PhilyPhire #3: Tina Fey


Before she became an extremely successful writer, producer, and actress, Tina Fey was often described as the typical “nerdy” kid while being raised in the Philadelphia suburb of Upper Darby during the 1970s. Aside from her school studies, Fey expressed an interest in comedy from a young age due to the fact her family shared a mutual love for the genre and frequently watched it as she was growing up. After attending Upper Darby High School where she was involved in many extracurriculars such as the school choir and drama club, Fey enrolled at the University of Virginia where she pursued a Bachelor of Arts degree in Drama.

Upon graduating from the university in 1992, Fey focused on her writing and began to develop sketches of her own. Eventually, she moved to Chicago to join The Second City which is a comedy theatre and school of improv where members train and set out to prove themselves as comedians. Fey started from a student position and worked her way up to become one of the main performers at the theatre. 

In 1997, Fey sent sketches to Lorne Michaels, who was the executive producer of Saturday Night Live at the time. She secured an interview with Lorne and soon after was hired as one of the show's three female writers. This new position launched Fey into the spotlight. During the following years, she became a key writer for the show. Her role was solidified in Saturday Night Live culture during the 2000-01 season where she made her acting debut on the show in the recurring “Weekend Update” segment. One of the segments featured below shows one of Fey’s top segments aside Jimmy Fallon (NSFW):

In 2002, Fey, along with the rest of the show’s writing cast, won an Emmy for their outstanding sketches on SNL. By 2004, she decided to take her writing and acting talents to the big screen in the popular movie titled Mean Girls. Fey’s involvement in the movie made her an even bigger name in the entertainment world. Two years later, she decided to leave SNL to pursue her own show on NBC called 30 Rock. She would go on to write, produce, and act in the show for all of its 7 seasons. Throughout the show’s run, Fey won 3 Emmys for her production efforts as well as 2 Emmys for her acting and writing achievement. 

In 2008, Fey returned to SNL and portrayed the then vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Her portrayal was so accurate and hilarious it became one of the most famous skits in SNL history. Following her SNL return appearances, she appeared in many highly successful films such as Baby Mama, Date Night, and Megamind. Fey continues to produce, write, and star in a number of motion pictures and make appearances throughout media globally. 

Tina Fey is now regarded as one of the most recognizable and influential comedians of the 21st century. Her sustained success throughout the years and her ability to climb the entertainment industry’s ladder is why she is featured in this week’s #PhillyPhire. 

(Bonus: SNL Video featuring Tina from Super Bowl 52)