How the '30 Rock' cast fared on live episode
Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Jon Hamm were among the familiar faces.
NEW YORK -- Julia Louis-Dreyfus -- as Tina Fey's Liz Lemon in flashbacks -- Jon Hamm, Bill Hader and Rachel Dratch were guest stars on Thursday night's live episode of "30 Rock," whose East Coast version seemed to come off without a hitch.
As promised by Fey, the guest lineup included many members of the "30 Rock" family who viewers had seen on the show before. Matt Damon, who is a regular on the show this season, also was part of the episode, which was performed at the studio of Fey's old home "Saturday Night Live."
Jane Krakowski's Jenna Maroney character probably had the most topical joke. When she heard that all the Chilean miners had been freed, but were upset at what she had said, she replied: "I guess they are geniuses for getting stuck in a mine."
Other punchlines of jokes also featured Fox News, which in a skit on "30 Rock's" show TGS was introduced as a division of Fox Nonsense Inc., ObamaCare and the mother of "Jersey Shore" star Snooki.
Some punchlines sounded like inside jokes about the live episode and its dangers.
For example, at the beginning of the show, as Tina Fey's Liz Lemon entered the office of Alec Baldwin's Jack, who was trying to stay sober, he asked: "Does it seem weird to you in here? ... Everything looks like a Mexican soap opera."
Moments later, he told her: "Have a good show. I'm dreading to see it sober."
At another point, Lemon told Tracy Morgan's Tracy that he shouldn't improvise on "TGS." "Sure, audiences love it when something goes wrong," she said. "We don't do that here," she added as a picture on the backwall shifted sideways.
Morgan was seen by some as a potential risk of a live "30 Rock," but he had said beforehand he was approaching the live episode seriously. Fey also had said he may have taken off his shirt on TV before, but she trusted his live skills and professionalism.
In an apparent planned reference of that comment, Jordan in a "TGS" Oprah skit indeed pulled up his top. "Uh oh, now my shirt is accidentally falling off," he said to audience cheers.
Dreyfus and Fey also were the topic of a joke. "Why are you better looking in your memory?" Jack asked Liz after the first Liz flashback featuring Louis-Dreyfus. She replied: "My memory has Seinfeld money."
In one live twist, Krakowski sang a brief opening song set to the "30 Rock" theme music.
Meanwhile, real commercial breaks were preceded by fake commercial messages performed by the likes of Hamm.
And when the "TGS" crew discussed how they could shorten the show and Scott Adsit's Pete suggested cutting the Capital One product integration, Baldwin's Jack launched into a Capital One plug. It was followed by the camera's move onto Judah Friedlander's Frank wearing a baseball hat that said "Promotional consideration" and a T-shirt that read "furnished by Capital One."
The show ended with Fey thanking the audience, the guest stars, everyone at NBC, as well as the "30 Rock" and "SNL" teams.