It's been an intense few days with posts about Luna and about some hard moments I've had. But here's a lighter, happier post! Here is another snippit that didn't make it into COUNTDOWN TO LOCKDOWN, from the That time I met....series.
So here goes...
That time I met....Tina Fey...and Alec Baldwin!
I was first brought into the "30 Rock" fold via text message, when actor Judah Friedlander inquired about wearing a classic Cactus Jack "Wanted" t-shirt on the show. A few months and about a dozen legal forms later, and I (or at least a likeness of me, on Judah's chest) was on "30 Rock," one of my all time favorite television shows.
Great writing, great characters, plus I absolutely loved Liz Lemon. Lemon - the best character name ever. So simple, so elegant. Why hadn't anyone thought of it before? Lemon. I kept in touch with Judah occasionally even before finding out he was the small time promoter in "The Wrestler," who not only stiffs Mickey Rourke on a payoff, but also books him on the worst "Legends Convention" of all time. "1, 2, 3…Ram."
Once, after watching "30 Rock" on board a flight, I texted Judah to "tell Liz Lemon that I had to put down my soda on my flight, as I wasn't sure when I might spit it on the guy in front of me."
I got a text back, informing me that he had "showed your message to Tina. She really loved it."
So Tina Fey actually knew who I was? Cool! By this point, Tina's Sarah Palin imitation had made her one of the biggest stars in the nation, and had drawn new found attention to the return of "30 Rock," which had been critically acclaimed, but somewhat underappreciated by much of the public, possibly because so many people were watching "Impact" on Spike at the exact same time.
Judah had kind of put out an open invitation to visit the show's set, and as the season wound down, I decided to take advantage. So I showed up, got the tour around, constantly reminding myself that what I was seeing was not an actual set for a late night variety show, but was in fact a set for a situation comedy show about a fictional variety show. So the "star" dressing rooms, like the one for Tracy Jordan, wasn't a real dressing room, but a fictional dressing room for Tracy Jordan's fictional character on the fictional variety show. Did I get that right?
I got to meet Liz Lemon, too, and she couldn't have been nicer. Extremely soft spoken, and seemingly shy, she thanked me for lending my shirt to the show and said she remembered me from my brief appearance on Saturday Night Live - the one the Rock hosted in 2000. "Yes, I remember you" Tina said. "You were the one who was all starry eyed over Cheri Oteri." O.K. maybe she didn’t say it, but I think she was thinking it.
It was a nice little exchange. Nothing really noteworthy, (though I am noting it here) but nice nonetheless. But as Tina Fey walked away, I called out to her, clumsily, awkwardly, knowing I "had one more thing left to say."
"Tina, Tina." She turned around, and with all the confidence of a schoolboy approaching a blackboard to work on a math equation he has no clue about, I forged ahead with the words I simply had to say.
"I just wanted to say that I'm, um, really happy for all your success."
"Thank you," Tina said, a shy little smile on her face.
"I don't just mean happy either. I mean like really happy. You know, I'm friends with Kevin James and the Rock and I'm happier for your success than I am for theirs. You just have always seemed so nice, and Judah talks so highly of you."
"Thank you," she said again "You f'n loser." No, she didn't say it, but I think she was thinking it.
You know who else Judah speaks highly of? Alec Baldwin.
"I want to introduce you to Alec," Judah said.
This seemed like a pretty good way to ruin the day. Don't get me wrong, I think Baldwin's a great actor. I've enjoyed so many of his movie roles, and I think his Jack Donaghy character on 30 Rock is a sensation. I mean, from the moment I heard him answer a phone question with the words "five inches, but it's thick" on the very first "Rock" episode, I knew he was on to something. So while I enjoyed him as an actor, I had just gotten the feeling that personally, he'd kind of be like, a, um you know… dick.
"Yeah, Alec's really cool," Judah said as we made our way to his real life dressing room. "He's really nice to everyone and he's really generous."
Cool? Nice? Generous? Three adjectives I would not have previously thought applicable to Alec Baldwin.
Judah knocked on the door "Alec, it's Judah. I have a friend who'd like to say hello."
"O.K. just give me a minute."
He emerged, true to his word, almost exactly a minute later, and immediately dropped four or five f-bombs on me. They weren't bad f-bombs though. They were good ones, happy ones, surprised to see me ones. Alec, you see, had recently seen "Beyond the Mat," and had been very impressed.
I was impressed with Baldwin too. Remember how I said that some women tell me I look better in person than I do on T.V.? Well so does Baldwin. He may well have been the best looking guy I'd ever met live. I mean he was really, really good looking. You know who else is a good looking guy? Terrence Howard. My wife and I saw him on an elevator in New York City, and talked to him a little bit about his latest project. I swear, my wife almost fainted when he got off the elevator. 19 years together, and I'd never seen her like that. Holding her heart, giddy, like one of those hysterical girls watching the Beatles rock Shea Stadium in 1964. Hey, I don't get that kind of response from her!
O.K., that's all for me talking about good-looking guys - even if it was done in a completely rugged, heterosexual way. Hey, how about that Bears game?