"You remember the beginning of the book where I said I was the underdog? No? Me neither."
— Except from Bossypants
Elizabeth Stamatina "Tina" Fey (born 1970) is an American comedy actress/writer of Saturday Night Live
and 30 Rock
fame, who seems destined to be remembered as "that woman who looks like Sarah Palin
" (or vice versa). She was also the writer of Mean Girls
Fey, a self-confessed Fag Hag
, spent her youth hanging around the local theater scene. Following a string of disastrous jobs, she joined The Second City improv in Chicago
, where she met her longtime friend and future colleague Amy Poehler
. She submitted scripts to Lorne Michaels during this period, eventually landing a job at SNL.
Despite graduating to SNL cast member in 2000, she disliked participating in most sketches, finding it difficult to immerse herself in the characters. Despite this, she had some celebrity impressions she did (pre-Sarah Palin
). Ironically, most, if not all of them, were female celebrities who are only famous for being in scandals (Mary Jo Buttafuoco, George W. Bush
's daughter, Barbara Pierce, and Kathleen Willeynote
) or were brainless beauties
(Paris Hilton, Vanna White, Lindsay Lohan
's mother, Dina, and Mary Ann Mobley)note
Acting-wise, Fey's specialty in sketches was in playing neurotic women with a droll sense of humor and varying degrees of nerdiness, a persona apparently based on herself. Thanks to this as well as her glasses
, she is seen by some as proof that Nerds Are Sexy
. However, while she wore glasses for Weekend Update
, since she is nearsighted enough to need them to read her cues, she does not actually need glasses. At the same time, they became so iconic that she rarely appears on TV without them
. This was Lampshaded
in an episode of 30 Rock
Fey's physical resemblance
to former Republican VP nominee Sarah Palin
was played with by having Fey make guest appearances on SNL
as Palin. In the first Fey-as-Palin sketch, Amy Poehler
(as Hillary Clinton
) made reference at one point to her "Tina Fey glasses
". It was further played with when Palin herself (who had earlier dressed up as Fey one Halloween) made an appearance on the show with Fey, both wearing the same outfit. And an incident where show host Alec Baldwin started bad-mouthing Sarah Palin because he thought he was talking to Tina Fey... only to be told by Palin herself that he was actually talking to Palin.
Her memoir, Bossypants,
was released in 2011, and reveals much about her views on life, her rise to stardom, and her misadventures involving mountain climbing, the YMCA, and cruise ships catching on fire. It Makes Sense in Context
, just buy the book.
Tropes which apply to Tina Fey
- A-Cup Angst: Occasionally played for laughs on SNL.
- Author Avatar: Hers is quite blatantly Liz Lemon.
- Bilingual Bonus On the 5/8/10 episode of SNL (the one with Betty White) she reprised part of her Weekend Update role with a Greek version of "Really?"
- Brainy Brunette (in real life and in most of her roles)
- Celebrity Resemblance: Not only does she bear a striking resemblance to Sarah Palin, but she also looks like Irish comedian Ed Byrne◊.
- Defictionalization: Sarah Palin never actually said "I can see Russia from my house!" (she said Alaskans can see Russia, technically true for the few residents of Little Diomede Island in the Bering Strait), but a lot of people seem to think she did after the Memetic Mutation of a line that originated with Fey on SNL.
- Another Palin example: in the SNL episode with John McCain and Palin (played by Fey), she calls her last-minute "Palin 2012" shirt sale as "going rogue." It's Hilarious in Hindsight for two reasons: 1) Going Rogue was the title of her memoir, and 2) She didn't run for President in 2012 (in fact, she dropped out of politics in 2010).
- Not exactly. Fey was referencing a term coined by an aide for John McCain who was finding Palin to be someone impossible to work with.
- Dream Team:
- With Steve Carell in Date Night? Pure comedy gold.
- Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey as the Weekend Update team were great. Fey and Amy Poehler? Even better (and the highlight of the 2004-2005 season, which was a dry spot in humor between season 29 and season 31note ).
- Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin on 30 Rock as Liz Lemon and Jack Donaghy, respectively. You can feel the awesome emanating from your TV/computer/iDevice.
- Every Scar Has A Story: Has a noticeable scar along her mouth from a knifing incident. She since uses it as a Rorschach test for how long it takes for strangers to mention it.
"Do you think your attacker marked you so he could find you later?
She what I meant about the question being a reflection of the asker?
- Fag Hag: Bossypants has a few anecdotes on her misadventures running with a bunch of gay theater kids in high school.
- Heterosexual Life Partners with former Weekend Update coanchor and frequent film collaborator Amy Poehler.
- I Can See My House From Here: Inverted. You know the line.
- The Mentor: To Donald Glover.
- Noodle Incident: For many years, she refused to discuss her facial scar (until 2008, when she revealed that it was a knife wound from a crazed stranger who attacked her on the street when she was a child)
- One of Us
- Sesame Street Cred
- Showrunner: From the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s on Saturday Night Live, and then the whole run of 30 Rock.
- Something Completely Different: Bizarrely, she turns up RAPPING in the song "Real Estate" by Childish Gambino.
- Justified when you know who Childish Gambino is.
- Take That: Perhaps understandably annoyed that 30 Rock, the big breakthrough of her career, had to share the NBC spotlight with the much more-hyped, much better-funded Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Fey heaped scorn on the latter show for years. Accepting an award at a fancy celebration, Fey said, "I hear Aaron Sorkin is wearing the same dress I am, but it's twice as long and not nearly as funny." To his credit, the famously thin-skinned Sorkin never responded, and even put in a self-deprecatory cameo on 30 Rock.
- Twerp Sweating: Her father is a former U.S. Army codebreaker, has a face like Clint Eastwood, and apparently scares other men shitless — even Lorne Michaels and Alec Baldwin, two men not known for their timidity. Don Fey serves as a notice that his daughter won't tolerate lazy or stupid men in her life.
- Verbal Tic (referring to people as "this gentleman" or "this lady")