Exit Interview: Tina Fey
Upper Darby’s 30 Rock star hits theaters this month in Baby Mama
When we last checked in with the supremely funny Tina Fey, she was spearheading a laugh revival on Saturday Night Live. Since then, she wrote a hit film, Mean Girls; created and is starring in the Emmy-winning 30 Rock (back with new episodes this month); had a kid; and revels in baby-mama drama in the aptly titled Baby Mama, opening April 25th. For some reason, Fey still finds time to talk to us, although Exit Interview’s awkward conversation and discussion of embarrassing ’80s photos may put an end to that.
What did you do to pass the time during the writers’ strike?
It was like the maternity leave I never really got the first time around. It was great to have 12 weeks to be with my daughter morning to night.
When 30 Rock premiered with Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, a lot of critics seemed convinced that only one could survive, and that your show would be the loser. Have you called any of them to say “Suck it”?
[Laughs] I have not told anyone to suck it in a long time. But on some level, I’ve always enjoyed the “Bring it on” nature of that. When I would read those articles that said we were doomed, I was like, “Yeah! We can do whatever we want!”
Is Tracy Morgan as crazy as he seems?
He wishes he was as crazy as he is on the show. He’s not crazy at all in real life. He likes to play it up. Then he goes home to his kid.
When we spoke in 2001, you said that the notion of you as a sex symbol was ridiculous. Have you accepted your status as a hottie?
[Hearty laugh] I feel that’s a window that’s already closed.
I’m 37. I haven’t exercised in about three years. On any given day, I usually have food or someone else’s boogers on my clothes.
I did see some photos online of you in the ’80s. You’re rocking a floral print dress and a Thompson Twins haircut.
Oh yeah, I saw those! I had to sing at some girl’s wedding. I’m not particularly a singer, but freshman year of college, you don’t know any better. This is how we ended up being compensated — 20 years later, she put that picture on the Internet.
What did you sing?
“Ave Maria” and some other things that were way too hard. It wasn’t good.
That website also posted a recent shot where you’re looking all glammed up.
Oh yeah, but then the guy’s like, “She’s not hot, but she looks better now.” That I enjoyed.
Your family is still here, but I never see any Tina Fey sightings in our gossip columns. We’re pretty hard up for celebrities, so that would be a big deal.
[Laughs] I don’t go anywhere. It would be like, “Tina Fey was at Target on Baltimore Pike.” I used to go to the movies or the mall or something. But when the kid goes to bed, you gotta stay in.
So back in our last interview, there was one awkward moment —
Right. You said “Are you doing Playboy?” and I was like, “No.”
Okay, make that two awkward moments. No, what I was referring to was …
Think about it before you bring it up. Do you really want to relive it again? [laughs] ’Cause I don’t remember what it was, so think it through.
It’s a question you’re often asked [the question being how she got the small scar on her chin]. I thought you were kidding when you said you never talk about it, so it was a little tense for a second. Some of your fans are obsessed with the topic. Do you read what’s online?
No, you can’t look at that stuff. Even the stuff that’s basically positive, there’s always one person that’s like [lowers voice to sound like a cross between Sling Blade and Ann Coulter] “I’d like to fuckin’ kill her. She sucks.”
I thought maybe you’d post anonymously and make up theories just to throw people off the trail. Like, “I hear it’s not even real, just some special-effects makeup” or something …
Where is this going? Dig yourself out of this. You’re in the hole! You’ve been in the hole longer than John McCain, man.
I thought this interview was going so well. …
It is going well! I just wanted to let you know I think you were pretty far down the hole there. [laughs]
On a positive note, I want to pass along messages from two people who heard I was speaking with you. One said, “Tell her I love her sexy librarian ways.”
[Laughs] Great. Tell that lady I said thank you.
The other said, “Ask if she’s got a man, and even if she does, ask if she’s into thuggish intellectuals.”
Um, I do. And I’m not.