Friday, October 15, 2010

30 Rock Live Episode a Hilarious Triumph

Though I don't usually watch it when it airs--preferring to catch up on the DVR or online--30 Rock is one of the most consistently funny sitcoms on the air.  The snappy patter, quick cutaways and subtle jokes stuffed between the big ones provide more laughs per episode than some shows produce in a whole season.  On Thursday night, the show was performed live.  A few other shows, notably The West Wing have done this in the past, but 30 Rock has something going for it that made the episode more than just a ratings-grabbing stunt.

Writer and lead actress Tina Fey is of course an alum of Saturday Night Live, and several of the other performers in this episode have either SNL or Broadway experience.  So acting live comes naturally to them.  The result was a very, very funny program, with a couple of great cameos.  An unusual treat for us Pacific Time Zone watchers was that the show was performed live twice, with a few tweaks and changes in the second airing.  The east coast performance was quite a bit smoother, and more like an ordinary episode. The west coast version comes off shakier, a little more like SNL, but features enough differences (particularly in the Jon Hamm commercial parody, which was much funnier in the second try) to make it worth viewing too.  Whether you're a fan of 30 Rock or a casual viewer, I highly recommend watching.
East Coast Version

West Coast Version

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