Lessons from Late Night – Tina Fey

This article ran in the New Yorker in 2011, where Tine Fey discusses what it was like to join Saturday Night Live, what she learned and what is the difference between things that men find funny and the things that women find funny.  Still feels fresh and relevant.


  1. Producing is about discouraging creativity.
  2. Figure out if there is something you’re asking the actor to do that’s making him or her uncomfortable.
  3. The show doesn’t go on because it’s ready; it goes on because it’s eleven-thirty.
  4. When hiring, mix Harvard nerds with Chicago improvisers and stir.
  5. Television is a visual medium.
  6. Don’t make any big decisions right after the season ends.
  7. Never cut to a closed door.
  8. Don’t hire anyone you wouldn’t want to run into in the hallway at three in the morning.
  9. Never tell a crazy person he’s crazy.


Sometimes the guys just literally didn’t know what we were talking about. In the same way that I was not familiar with the completely normal custom of pissing in jars, they had never been handed a bulging antique Kotex product by the school nurse.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *