“30 Rock” aired its much-publicized live episode last night, and it was stuffed to the gills with cameos and funny gags. It featured appearances by Sir Paul McCartney (East Coast), Kim Kardashian (West Coast), Amy Poehler, Jimmy Fallon, and Fred Armisen, as well as Donald Glover as a young Tracy Jordan. (Full list of East Coast/West Coast differences here.) All in all, it was a really funny half hour of television on a night full of funny half hours of television (“Community and “Parks and Rec” also killed it).
All that said, even on a night that saw one of the Beatles show up, the most notable part of the episode was frequent “30 Rock” guest Jon Hamm appearing in blackface. Now, admittedly, this is a bit of a dicey situation. One on hand, I certainly do not condone people donning blackface under most circumstances. It’s disgusting and it’s racist as all holy high Hell. But, on the other hand, the way it was played here — as a reference to exactly how racist television used to be — combined with the sheer likability and charisma of Jon Hamm, put this in a different category. I suppose my point here is this: if you are thinking about donning blackface, look in the mirror first. If, and ONLY IF, you see Jon Hamm’s rugged, handsome face staring back at you, feel free to proceed. Otherwise, pump the brakes, kemosabe.
NOTE: The astute Warming Glow reader may realize that this is the second member of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce to appear on television in blackface. Roger Sterling approves.