’30 Rock’ – ‘Live From Studio 6H’: With a lot of help from our friends

A quick review of Thursday night’s “30 Rock” live show coming up just as soon as I go viral and take medicine for it…

I was not a fan of last season’s live episode, feeling that the show lost far more from the gimmick (crisp timing, post-production work, etc.) than it gained (spontaneity, cameos, an enthusiastic studio audience). Tina Fey and company proved they could do “30 Rock” as a live show; I just felt it also proved that they probably shouldn’t do it again.

What made “Live From Studio 6H” an improvement over its predecessor, I thought, was that it wasn’t really an attempt to do a live episode of “30 Rock.” It was, essentially, an all-star jam band version of “SNL,” using the “30 Rock” characters to link together a bunch of sketches, celebrity impersonations, fake commercials (featuring, on the East Coast, two different Nazi Dr. Spacemans), etc.

And though not all of the sketches worked, enough of them did – Jon Hamm in an afro and blackface was the clear winner – that “Live From Studio 6H” made a much better argument for the value of live television than “The Live Show” did last fall. I still prefer my “30 Rock” to be filmed and edited in advance – particularly during a season as good as this one has been – but this was enough fun that I wouldn’t mind seeing the tradition continue as a one-shot deal each year.

What did everybody else think? Did you have a favorite sketch? Which young version came closest to the real performer: Amy Poehler as Liz, Donald Glover as Tracy or Jimmy Fallon as Jack? For those of you who watched both the East Coast and West Coast versions, which did you prefer? And on the West Coast, did Fey also fumble Hazel and Jenna’s names when Kenneth first locked them in Tracy’s dressing room? Was hard to tell if that was a real flub. Also, did anyone obviously break the way Sue the writer did after Hamm vs. Morgan?