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Can Tina Fey Save ‘Saturday Night Live?’

Her '30 Rock' legacy suggests she's a solid choice to replace Lorne Michaels

We may not hear “Live from New York, it’s Saturday night!” this Fall.

Dueling Hollywood strikes shut down most productions, including late-night TV and “Saturday Night Live.” That means the latter’s 49th season may be delayed indefinitely.

The strikes show little sign of ending, and the acrimony flowing from both camps is palpable.

Yet news recently broke that “SNL” founder Lorne Michaels, 78, may be stepping aside. His potential replacement starred on the NBC series for nine years and has a formidable comic legacy beyond her “SNL” reign.

That’s Tina Fey, Mark Twain Prize recipient and winner of nine Emmy awards.

A source told The Post that Tina Fey is being courted to take over as executive producer of “Saturday Night Live” when creator and current executive producer Lorne Michaels departs.

It’s hardly a done deal, and another source dismissed the report. She’s still one of the most likely names to take over if and when Michaels leaves the gig. He once said he’d stick around through the show’s 50th season, which begins next fall.

Fey has the experience and comic chops to earn the gig, but she’s also as relentlessly liberal as your average “SNL” sketch. Her biggest “SNL” moment came when she repeatedly played Gov. Sarah Palin, mocking the Alaskan’s mental acuity in the process.

Sarah Palin and Hillary Address the Nation - SNL

On the surface, that doesn’t make her a questionable choice to revive a show drowning in progressive groupthink. It’s a disastrous one.

Think again.

Fey starred and co-created “30 Rock,” the NBC sitcom that brought surprising balance to the culture wars. Yes, the film’s corporate villain Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) was a conservative, but the material around him regularly mocked liberal tropes.

The show also showed Donaghy’s softer side, bringing balance to the portrait.

Jack Donaghy Glorious Entrance (First Scene) | 30 Rock

“30 Rock’s” politics were never center stage, but Fey tweaked both sides if it could generate a laugh. That’s the spirit “SNL” sorely needs after a decade-plus of genuflecting towards the DNC.

Laughs come first. Always. Partisanship must take a back seat. Michaels no longer abides by that golden rule.

Fey bemoaned the divisive nature of our political culture in 2019, suggesting her leadership might bring a less angry edge to its satire.

“The culture is so ugly and the political climate is so ugly,” she said. “We would always have everybody on because you could. You’d have Bush Sr. come do a thing with Dana Carvey before I worked there. It’s so truly ugly now.”

She also shared her take on the infamous Palin impression, saying she wanted to be “fair” to the divisive figure.

“I’m not just gonna go with the flow of like, ‘Okay, you love her. You hate her.’ Let me think with my own mind of what do I think about her.”

“SNL” could use a right-leaning show runner, of course, but there might be a mutiny if NBC hired a conservative to replace Michaels.


Fey also shredded the PC police in 2015 when her work came under attack for being “problematic.” She said she makes it a policy not to explain jokes. Except she later did a 180 on that worldview.

Which Fey would take over “SNL” should the move become official? Will she fight for “problematic” jokes knowing laughs matter more than outrage? Or keep the show neutered for the foreseeable future?

The bigger question?

Does Fey care about the show’s legacy enough to bring ideological balance back to the once-beloved show?


  1. 30 Rock had a lot of good comedy, but Fey was always smug, strident and tediously pedantic on SNL (yes, I still watch it sometimes back then.) Maybe she takes herself kiss seriously now, but I doubt it. The show surrendered its counter cultural, anti-establishment edge decades ago. It became just another boring vehicle for the most dishonest, dumb lefty hive mind wokery. NBC would never let anyone turn it into anything else now.

  2. The Dukakis After Dark sketch was great. Phil Hartman did a great Bill Clinton. Both post Carter, but still a long time.

  3. When was the last time SNL made fun of a Democrat? Jimmy Carter I think. Yes, the show hasn’t been funny for decades and should have died a dignified death a long time ago. Meh with Fey at the controls.

  4. How do they save a dead program? It’s been dead for decades. SNL is boring and has few laughs. Fey has her moments, but she is ideological despite having a gentler touch than other late night comedians.

  5. I wonder if the problem isn’t much bigger than Lorne Micheals’ (or Tina Fey) can fix. We’ve seen many cases of corporations where the CEOs are basically terrorized by their millennial woke employees. I wonder if this might be the case with SNL and its large cadre of staff writers. Historically, many SNL writers come from the Ivy League, which are ground zero institutions for churning out people marinated in humorless progressivism.

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