a complete moron.
- Brainless Beauty
- The Ditz
- Hook Hand: Ends up with two of these by his reappearance, once from waving from a helicopter and once from a fireworks accident.
- Hospital Hottie
- Too Dumb to Live
Played By: Michael SheenAn English insurance claims adjustor whom Liz met in the recovery room after a dental operation. It doesn't work well.
- Fate Drives Us Together: The only reason him and Liz keep interacting in season 4.
- Jerk Ass
- Name's the Same In-Universe, this is referenced in the season 4 episode, "Don Geiss, America, and Hope"Liz Lemon:Wait, your name is Wesley Snipes? That's insane!Wesley Snipes: This is insane? You know what's insane? That the actor is named Wesley Snipes! If you were shown a picture of him and a picture of me, and were asked "who should be named Wesley Snipes", you'd pick the pale Englishman every time! Every time, Liz!
- Small Name, Big Ego
Played By: Matt DamonAn airline pilot Liz meets while reluctantly "dating" Wesley in Season 4. They prove to be too similar to work out.
- Gender-Blender Name: He literally shares his exact name with a female comedian. People are very confused by it.
- Put on a Bus
- Special Guest Star: Granted, most of Liz's boyfriend actors fit this trope but arguably an A-lister like Matt Damon tops any others.
Played By: James MardsenLiz's last boyfriend, a hipsterish artist/entrepreneur who tries to run an artisanal hot dog truck. Well, hot dog van. Well...see below.
Jack's Love Interests
Played By: Isabella RosselliniJack's ex-wife.
Played By: Emily MortimerJack met her at an art gallery. She's interested in things other than his permanent love and affection.
- How's Your British Accent?
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping
- The Vamp
- Yoko Oh No: In "Cleveland" she says she wants to be Jack's Yoko, much to Liz's horror.
Celsete "C.C." Cunningham
Played By: Edie FalcoA liberal Democratic Congresswoman from Vermont, and a high-powered tort lawyer. They prove to be too similar to work out.
- Lifetime Movie of the Week: Had one made about her life. Kristen Wiig played the fictional actress who played her.
- Put on a Bus
- The Bus Came Back: In the season 2 finale.
Played By: Salma HayekThe Puerto Ricannote nurse Jack hires to take care of his mother after she broke her hips (or rather, after he broke her hips...) in Season 3. Jack gets as far as proposing to her, but it doesn't happen...
- Buxom Is Better: Played by one of the trope's patron saints.
- Derailing Love Interests: Ooo boy. After returning from a brief trip away she went from an ordinary nurse whose devotions are centered around her religious faith and her love of family, and having a frustrated disdain with Jack's snobby upperclass world... to a cartoonish character completely oblivious to American culture, suddenly speaking in broken English, and completely out of no where turns out to be a serial killer known as the black widow! Quite possibly the most blatantly over the top reason to write her out and keep Jack single a bit longer.
- Hospital Hottie
- Latin Lover: Almost a self-conscious parody of the trope.
- Ms. Fanservice
- Put on a Bus
- The Bus Came Back: Makes a cameo in the finale, appearing so she can join in a threesome between Jack and Nancy. Apparently it was so good it turned her British.
- Yandere: She killed her husband because she thought he was cheating on her.
Played By: Julianne MooreJack's high school crush. A classic Boston Irish Catholic housewife replete with guilt who spends the better part of Season 4 drumming up the courage to divorce her husband. Part of a Love Triangle with Jack and Avery for that season.
- Betty and Veronica: Betty to Jack's Archie and Avery's Veronica.
- The Cameo: Appears for the finale during Jack's quest for happiness and meaning. It involves getting into a threesome with Jack and Elisa.
- Hollywood New England: Some of her characteristics—including her accent, sports fandom, and attitude towards marriage—are almost ludicrously stereotypically Boston Irish.
Played By: Elizabeth BanksA CNBC reporter. From an old WASP family, she is ruthlessly ambitious, driven, and fiercely attached to her (highly conservative and nationalistic) beliefs. Part of the Love Triangle with Jack and Nancy; she wins (because Jack knocked her up) and becomes Jack's second wife. In the end, they prove to be too similar to work out.
- Blonde Republican Sex Kitten
- Clingy Jealous Girl: At times she gets jealous of Jack's relationship with Liz, which is the very definition of platonic.
- Played By: Mary Steenburgen
Dr. Leo Spaceman
Played By: Chris Parnell
- Afraid of Needles: Bizarrely, he gets squeamish giving other people shots.
- Ambiguously Evil: He is extremely sinister. Becomes less ambiguous when it is all but stated that he killed his wife.
- Back-Alley Doctor
- Dr. Feelgood: He's introduced as this to Tracy.
- In Name Only: He's legally required to put quotation marks around his title of "Doctor".
- It Is Pronounced Tro PAY: Everyone but Tracy pronounces it sp'TCHEM-in.
- The Quisling: Served as a doctor in the First Gulf War. On the Iraqi side."Dr." Spaceman: You have no reflexes, your blood tastes like root beer, and some of your bones appear to have vanished. Now, I've only ever seen this kind of thing on dead people in Operation Desert Storm. I actually wrote a report on it, but the commander refused to pass it on up to Saddam. Kooky times!
- Worthless Foreign Degree: He got it from the Ho-Chi Minh School of Medicine.