In 2009, 30 Rock aired an episode titled “The Bubble” written by Tina Fey which, memorably, featured Jon Hamm playing a man trapped in “a bubble” where only nice things happened to him. Also in that episode, Tracy Morgan’s Tracy Jordan receives a phone call from who he thinks is Bill Cosby, to which Jordan responds, “Bill Cosby, you got a lot of nerve getting on the phone with me after what you did to my Aunt Paulette!”
Again, this was 2009.
Since this episode has come to light again, there’s been some debate about whether this was an actual address of the, then, not-well-known allegations against Cosby, or was this just Tracy Jordan being eccentric, as his character often was?
Earlier on Friday, we spoke to 30 Rock showrunner Robert Carlock — who is promoting his new film, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot — and when asked about this line, he confirmed that, yes, they knew exactly what they were doing. Carlock explains:
“If you go back to ‘Weekend Update,’ Tina [Fey] has been grinding that ax for a long time. That was not an accident. From my memory, the joke was more overt. And because he had not been found guilty of anything – and still hasn’t – we had to reword it to be a little more obtuse. I think ever since the Today show appearance by one of the women, there’s a run or a joke she did on “Update” years ago. And Hannibal Buress was one of our writers – and he took it to the next level.”
The full interview will publish closer to release.
Mike Ryan lives in New York City and has written for The Huffington Post, Wired, Vanity Fair and New York magazine. He is senior entertainment writer at Uproxx. You can contact him directly on Twitter.