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Johanna Schneller: Fame Game

Annoying things about Tina Fey: She really does have it all Add to ...

As comfortable as Fey is in the boys' club, hers is decidedly a woman's story. This is especially evident in a chapter entitled, "Sarah, Oprah, and Captain Hook." Fey chronicles the heady days of September, 2008, when she was simultaneously taping a 30 Rock episode with Winfrey, appearing as Sarah Palin on SNL and planning her daughter's third birthday party. Unlike a memoir written by, say, Donald Trump, she insists that each of those things is equally important.

"You can see the proximity of those events in the pictures on my iPhone, " Fey said. "It's like, 'Here's us at the Emmy's [ 30 Rock won seven that year]' Three pictures later is Alice's first day of preschool. Then there's a shot of me backstage with [British singer]Adele at SNL. In the long run, they do have the same weight. They were all equally exciting to me."

She laughed. "It is exhausting, though, the 'having it all' thing," she said. "How about not all - let's not have it all. I could be a person who says, 'I have to make a movie every summer.' But I can't be. If the movie aspect of my career never fully takes off as much as it might, were I not also a mother, that's fine. In some ways, TV has always been better to women. I don't have figures to substantiate this, but I feel women get more opportunities on TV, because female viewers control TV a little more. Movies seem to be dominated by what boys and husbands want to see. When scripts are passed around they're often quite ridiculous. But [Canadian SNL co-creator] Lorne Michaels gave me good advice: Never make a movie that you yourself wouldn't want to see. I really do want to write one again. It's just impossible with the series at the same time."

To achieve success is one thing. To admit it - without being obnoxious - is a trickier feat. But Fey pulls it off in that chapter: She lets herself feel the thrill of success, and so we feel it, too. The Palin impression "came along at a time when I was ready to not be afraid to do that," Fey said. "If I was on the show I might have been too nervous, or felt like it was too much of a career opportunity. I might have choked up. It is a rare and special moment to be able to say, in any career, 'Okay, for sure. We did that.' It doesn't happen often."

Fey calls herself "a happy person," and she's especially so right now. " 30 Rock is wrapped for the year, which means I feel like I'm on vacation. It's nice not to have to be hiding my pregnancy any more. We'll start writing the next season while I'm still pregnant, but we won't start shooting until after the baby's born. In January, when I was in my first trimester and editing the book and trying to be in the 30 Rock writers' room, that was a struggle. But I knew, 'Okay, when my pregnancy gets to week 13, I won't be nauseous any more.' " She chuckled. "It's kind of the same at 30 Rock - but that has to hit week 20 for me not to be nauseous."

Asked about co-star Alec Baldwin's recent announcement that next season will be his last, Fey was sanguine. "He's never not talking, that Alec," she said. "He's always announcing his departure to someone. We're all here for next season, and then we'll have a discussion. Obviously I want to continue with him, but it's up to him."

Would she continue without him? "I can't imagine it now," she replied. "But what if my cheques stop coming?"

There's one thing Fey definitely wants to stop talking about: her diet and skin-care regime. "Somehow it must be what sells women's magazines, because they keep asking," she said. "I can make four jokes about it, but they'll just keep pushing until I say, 'I wash with cold cream and da da da.' I've got to get better about going, 'You know what? Next.' Otherwise when they ask [over-enthused voice] 'What are your favourite healthy snacks?' I'll just answer. Then I'll read the article and it sounds like that's all I want to talk about, how the Arnold Palmer [a mix of lemonade and iced tea]is a great way to get off soda. Like that's the thrust of my day."

But she couldn't help herself. She had to say it. "It is, though," she said. "The Arnold Palmer is a great way to get off soda."

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