While 30 Rock was Tina Fey’s show, Alec Baldwin’s Jack Donaghy was often the best part. He was sometimes a corporate conservative stereotype, sometimes a true friend, but every time utterly hilarious. With his insatiable desire to climb the GE corporate ladder and fondness for collecting cookie jars, Jack was a man of many contradictions. Say what you will about Baldwin’s personal life, but the man brought brilliant comedic timing and a genuine beating heart to the role. There are many things to miss about 30 Rock, and Jack’s corporate speak and growing dedication to being a mentor are at the top of the list.
Set aside your Catholic guilt and check out some of the best blustering bits of bravado from the man who invented the trivection oven and can guess your sexual orientation based solely on your shoe choice.
“It’s after six. What am I, a farmer?”
This was an early moment in the Jack and Liz friendship. As the seasons progressed, she became less and less surprised by his offhand snobbery.
“I never sleep on planes. I don’t want to get incepted.”
Jack is the epitome of #richpeopleproblems, be they real or fictional.
“There are no bad ideas, Lemon. Only good ideas that go horribly wrong.”
Jack has all the optimism of a rich, white man, and he is usually able to deliver on the business front. On camera, however, he tends to be an utter disaster.
“Human empathy. It’s as useless as the Winter Olympics.”
Other things Jack does not approve of: curly haired men, left-handedness, and eating burritos after sex.
“I do admire Wonka. He’s a true capitalist. His factory has zero government regulation, slave labor, and an indoor boat. Wonderful.”
You know how Donald Trump is a living, breathing human in the public eye? Well, Jack is basically his empathetic, fictional counterpart.
“Lemon, what happened in your childhood to make you believe people are good?”
After growing up with an absentee, criminal father, and a mother who is less nurturing than some terrorist cells, Jack is often surprised by Lemon’s faith in people. Hugging… so ethnic.
“Well, it’s business drunk. It’s like rich drunk. Either way, it’s legal to drive.”
Tina Fey often used Jack to skewer the upper class, providing an endless stream of heightened conservatism and ridiculous privilege.
“Never go with a hippie to a second location.”
This is actually very solid advice, even if that hippie is Carrie Fischer.
“Lemon, the grown-up dating world is like your haircut. Sometimes, awkward triangles occur.”
Jack spends a lot of the series torn between women, especially Elizabeth Banks’ Avery, Salma Hayek’s Elisa, and Julianne Moore’s Nancy. None of these relationships were as strong as his friendship with Liz, but kudos to Fey for never forcing a romance between mentor and mentee.
“It’s the ultimate game. Jack Donaghy, playing with himself… it’s a Jack-Off.”
In Jack’s opinion, he is really his only equal opponent. The idea of beating himself gives him more masculine validation than any woman ever could.
“Ambition is the willingness to kill the things you love and eat them in order to stay alive. Haven’t you ever read my throw pillow?”
30 Rock had some truly hilarious throwaway sight gags over the years, and this was one of the best. While the pillow is ridiculous, it makes absolute sense that Jack would have that in his office.
“We all have ways of coping. I use sex and awesomeness.”
While most of his hubris is earned, Jack doesn’t exercise much humility. Ever. This often backfires to great effect.
“How gay, Banks? On a scale from bear hunting to hunting bears.”
Donaghy’s rivalry with Will Arnett’s Devon Banks is rife with double entendres and gravelly voiced arguments. While Donaghy always manages to get the upper hand, the give and take between these two never suffers from a lack of hilarity.
“The ocean is awesome and for winners. You’re for tools!”
Some of Jack’s passions are a bit inexplicable, like his deep love of the ocean. The fact that he wouldn’t hesitate to destroy a preteen girl on the way to business success makes much more sense.
“I’m gonna make you a mixtape. You like Phil Collins?” – Tracy
“I’ve got two ears and a heart, don’t I?” – Jack
While the Lemon/Donaghy friendship is the core of the show, Jack’s relationship with Tracy is one of 30 Rock‘s most underrated. Both excessively rich, Tracy’s extravagance often shines a light on Jack’s own ridiculous habits. Not Phil Collins enjoyment, though. Nothing wrong with that.