He’s suave, successful, and able to speak his mind freely. From the moment Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) was introduced as the ultimate boss on NBC’s 30 Rock, he never once hesitated in reminding his subordinates of his role as not only their supervisor but also as their better in all aspects of life. Sure, he may have come off as pompous and arrogant, but he was rarely proven wrong, and he showed everyone, including his mentee, Liz Lemon (Tina Fey), exactly what being a success really entailed. So, here are the best Jack Donaghy quotes for the next time you need to prove to everyone that you are, in fact, better than other people.
“The Beeper King. Really?”
After Liz gets back together with her terrible ex-boyfriend, Dennis (Dean Winters), Jack does everything he can to show her that she deserves better, and sets the two of them up with a table at New York’s most exclusive restaurant. While Liz keeps using Dennis’ new job selling Beeper King beepers as an excuse to justify getting back together with him, Jack relays his disappointment with such well-crafted subtlety it’s barely noticeable. When you’re a member of society’s elite, your scorn and disdain should reflect your refinement, otherwise, you’re no better than a common beeper salesman shoving fried cod into his mouth.
“I’ll have the wardrobe department pull a dress for you. I just thought maybe you’d like to spend some time with a… different class of people.”
As Liz’s self-appointed mentor, Jack is determined to show the kind of potential he sees in her, and starts by taking her to the birthday party of European royal Prince Gerhardt (Paul Reubens). Being superior doesn’t have to be about keeping your privilege all to yourself, it’s about finding the potential in others, and elevating them beyond the kind of company they typically surround themselves with. You know, the type that get into water bottle fights with one-another to pass the time.
“It’s a symbiotic relationship. I’m a mighty great white shark, Lemon, and you are a remora, clinging to me with your suction cup head. I give you a free ride and in exchange you, uh… eat my parasites.”
After years spent trying to learn the Jack Donaghy secret to success, Jack’s fiance, Avery (Elizabeth Banks), suggests that it might be time to end Jack and Liz’s mentor/mentee relationship for their mutual benefit. While the two begrudgingly agree and try their best to change their relationship into one that’s more in line with the boss/employee dynamic, it doesn’t take long before it’s clear that they need one another more than they’d realized. Remember: it’s important to appreciate those you’ve chosen to surround yourself with, though it’s equally important to not be a parasite-eating remora.
“Okay, in my defense, every April 22nd I honor Richard Nixon’s death by getting drunk and making some unpopular decisions.”
Just because you’re superior, that doesn’t mean you’re not immune to making mistakes, it’s just that you’re better at how you make them. Jack, for example, sets aside an entire day dedicated to poor decisions, which just happens to fall on the anniversary of Nixon’s death. To be successful in anything, you’ve got to be able to allow yourself to screw some things up now and then, but to truly rise to the top, you’ll need a way to manage these mistakes with brazen efficiency.
“You’re preaching to the choir, Kenneth. I mean, I love the earth. I have these rare Kadupul blossoms flown in every morning from Sri Lanka on a private jet. That’s the definition of green. And yet, they force us to do more. More sacrifices. Why? For the children. What have children ever done for us?”
When the network makes everyone cut back their carbon footprint, Jack puts Kenneth (Jack McBrayer) in charge of the task. Not surprisingly, neither think too much of the whole ‘climate change’ thing, with Kenneth writing the whole thing off as a bunch of “scientist talk.” On the other hand, Jack laments his genuine, albeit misguided, love of the Earth. And, like everything he does, his appreciation means enjoying its bounty with style and exclusivity. When you’re superior, everything you do will reflect who you are. This not only includes your love for the planet, but also any disdain you harbor toward children and their selfish desire to be left with a better world.
“Stop trying to amuse yourself and start thinking about what makes actual human beings laugh.”
Tired of what he sees as “elitist, east coast humor,” Jack decides to take Liz on a trip to the real America to help broaden her decidedly food-based world-view. Even when he’s trying to be inclusive and champion the common people of this country, he can’t help but come off as just a little bit of an elitist. Such is the case when you live your life on the top rung of society’s ladder.
“Letting morality get in the way of making money. I might as well go and… be a teacher.”
This one is something of a life lesson for Jack Donaghy. It starts with him trying to keep Regina Bookman (Queen Latifah) from being elected to office, which would threaten NBC’s merger with Kabletown. To help make this happen, he rallies behind a third-party candidate from Rhode Island, Steve Austin (John Slattery). Of course, as badly as Jack wants this merger, he soon realizes that Austin’s not capable of serving in public office, (or being in public, in general) and lets him loose to sabotage the campaign he’d worked so hard building. In choosing to do the right thing over his bottom line, he laughs at what he’s become, and echoes a sentiment made by fellow elitist Malory Archer. However, just because you’re superior, doesn’t mean you have to risk destroying the fundamentals of democracy. Right?
“You’ve come a long way, haven’t you, Kenneth Ellen, with your cheap loafers and your page jacket? But you’ll always be a pig farmer’s son, boy, cause I smell fried baloney all over you.”
Perhaps the greatest display of Jack’s superiority came very early on in the show’s run after he invites himself to the typically low-stakes poker game that the TGS crew has every Friday night. While their usual antes of loose change gets upped significantly upon his arrival, Jack soon displays his mercilessness and uses it to take down his opponents one-by-one. All except for Kenneth, whose genuine good-nature and general thoughtlessness proves impossible for Jack to contend with — at least at first. Not willing to accept defeat, Jack uses all the resources at his disposal to find an angle that he can use to destroy him, which he does, even delivering his final verbal blow in a mock hillbilly accent to really drive his point home.
If you really want to prove that you are better than other people, then do it with all the ruthlessness, resourcefulness, and cunning you have at your disposal. After all, there’s a reason it’s known as the ‘Jack Donaghy method.’