30 Rock Live: Who Flubbed First? Which Surprise Guest Was Your Favorite? Plus: Photo Gallery!

NBC’s 30 Rock went live this Thursday night, and the product was decidedly Saturday Night Live-lier than the sitcom’s first time flying without a net.

The framework for this live outing had Jack, Liz and 10 other characters locked in Tracy’s dressing room to (ostensibly) debate, 12 Angry Men-style, the pros and cons of TGS no longer broadcasting live. But it was mainly Kenneth doing the talking, as he harkened back to the network’s golden age of live programs such as The Lovebirds (aka a Honeymooners rip-off), a Dean Martin-esque variety hour and a ’60s-era romp not unlike Laugh-In. That teed up standalone vignettes in which the 30 Rock regulars would take turns as new characters — meaning they had to be purposely cropped out of the preceding scene, so the actors could sneak off for a quick wardrobe switch.

In the B-story, Jenna and Hazel — egotistically oblivious to the MIA status of everyone else — plotted to use TGS‘ final live broadcast as a forum for a live marriage proposal and launch of a showbiz career, respectively.

As with 30 Rock‘s maiden live voyage, there were also guest stars aplenty, including Amy Poehler (succeeding Julia Louis-Dreyfus in the role of Flashback Liz); Sir Paul McCartney (wowing the crowd before falling unconscious in Jack’s secret washroom); an ash-faced Jon Hamm as, um, Tracy Morgan’s brother (you can almost hear the nontroversy brewing out in the blogosphere); and Jimmy Fallon (showing up as a young, steely eyed Jack).

Also, as reported prior to telecast, Community‘s Donald Glover was on hand for a flashback to Tracy’s origin as a dancer whose fall onto his coccyx, on live TV, helped him discover the power of a naughty-sounding word. Sadly, that segment was so fleeting and overlapped by studio audience laughter, we didn’t get to enjoy much of Glover’s winning Tracy Morgan impression. Cheyenne Jackson’s “return” was even more blink-and-you-missed-it, though in the West Coast version he got to sing the intro.

Who flubbed first? For the East Coast performance, it was actually Tina Fey when, four minutes in, her tongue tripped over the names of Jenna and Hazel, though others would goof later. Sue Galloway, meanwhile, appeared thisclose to breaking after Hamm showed up in the Amos and Andy riff.

A few other highlights:
* Kenneth, in recalling live TV’s greatest contributions, lumping in “The Voice results show” with the moon landing and other actually historic events.
* “Nazi doctor” Heinrich Spaceman touting the health benefits of cigarettes.
* Baldwin’s Lovebirds lunk and his comparatively brutal alternatives to Ralph Kramden’s “Bang, zoom!” catchphrase.
* The Laugh-In-like vignette, namely when Tina Fey popped open a window to channel Ruth Buzzi’s Gladys Ormphby.
* Cerie in go-go boots.
* Paul descending from the TGS rafters, singing “Zou Bisou Bisou” to Jenna.
* Fred Armisen, in drag, creeping into frame to video-bomb Fallon’s Young Jack.

Did you catch 30 Rock, live? What were the highlights for you? And West Coast viewers, consider yourself invited to pass along any changes made for the second presentation.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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69 Comments
  1. PhillyWings says:

    it was fun. I should have Tivo’d to watch again.

  2. Snsetblaze says:

    For some reason, Fred Stimson cracked me up.

  3. echuckler says:

    Also loved the heart attack “Ride it all the way to hell,” a shout-out to season one. Also: To set up for the Laugh-In parody, the show mentioned Rosemary Howard, which was Carrie Fisher’s character in a season two episode.

  4. tvaddict says:

    I enjoyed it but I think the first live episode had a slight edge over this one. Also, why isn’t Cheyenne Jackson on this show more often? He’s just so nice to look at….

  5. line says:

    so happy amy was there :)))

    • Elizabeth says:

      Yeah but don’t know how she is a teenage Liz lol
      Second best behind Donald Glover where is the love Matt & worst has got to be that horride kardashian on with Liz Lemon

  6. “Here, eat the bacon! It’ll lubricate your heart!!” I love this show so much.

