“30 Rock” is like one of those tiny, cheap little neighbourhood restaurants you accidentally stumble across that turn out to be magnificent, and leaves you wondering why everybody isn’t raving about it. It was an NBC comedy show which ran for seven seasons about the comings and goings on a Saturday Night Live style comedy show filmed in the NBC New York studio at 30 Rockefeller Centre (Geddit?). As it ran, it got progressively more surreal but always funny.
The show got a much deserved boost thanks to its writer, creator and star Tina Fey’s very funny performance as Sarah Palin during the 2008 campaign, but the fact is, the show can stand on its own. Fey is, in my opinion, quite possibly the funniest female comedian around, and went on after the show to write create Netflix’s equally whacky “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”.
Aside from Fey’s superbly self-mocking performance, the show boasted a brilliant ensemble cast including Alec Baldwin’s career-defining performance as the slightly mad conservative Republican Jack Donaghey, head of NBC’s television and microwave division. It’s up there with William Shatner in Boston Legal. Jack McBrayer as the mysterious page Kenneth, and extraordinarily versatile singing, dancing Jane Krakowski (Elaine in Ally McBeal) also steal scenes, as does Tracy Morgan as the unhinged star of the show.
The show was never a huge hit. It opened in the same season as Aaron Sorkin’s criminally underrated “Studio 60” which covered very similar territory, and many pundits assumed that there was only room for one SNL-inspired show. They were right, although most of them guessed the wrong one.
“30 Rock” is one of those shows that people either love and rewatch, or turn off after 15 minutes. Me? I put it up there with “Frasier”, and that’s saying something. Netflix UK and Ireland: pay attention!