“TV’s better than movies,” Fey said in an interview conducted last month by, of all people, retired late-night host David Letterman, before an audience of media and entertainment types at some sort of closed-to-the-public event at a Manhattan restaurant.
“Everybody knows it,” said Fey, who has worked in both movies and TV, but apparently favors the latter. “I mean, we act like [movies are] so great, but what was the last great movie you saw?”
Well, Tina, just off the top of my head, I can think of “The Revenant,” just to name one very powerful movie that could really have no counterpart in television. But, hey, that’s just me.
But I see her point: For producer-writers like Tina Fey who have successful track records, networks and streaming services are rolling out the red carpet, paying a lot of money, and in many cases, telling people like Fey they can do whatever they want.
What was more interesting to me about this brief portion of this Tina Fey-David Letterman interview -- in which they vaguely compared movies to television -- was that it was the most noteworthy part of their “interview,” which isn’t saying much.
This onstage Q&A and mutual love-fest is reported in detail here on THR.com, the Hollywood Reporter Web site.
In the interview, they discussed such hot-button issues as their children, Donald Trump’s Twitter “war” with Alec Baldwin, Tina’s friendship with Amy Poehler, Lorne Michaels’ driving skills (he’s not good at it, apparently), and Tina’s favorite performers on “Saturday Night Live” (Will Ferrell came in for considerable praise). Tina also revealed she owns a vacation home on Fire Island.
Predictably, neither Dave nor Tina are supporters of Donald Trump. “Did you see that my friend Mr. [Alec] Baldwin is in a Twitter feud with our president-elect?” Fey asked Letterman during their discussion about Trump’s use of Twitter.
“Good for him,” Letterman said.
“At one level, it just makes me feel sick for the state of the world because it's so beneath a president,” Fey said, “but also my feeling is: ‘You think you’re good at being a jerk on Twitter? You will now face the grandmaster of being a jerk on Twitter’.”
They then discussed the incident at a performance of “Hamilton” in which the cast read a statement about diversity that was addressed to Vice President-Elect Mike Pence, who was in the audience.
“Then the president-elect says [to the “Hamilton” cast], ‘You owe him an apology’,” said Letterman, who is evidently keeping up with current events while he’s in retirement.
Fey replied: “Immediately, my brain went to Lorne Michaels. I thought, our president-elect is a chump of a manager because don’t put yourself in a position where you’re asking for something and you’re going to be told no. I learned that from Lorne. You’re the president. You demanded an apology that you can't get. Bad management skills.”
The greatness of Lorne Michaels and Alec Baldwin vs. the terribleness of Donald Trump -- it’s all so predictable, isn’t it? If so many people hate Trump, how’d he ever get elected, anyway? Somebody must of have voted for him, even if you or I -- or Tina Fey and David Letterman -- don’t know anyone who did.
This Tina Fey-David Letterman interview is part of a current trend in on-stage interviews featuring luminaries from fields such as TV, movies and book publishing. Here in New York, these kinds of events take place all the time all over the place -- although the general public was not admitted to this Fey-Letterman event
Many of these events are open to all, sometimes for a fee and sometimes not. They are great opportunities for fans of the celebrities featured at the events, but they can also be duds.
I once saw Susie Essman interviewing Larry David on-stage at the 92nd Street Y and the two were very entertaining. Another time, the same venue featured Glenn Close interviewing and performing with Paul Shaffer, and the combination didn’t work for me.
No one commented against or in favor of the quality of David Letterman’s interview of Tina Fey at this closed-restaurant event in the Hollywood Reporter story. A good time was evidently had by all.