Elizabeth Stamatina "Tina" Fey (born May 18, 1970) is an American comedy actress and 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. 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).
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 them in her day-to-day life. 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 Rodham 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 Lorne Michaels 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 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◊.
- Deadpan Snarker: It's a prerequisite for being behind the Weekend Update desk, and damn, she's good at it.
- 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).
- I Am Not Pretty: Her looks are often the butt of her own jokes. Fans tend to disagree.
- I Can See My House from Here: Inverted. You know the line.
- Scars Are Forever: She was the victim of a street slashing as a child and has a scar on her jaw because of it.
- "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. Donald Glover was one of the writers on 30 Rock, but that doesn't really make it much less unlikely.
- Take That!: 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.
- He never seemed to take her ribbing personally; apparently he even sent her flowers the night that 30 Rock first went to air.
- Twerp Sweating: Her late father was a former U.S. Army codebreaker, had a face like Clint Eastwood, and apparently scared other men shitless — even Lorne Michaels and Alec Baldwin, two men not known for their timidity. Don Fey served as a notice that his daughter won't tolerate lazy or stupid men in her life.