Tina Fey

I was reading in "Advertising Age" that SNL parodied the "Whopper Virgins" commercial.

I’ve never seen it.  Not the original, not the comedic remake.  I could search them out on the Web, but that wasn’t why I was reading this "Advertising Age" article.  What had me Googling was an essay by Scott Perry, in his "New Music Tipsheet", raving about the agency’s creativity.

You can read about Crispin Porter & Bogusky’s exploits here:

But I never got past that SNL reference.  My neurons were firing.  I don’t watch SNL.  To say it’s sophomoric would be charitable.  And for those that rave about its parodies…  I don’t even watch them.  But I DID watch Tina Fey’s Sarah Palin takes.  Why?

Tina Fey first crossed my consciousness in the early part of this decade.  Maybe 2002, possibly earlier.  I pick that date because I just did a little research and found that’s when I wrote about her Hugh Hefner joke.  That’s what convinced me.

I’ll reprint it below.  I was looking for a YouTube clip, but the copyright police are making sure no violations are transpiring.  Keep your assets locked up, that’s the way to make money!  Worked for the music business, right?

This one joke was so good that I had to tell everybody I knew about it.  Sure, it was funny, but it was more than that.  You’ve got this girl (yes, I know we’re supposed to call them "women", but you call us "boys" and she looked GIRLISH!), who you might ask about the math homework but would never think of in a sexual way, talking trash, in the process skewering both Hugh Hefner and her sister females.  She was like Michael Jordan going to the hoop.  To watch her slice and dice was a thing of beauty.

Now I was a fan.  I recorded SNL every week just to fast-forward to Ms. Fey’s segment.  When she ultimately moved on, I continued to record, but then stopped, realizing it wasn’t about the segment, but her.  She was brilliant.

Tina got her own show, "30 Rock".  I watched an episode online.  It was too safe.  It didn’t have the edge of that Hefner joke.  The "cognoscenti" said it was great, but no one was watching.  Could it be that the show just wasn’t that good?

But then came the Sarah Palin impersonation…

First, Tina Fey was lucky that Sarah Palin was a dead ringer.  If the nominee was Hillary Clinton, or a  male, she’d have been shit out of luck.   And with this facial similarity, Ms. Fey used all the chops she’d honed for the better part of a decade to hit one SO far over the wall that the entire country tuned in.  And continued to tune in to watch her skewer the VP nominee.

It became a Web phenomenon.  Viewed by many more people than watched the show.  The "cognoscenti" said it was about SNL, but it wasn’t.  It was about Tina Fey, her time had come.

I liked the Palin parodies.  But not as much as the Hefner joke.  Once upon a time, she was mine.  This girl who could run with the boys, and beat them.  Now she was everybody’s.  But that was fine with me.  Because she DESERVED IT!

Kind of like Yes.  I had their first two albums before anybody had heard of them.  When they broke through on their fourth, I was proud.  Even though I liked the first record best.  This is the way it used to be in music.  You found an act and owned it.  You told everybody you knew about it.  And by time they finally broke through, you were happy.  And sometimes, burned out.  But you didn’t hate the act.  You could never hate the act.

Today, you become a fan of an act and then the label is so busy reaching every last customer that you hate the band before they’re even through working the first album.

And there’s no development.  Tina Fey could not have nailed Sarah Palin if she hadn’t put in all that hard work.  She was READY! As for the other "stars" on SNL…  Not one could have done the VP nominee justice.  They’re journeymen at best.  Whereas Tina Fey is a star.

Stars are not hatched overnight.  They’re developed, they grow.  But in the music business, everybody’s an instant supernova. But the public isn’t buying it.  People don’t want to see these wannabes.  They want to go see the acts that have proven themselves again and again, who they believe can truly play.

It takes years to get it right.  Which is why Death Cab For Cutie does great business and the "American Idol" winners appear in plays, if they’re lucky.  As for Ms. Clarkson…  If she truly had fans, if she truly had a career, her last album wouldn’t have stiffed. Fans support your every endeavor.  Kelly is only as good as her last hit.  It’s too much about the hits and not the acts.

As for the acts you love who can’t sing…  Or who can play but can’t write memorable material…  They’re like those indecipherable cast members on SNL.  You may like them, but the rest of us are not paying attention, they’re not quite good enough.

You’ve got to be great.  And greatness doesn’t happen overnight.  It doesn’t mean you’ve got to develop in public, although it helps, it just means you’ve got to focus on writing, singing and playing more than your look.

As for Whoppers…  Crispin Porter & Bogusky can always get a new client.  Just like a label can always get a new act.  But if you’re the burger, if you’re the talent, every decision is critical.  It’s your reputation, your career on the line.  If you’re willing to do anything to make it, you’re doing too much.  You’ve got to learn how to say no.


The joke:

"Tonight, Playboy founder Hugh Hefner will celebrate his 75th birthday. At Hefner’s side will be his seven girlfriends – Stephanie, Tiffany, Regina, Cathy, Kimberly, Buffy and, of course, Tina. Because wherever two or more whores are gathered, there’s always a Tina.

Now, when I first saw these women, I thought the same thing we all did – what has happened to affirmative action in this country? Hefner’s dating seven blonde, white women – not a blonde pubic hair among them, might I add. Not a pubic hair among them. Come on, though – seven blondes? There’s not a hot Asian woman you can throw in there? A light-skinned black woman? A deaf brunette? Something? Where’s the diversity? When are we going to have a Hefner harem that looks like America? Am I really to believe that these women, each of them, offers you something unique? Let’s go over them, if you will…

This one is 19, okay. Two months ago she was working at Dairy Queen, now she goes clubbing every night with Bill Maher and Don Adams. Is she better off? It’s hard to say!

This one…this one isn’t even trying. I’m actually very disappointed in this one. What is that, a man’s shirt? You are the weakest link – goodbye!

This one doesn’t even have a name anymore.. she’s just ‘Girl.’ She’s basically just there because she knows CPR.

This one is always next to him, always holding his hand. (in Chinese accent) ‘She a numba one girlfriend!’

At 28, Tina is the oldest and has a two-year-old son. That must be a wonderful way to grow up, playing Fetch the Ashtray with James Caan in the Grotto, while your mom’s upstairs praying for the Viagra to wear off so she can get you to the orthodontist on time. Fantastic.

These two…(points to next two girlfriends)…these two right here, these two are like this…(crosses fingers) But sometimes they’re like this…(squeezes fingers)

And this one, clearly, this one is willing to do something the others will not do. Whatever the filthiest thing you can think of — it’s a little worse than that, and she’ll let you photograph her doing it. Gotta be the reason she’s there.

But you know what? You can’t condemn these women, because at least they work together, they support each other, and how many women can say that, right?

And these women aren’t doing it for the money. They’re doing it because they were molested by a family friend.

I salute you, Hefner ladies. You are making it work! Back to you Jimmy!"

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