'30 Rock' Live: On the scene at the East Coast taping!

SPOILER ALERT! Don’t read any further if you haven’t yet watched tonight’s live 30 Rock fandango. I was lucky enough to be in the audience of the 8:30pm East Coast taping (along with my colleague Michael Ausiello) and it was a lot of fun, kinda like a truncated Saturday Night Live taping. After each skit, the cast would quickly jet off stage to prepare for their next moment. In between commercial breaks, the SNL band played music. My other colleague Archana Ram attended the dress rehearsal earlier in the evening and not much seemed to have been changed.

Executive producer Lorne Michaels walked out before the show and surveyed the sets, particularly Jack’s office. Cheyenne Jackson and Jane Krakowski warmed up the audience with some tunes (and Krakowski did seem to once again have trouble with her dress). The audience applauded the (kinda) surprise guest-stars like Matt Damon, Rachel Dratch, Chris Parnell, Bill Hader, Jon Hamm, and—the biggest actual surprise of the night—Julia Louis-Dreyfus. TV fans may remember that Tina Fey thanked Julia Louis-Dreyfus in her 2008 Emmy speech by saying that whenever she’s at an acting loss on 30 Rock her husband tells her to act like Louis-Dreyfus. Then, Louis-Dreyfus paid Fey back in a comedy skit on Late Night with Conan O’Brien in which she pretended to steal Fey’s Emmy. The pair shared a nice albeit surreal moment after the final sketch, laughing while clad in the same outfit.

Throughout the taping, everyone seemed to be almost giddy with excitement. Lots of smiles from the actors and Fey danced a little jig as the cast was introduced moments before the show. Alec Baldwin even got in the dancing spirit by the end of the night, doin’ a two-step with the robot and bear, a.k.a. Liz Lemon’s birthday guests.

There weren’t a ton of stars in attendance from what I could tell. NBC News Brian Williams was in the audience as well as NBC execs Angela Bromstad and Jeff Gaspin.

Overall, the audience seemed to have a great time and I personally laughed out loud throughout. Hopefully it played as well at home.

What did you think of the live 30 Rock episode, PopWatchers? Did they pull it off?

Comments (81 total) Add your comment
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  • korrinn

    It was weird, but good. The only thing was that it almost seemed like it had a laugh track with the audience and that the actors had to almost yell over the laughing in order for the scenes not to get too long

  • Derek

    Yep. Much better than I expected. Had low expectations for a live show, but it was great. Random, but really funny and cool.

    • JonWes

      Why are so many people surprised a LIVE show was in front of an audience. LOL. Do you think performers like to perform things live without any sort of immediate feedback?

    • Woot

      the laughter was weird for the first minute, then it was fine. The randomness of the live episode was great and I loved it.

    • che

      ? I loved the goodbyes! I thought it was a great touch and the show was acknowledging its roots.

      They had an SNL director to direct this and it is filmed in SNL’s studio. I thought it was a new interesting take on live shows as compared to the W&G ones.

      But it does show how fast paced, tight and filled with jokes the normal 30 Rock episode is.

    • deedee

      Larry comments on every article on this site; all negative comments! go figure

    • Snsetblaze

      I thought it was hilarious. I did not mind the laughter because it sounded real, not like a laugh track.

    • Jerry Seinfeld

      HAHAHAHAHA LD you are so funny. i kind of wish you would have wish you would be the exception to the cure for herpes. Suffer in silence and let us enjoy our show mo’ fo’

    • Elizabeth

      I think Larry’s jealous he didn’t get tapped to be Lemon’s body double.

    • Alan

      You’re a jerk.

  • maggie

    loved every minute of it.

  • KJF (Month of the Monsters !)

    It was really good. I laughed all the time and Julia Louis Dreyfuss playing Liz Lemon’s memories’ Liz Lemon was hilarious.

  • Amy


    Despite it being ‘real’, it just seemed, in all respects, well – FAKE. Not just in the ‘delivery’ of lines, but I can’t pinpoint why, but the way they were moving in the background also seemed off.

    • Kat

      Acting looks different when the tape is polished up and edited for a screen. It took me a minute or two of feeling like I was watching an overacted stage play before I made the adjustment from the regular shiny TV look to a more raw look. Once the mental adjustment was made, I thought the show was really great.

  • Brandi

    I am a huge 30 Rock fan. Sadly, I was really disappointed by the live show tonight. It didn’t play well on television although I’m sure it was great fun to be in the audience.

  • sam

    matt damon was a hero in this eppy. They gooched with the frame falling though.

    • gah

      the frame was on purpose?! were you not listening to the dialogue?

    • Kat

      I’m not sure what you think went wrong with the frame. It WAS supposed to fall, that was the joke.

  • hannah

    i liked it but where was 2fer?

  • Dory

    I loved it!

  • Buffy Freak

    I thought having Julia Louis Dreyfus play Liz in the “flashbacks” was just genius.

    • Katja

      I enjoyed Alec Baldwin have a really fit past self…only with a smaller penis.

    • Kyle

      I loved the fact that they actually incorporated flashbacks into the live ep. Great!

  • gah

    of course brian williams was there – he’s stalking john hamm!

  • Andre

    With memories of E.R.’s live episode, I was cautiously optimistic. The East show was great – (SPOILERS) loved seeing Cheyenne and Jane’s genuine reaction to Tracy starting to strip while appearing as Oprah. Looking forward to the West show!

  • Billy

    You were looking for 2fer? I was looking for Cerie!!

    • Dean

      Is she still on the show? Have we seen her yet this season?

  • g

    30 Rock live was so much fun. Spot on

  • Doug & Jennifer Levy

    I laughed the entire show! It was the funniest half hour of television that i have seen in a very long time. I am giddy with pride for these fine actors who clearly loved playing for us. Outstanding…BRAVO!

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