Friday Fact-File - TV Writers: #3 Tina Fey - Raindance

3. Tina Fey



DOB: May 18 1970 (Age 43)

First TV break: 1997 (Age 29)

Elizabeth Stamatina “Tina” Fey, is the comedy genius, writer, producer and actor, responsible for NBC’s hilarious sitcom 30 Rock, and 2004’s smash hit, Mean Girls, and is a frequent contributor, both in acting and writing, to the incredibly popular and long-running sketch show Saturday Night Live. She is also to thank for the uncanny, and frankly, perfect, impersonation and parody of Sarah Palin

Tiny Fey studied at the University of Virginia and graduated in 1992 with a Bachelor Degree in Drama. After graduating, Fey moved to Chicago and joined the improvisational comedy training ground ‘Second City’.

In 1995, she was noticed in the group by SNL talent scouts. After submitting several scripts to the NBC hit show – she was finally taken on and hired as a writer for the show in 1997. Impressed by her flair and aptitude for comedy, Fey was promoted to Head Writer in 1999 – making her the first ever female to be one of the head writers of the show.

To date, Fey has 13 writing credits and 26 acting credits, in both film and TV.

For TV writers, comedy writers and female writers in particular, Fey is possible one of the best role models out there – and who would have it any other way?

“If you want to be a screenwriter, take an acting class to get a sense of what you’re asking actors to do. Learning other skills will help you communicate with people and respect what they do.”

“For my first show at ‘SNL’, I wrote a Bill Clinton sketch, and during our read-through, it wasn’t getting any laughs. This weight of embarrassment came over me, and I felt like I was sweating from my spine out. But I realized, ‘Okay, that happened, and I did not die.’ You’ve got to experience failure to understand that you can survive it.”

“If you want to make an audience laugh, you dress a man up like an old lady and push her down the stairs. If you want to make comedy writers laugh, you push an actual old lady down the stairs.”