Funny You Should Ask: A Conversation with Tina Fey
Program Date: January 19, 2019
Tina Fey rarely stands still, much less sits down. But in January, the acclaimed actress, comedian, screenwriter, playwright, producer, author, and mom will sit down at The Richmond Forum for a rare live conversation about her life, career, and funny way of seeing the world.
From UVA dramas to Second City to Saturday Night Live to 30 Rock to the 2018 premiere of Mean Girls on Broadway, Fey is one of America’s most accomplished and beloved entertainers. The youngest-ever recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, Fey is also the author of a bestselling memoir, Bossypants.
Tina Fey continues to be applauded for the iconic and groundbreaking seven season run as the Executive Producer, head writer, and star of NBC’s three-time (2007, 2008, 2009) Emmy Award-winning, one-of-a-kind comedy series, 30 Rock. Her performances as ‘Liz Lemon’ earned Fey an Emmy, two Golden Globes, four SAG Awards, and a People’s Choice Award. In 2009, 30 Rock was nominated for a record 22 Emmy Awards, the most ever of any comedy series on television in a single season. From 2012 to 2013, 30 Rock received a total of 13 nominations for its final season, six of which were individual nominations for Fey.
Prior to creating 30 Rock, Fey completed nine seasons as head writer and cast member on Saturday Night Live (SNL), as well as co-anchor of the perennially popular “Weekend Update” segment. Fey is an Emmy winner and two-time Writers Guild Award winner for her writing on Saturday Night Live and won an Emmy in 2009 for Guest Appearance by an Actress in a Comedy Series for her portrayal of Sarah Palin on the 2008-2009 season of SNL. Fey also made Emmy history in 2016 when she and Amy Poehler became the first joint winners of “Best Comedy Series Guest Actress” for their SNL co-hosting appearance.
Fey and writing partner, Robert Carlock, are co-executive producers and creators of the hit Netflix original comedy, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, starring Ellie Kemper as ‘Kimmy Schmidt,’ the lovable and quirky survivor of a doomsday cult. The series has been called “the first great sitcom of the streaming era” and the first three seasons have received 16 Emmy nominations, including three nominations for “Best Comedy Series.” The show’s fourth season will launch on May 30, 2018.
Carlock and Fey teamed up again with former 30 Rock writer, Tracey Wigfield, for a new sitcom centering around a mother-daughter relationship that is challenged when an overly involved New Jersey mom gets an internship at her daughter’s workplace, titled Great News. The series premiered on NBC on Tuesday, April 25, 2017 and just finished its second season on air.
Fey, along with her husband, Jeff Richmond, and Lorne Michaels developed the Mean Girls musical, which debuted at Washington D.C.’s National Theater in 2017 and opened on Broadway at the August Wilson Theater Sunday, in April 2018. Based on the cult classic film that Fey wrote, the musical showcases music by Jeff Richmond, lyrics by Nell Benjamin, and is directed by Casey Nicholaw.
In 2016, Fey starred in the Paramount film, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, the film adaptation of The Taliban Shuffle, about real-life reporter, Kim Barker. She co-starred in the film and produced the drama with her company, Little Stranger, in collaboration with Lorne Michaels and Broadway Video, about Baker and her experience covering the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The film was directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa.
In 2015, Fey co-starred alongside Amy Poehler in Universal Pictures’ Sisters, a box office success both domestically and internationally. Fey and Poehler played sisters who come home to find their parents’ house has been put up for sale. They spend a last wild weekend together bonding, feuding, and finally growing up. Sisters was directed by Jason Moore and written by long-time friend and colleague from Fey’s Saturday Night Live days, Paula Pell.
Since her transition to being in front of the camera, Fey has won much acclaim, including being named The Associated Press’ Entertainer of the Year in 2008, one of Entertainment Weekly’s Entertainers of the Year on numerous occasions, one of People Magazine’s “Most Beautiful People” (four times), and one of TIME magazine’s “Prestigious TIME 100″ (two times). 30 Rock has earned her six individual Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe for Outstanding Comedy Series, a SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series, three Writers Guild Awards for Outstanding Comedy Series, and two Producers Guild Awards. Fey has also won two Gracie Awards and a Made in New York Award, and she was the youngest recipient of the Mark Twain Award for American Humor in 2010. Fey also hosted the 2013 and 2014 Golden Globe Awards with Amy Poehler and both turns earned them two Emmy nominations each for Special Class Writing and Outstanding Special Class as hosts. Fey and Poehler hosted the Golden Globes for a final time in January 2015.
Fey expanded to feature films in spring 2004 as both a screenwriter and an actress in the hit comedy, Mean Girls, which earned her a nomination for a Writers Guild Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. On the big screen, Fey starred opposite Amy Poehler in the film, Baby Mama, for Universal Pictures, which exceeded the $50 million dollar mark at the U.S. box office. In 2010, Fey starred in 20th Century Fox’s film, Date Night, opposite Steve Carell and was a featured voice in the DreamWorks animated film, Megamind.
In 2013, Fey co-starred in the Focus Feature film, Admission, which co-starred Paul Rudd, Michael Sheen, and Lily Tomlin, and was directed by Paul Weitz. She also appeared in the 2013 comedy sequel Anchorman: The Legend Continues with a cameo role. Anchorman: The Legend Continues starred Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, and Christina Applegate.
In April 2011, Fey released her first book entitled Bossypants, which topped the New York Times best seller list and remained for 39 consecutive weeks, she and received a Grammy nomination for “Best Spoken Word Album.” Bossypants was released in paperback in January 2012 and has sold over 3.75 million copies thus far.
Fey lives in New York with her husband, Jeff Richmond, and their two daughters.