Working on my night cheese: Tina Fey’s 20 Funniest Moments

12.21.15 2 years ago

Tina Fey and her trusty ol' improv buddy Amy Poehler hosted “SNL” last weekend for the hell of it. It was great. Probably the best episode of the season. And it got us thinking: How many pricelessly hilarious moments has Tina Fey had? The answer is quite high. So let's simplify and pick Tina Fey's 20 funniest moments. 

20. Slurring with Steve Carell in “Date Night”

“Date Night” was a surprisingly weird movie, but it featured a couple of great Tina gags: Her rapport with Mark Wahlberg was hilarious, and her exasperated scenes with Steve Carell gave us a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see two comic greats ham it up together.

19. “Meet Your Second Wife”

Too real? Maybe. This past weekend, Tina and Amy hosted an “SNL” game show that acquainted us with the mysterious, youth-oriented nature of second wives.

18. Any of her Letterman appearances

Tina's camaraderie with David Letterman always provided cool, sophisticated banter. In her last appearance on Dave's show, she stripped down to say thanks with Spanx.

17. The painful truth of “I want to go to there.”

Liz Lemon was always relatable, but sometimes was she painfully relatable. When she uttered, “I want to go to there” at Jon Hamm in a stunned, LOLcats-type haze, 

16. Nadya welcomes you to the gulag in “Muppets Most Wanted”

“Muppets Most Wanted” may not have been a cinematic triumph, but Tina Fey was a riot as the well-costumed, sneering gulag doyenne Nadya. Enjoy her thick accent and flirtatious badinage with a frog.

15. Marcia Clark is a comedic genius in “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”

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Tina Fey turned OJ Simpson trial legend Marcia Clark into a Dr. Spaceman-like lunatic in “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” It earned her an Emmy nomination and a stellar perm.

14. So fetch: The “Mean Girls” DVD commentary

Please, please, please acquire the “Mean Girls” DVD so you can hear Tina Fey's unsparing, incredibly funny commentary. It's transcribed in the above clip, but you get so much bang for your buck — including the confession, “This is the scene where we lost Roeper.” 

13. The unbelievable Joni Mitchell parody “Paints and Brushes” 

“30 Rock” was chock full of Easter eggs, but none was finer than “Paints and Brushes,” a Joni Mitchell spoof ballad that played in the background during a bar scene. The lyrics are hilarious (especially the rundown of Canadian geography), the vocals are deeply effective, and the commitment level is outrageous. 

12. The simple truths of “Bossypants”

“Bossypants” is a breezy, delicious memoir. Best part: when she slams folks like Jerry Lewis for pretending funny women aren't real. “I don't like Chinese food, but I don't write articles trying to prove it doesn't exist.”

11. “Unscripted” with Amy Poehler

Whilst promoting “Baby Mama,” Tina Fey and Amy Poehler sat down to answer a few questions. And it was uproarious. The Tina Turner “confusion” alone is fantastic.

10. The folksiest lil' VP candidate ever

Sarah Palin will make another appearance on this list, but we begin with our first introduction to Tina's take on the Thrilla from Wasilla. Her back-and-forth with a delirious Hillary Clinton remains divine.

9. Night cheese. Just, night cheese.

It's Liz Lemon's weird, dada song about cheese she's eating at night. So blithely embarrassing.

8. The sometimes unwise wisdom of Ms. Norbury in “Mean Girls”

We reflect on “Mean Girls” so much but often forget that Tina's role in the movie adds necessary gravitas. Check out this harried monologue about a tough, downtrodden life in the burbs.

7. Any acceptance speech. Any.

Tina Fey was born to win awards. She never approaches a dais without a few planned bon mots. Here she admits she steals from Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

6. That Mark Twain Prize speech

Tina Fey is not a standup by trade, but she throws down a number of one-liners that qualify as Apollo-ready. That line about Lorne's wives? Fire.

5. Her glorious reign as Golden Globes cohost

Tina and Amy are the best awards show cohosts of all time. Period. We fumbled through the 1980s with Academy Awards telecasts featuring multiple hosts, and it was only in the 2010s that we got the recipe right. Here's my favorite Tina/Amy monologue: their first of three emcee gigs at the Golden Globes.

4. “I can have it all.”

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Here's Liz Lemon trying to get through airport security and enjoy her Sandwich Day treat. Watch her hopeless attempt at having it all. Live it.

3. Any old Weekend Update clip will do

Tina Fey's stint as Weekend Update anchor established her as a comic authority. It is essential to her legacy and remains timeless. Here she mentors Lindsay Lohan with little success.

2. Sarah Palin vs. Katie Couric

This was the deadliest Sarah Palin sketch: She dealt with Katie Couric's condescending grimace, answered questions about her own adorability, and had the nerve to quote the real Sarah Palin in what's come to be a legendary characterization. 

1. In one episode of “30 Rock,” we met Jury Duty Princess Leia and Oprah-hallucinating Liz Lemon

Check it: Within the same legendary episode of “30 Rock,” we got to see Liz Lemon dodge jury duty by adopting the persona of a bizarro Princess Leia impersonator and hallucinate a dialogue with Oprah Winfrey. It's pure Liz Lemon and uproarious Tina Fey. 

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