On the evening of December 13, I sat on my living room floor surrounded by black
Sharpie markers and neon sheets of poster board. While early episodes of 30 Rock streamed from my nearby computer, I scribbled personalized messages on each sheet.
"Thanks for 7 great years!" one read. "30 Rock has the sexiest cast," said another. My favorite was, "Kenneth Parcell is My Justin Bieber."
Tomorrow morning I'd take these posters and, along with a cameraman and comedian/filmmaker Mark Malkoff, would stand outside of Silvercup Studios in Queens, where 30 Rock is filmed. With the show in its final season, Mark and I wanted to say thank you for seven amazing years of comedy by giving high fives to as many cast and crew members as possible.
30 Rock is one of my favorite TV shows. Since the pilot episode aired back in 2006, it has never failed to deliver episodes jam-packed with jokes and hilarious, crazy storylines. It has also spawned one of my favorite and most relatable television characters: A sandwich-loving, mustache-growing, stress-eating, Star Wars-obsessed, white wine and sprite-drinking, bi-curious shoes wearing, night cheese-singing, blergh-ing, Oprah-worshipping, James-Franco-one-night-standing woman -- Liz Lemon. All of the bags of Sabor de Soledad hidden in Liz's desk can not express how much I love Tina Fey for creating this character, and the show.
When we arrived at Silvercup Studios, Mark and I sat on some benches across the street from the building's main entrance. It was freezing outside, and I'd forgotten to wear gloves. We held up our posters and waited, and I was fairly confident that the nearby security guards were going to ask us to pack up and leave.
Instead, a few crew members approached and asked if we were hired extras. We said no, that we were just fans and wanted to say thank you to the cast and crew for seven great seasons. They smiled, and took our picture. A few minutes later, a young man from craft services brought us hot chocolate, followed by a young man in a suit, who gave us 30 Rock DVD sets. Another man gave us a signed poster of the cast. "In seven years, no fans have ever camped out like this," he said, and gestured toward the building. "Word is starting to spread."
This was exciting news.
I didn't think that we'd meet Tina Fey, so I hadn't thought of what I'd say if she did come outside. We'd been camped out for about two hours and word was spreading -- would it spread all the way to her? Just as I reached for a little notebook to start jotting down options for a clever opening, there she was, walking out of Silvercup and across the street to say hello, and to thank us for coming by. She hugged me, gave Mark and I each a high five, and asked about my absent gloves in the freezing weather. The whole moment has turned into a blur of excitement, but I'm pretty sure I kept saying, "Wow" over and over again, like some wind-up, talking superfan doll. What I should have said was, "Thank you for inspiring me to work harder at comedy, and for making me laugh so hard and so often for so many years, and for creating Liz Lemon so that I might embrace my own aggressive love for cheese and sandwiches."
Even though I didn't say any of this, I can still say that I've met Tina Fey. And that she hugged me, and had concern for the safety of my frozen fingers. Holy crap. Mind grapes = blown.
In addition to Tina, we were able to say thank you and congrats to a good chunk of the rest of the cast, like Judah Friedlander, Grizz Chapman, John Lutz, Keith Powell, Sue Galloway and Jane Krakowski, who walked toward us with her arms out wide. "I love you guys!" she gushed. We chatted for a while about the show's upcoming finale, and high-fived the shit out of all of them. We later learned that the day we camped out was the day of the show's final table read, so it was the last time that the entire cast would sit and read scripts together. I'm sure it was an emotional day for all of them, and I'm really glad that we were able to represent all of the fans whose love for the show hasn't dwindled one bit after seven years.
Kerri Doherty is the creator and host of a web series for Official Comedy called Geeking Out - a fanatic and often awkward celebrity interview series hosted by everyone's #1 FAN. Catch new episodes every week!
Follow Kerri Doherty on Twitter: www.twitter.com/squideatsquid