We’ll put it out there right now: I worship Tina Fey. For all of the reasons that everyone else worships her. I think she’s a fantastic writer, she’s hilarious, and I aspire to be like her (although I’d already had the brunette/nerdy glasses/badger face look going my whole life). I watch 30 Rock on repeat religiously. I’ve made T-storm a convert. I can quote entire episodes.
And in the past two days, there has been a huge controversy over a line in Tracy Morgan’s stand-up routine that describes acts of homophobically-driven violence. It’s really disturbing. And it’s not funny.
The first thing this proves is that Morgan is an actor, not a writer. I think he’s hilarious on 30 Rock – when someone else is telling him what to say. T-storm and I quote his lines all the time. But the writers also make Sherri Shepherd, who oddly enough plays Tracy’s wife, funny and appealing, and when she’s left to her own devices she kind of sounds like an idiot. Just not a bigoted idiot.
It’s a kind of Singin’ in the Rain situation: someone famous and not terribly bright thinks they can still be famous and beloved without their handlers charting their every move. But here with much graver consequences.
The second thing that’s notable here is that Tina Fey is even more hilarious and intelligent than we think. She managed to crack me up even in her official statement on the ugly matter: when she said that what Morgan said “doesn’t line up with the Tracy Morgan I know, who is not a hateful man and is generally much too sleepy and self-centered to ever hurt another person.” (As noted here and a hundred other places. Weird: I consulted the twitter to re-find the article I first read this in, and the story had already popped up on Jezebel in the interim.)
(No semi-nude Hasselhoff after the cut this time.)