October 27, 2003
"The New Yorker, yes, The N(EW) Yorker"

Setting the hearts of hipster geeks everywhere aflutter, The New Yorker offers up the delectable geek girl-on-girl pairing of the week: Virginia Heffernan and Tina Fey. Except maybe this might have been called the writerly menage a trois that never was; does anyone know what happened to Entertainment Weekly's Kristen Baldwin?

We ask only because Heffernan's profile of Fey seems to channel the spirits of Baldwin's coverage of Weekend Update co-hosts Fey and Jimmy Fallon, which originally appeared in the May 10, 2002 issue of EW. To wit:

1. Sit in on writers' meetings and/or SNL dress rehearsal discussions to convey the humorous give-and-take of Fey's job.

"[On a saturday afternoon] The writers were trying to come up with a joke about the Dixie Chicks, whose lead singer had slighted President Bush. Doug Abeles read the setup: “While in London on Thursday, the Dixie Chicks angered country-music fans when lead singer Natalie Maines told the audience, ‘Just so you know, we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas.’” Fey squinted, as if detecting a quip in the distance...“We apologize,” she suddenly declared. “We forgot that our entire fan base were hillbillies and idiots.” Everyone chuckled except Shoemaker, who pointed out that Dixie Chicks fans were people like his wife. Fey agreed, without apology, and the group moved on to a joke about a man who swallowed a diamond ring in order to ask his proctologist to marry him." (The New Yorker, 2003)

"Update cohosts Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon survey the patchwork of hilarity looking for stuff to cut, while simultaneously facing pressing challenges...And then there is the Captain Morgan problem. "A new study reveals that eyedrops work as well as eye patches to correct lazy eye. A skeptical Captain Morgan said, 'Yeah, I've heard that one before.'" Although it's not every day a person gets to work the swashbuckling mascot of a rum brand into a joke, an Update staffer has some bad news for Fallon: "The thing is," he says matter-of-factly, "Captain Morgan doesn't have an eye patch." In a room full of comedy writers, that's all it takes to provoke a riffing frenzy." (EW, 2002)

2. Invoke Fey's adulatory hipster fan base, and the discomfort this provides her.

"As we were talking, a man in his twenties, with wild tufts of dark hair, stopped by our table, which was near the soda fountain. Over the roar of a blender, he shouted to Fey, “Can I tell you that you are amazing? I don’t want to interrupt, but you are truly, truly amazing!” Fey thanked him, staring down at her plate." (The New Yorker, 2003)

"It would embarrass Tina if she knew how many people have told me they think she's, like, the hottest woman on TV," says [Weekend Update producer Michael] Schur. The sex-symbol issue is, in fact, one that makes both Fallon and Fey squirm uncomfortably and stare at their hands. "I just try to stay out of it," says Fey, who's married to theater director Jeff Richmond. (EW, 2002)

3. Mention People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People" list in some capacity

"She lost thirty pounds in the year before she went on camera for “Weekend Update,” and she now works out with a trainer and counts the point value of each meal according to the Weight Watchers system. (Earlier this year, People included her in its annual list of most beautiful people. “Don’t mention it,” she told me. “Ride it out.”)" (The New Yorker, 2003)

"Brace yourself for some full-body blushing, buddy: Fallon just landed on PEOPLE magazine's 50 Most Beautiful list, and gossip columnists have spilled much ink linking him with such ladies as Winona Ryder and fashion designer Tara Subkoff." (EW, 2002)

Posted in a Shallow fashion.

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