  7. tvaddict says:

    Also anyone else catch Jack & Pete making out just as the credits started to roll?

  8. TV Gord says:

    It was great when Sir Paul walked in, but I was really hoping Liz’s flashback Liz would have been Sarah Palin. THAT would have had everyone talking tomorrow! Sadly, the flashbacks were too far BACK for her to carry it off.

    This one seemed a little too loosey-goosey compared to the first live episode; almost as though they weren’t taking this one very seriously. Still, last time around, the west coast version wasn’t as good as the east was. I’m hoping the reverse is true tonight. I’m half-an-hour away from finding out, so I’m quite anxious.

    While I feel this second live effort was a little anti-cLizmactic, I still love anything Tina does, so it’s been a fun night of live TV.

    One bone to pick as a Canadian viewer: the IDIOTS at City-TV dropped a commercial into the middle of the show, so we missed a little more than a minute from the first Jenna-Paul scene to the Dean Martin-esque variety show.

  9. Christine says:

    Can’t wait til Hulu tomorrow to see the west coast version!

  10. Alex says:

    It felt very Saturday Night Live, but in a good way. Paul McCartney showing up was definitely surprising, and pretty cool. I was more or less expecting Jon Hamm to be there but it was still really nice to see him. I’m surprised Tracy Morgan didn’t break this time, since he was really bad last live show.

  11. I was trying to figure out why Hazel was still in the pink go-go outfit from the Dean Martin esque bit instead of her page outfit. She had plenty of time to change. I did find the whole episode hilarious.

  12. bavarianerin says:

    Before the part whre Frank & Lutz run into each other naked, Fred Armisen was playing Frank in the dressing room!

  13. Lee says:

    Zou Bisou Bisouuuuuuuu

  14. Dana says:

    Fred behind Jimmy!

  15. Kara says:

    Did East Coast get “she who will not be named ” on their version? I did not see Sir Paul…and I think we got screwed and they replaced him for the West Coast version.

    • jules says:

      Yup. I’m pretty sure that’s what happened. I was a bit bummbed about that. Can’t wait to see the East Coast version tomorrow.

    • seras says:

      okay, good, because when i saw that i thought i must have missed something. tell me they did not swap out sir paul for kim k :( we got screwed.

      • Leah says:

        Sir Paul was in the West Coast version…he woke up with no memory, so Liz explained that they were dating and led him off stage to call girls from her high school as the episode ended…but not before Baldwin and Adsit made out.

    • tripoli says:

      Was so disappointed to see that useless twit on such an awesome show. Don’t bow down to the pressure, Tina Fey. Resist the urge to let them take you over!

  16. Deej says:

    Ahh Jon Hamm, how could I not love you even more now! And I was able to watch both through the magic of time shift!

    West Coast stuff as I remember it:

    Kim Kardashian instead of Paul McCartney
    Cheyenne Jackson singing the opening
    Brian Williams in the newscast segment

  17. Leah says:

    Did the West not get Hazel ripping up the photo!? That was the best for me!

    My favorite guest (even though they were all great) had to be Fred Armisen creeping in. In the East Coast version, Fallon broke when he looked back at him. Armisen can always steal a scene!

    • rowan77 says:

      The west coast got the Hazel/Sinead bit.

      • murley says:

        that was one of my favorite moments of the night! i guess that plus brian williams makes up for us getting kim kardashian instead of sir paul. well no it doesn’t but it takes the sting off it a little.

  18. Joe says:

    you need to rewatch it, Kenneth flubbed right out of the gate.

  19. B says:

    The east cost had the great Paul McCartney but here in the west coast we were stuck with kim kardashian, which I was hugely disappointed by having “her” on one of my favorite TV shows

  20. em says:

    Sir Paul McCartney was a complete surprise. I loved Hamm (and Sue trying to hold it in afterwards). Armisen’s appearance was also funny. I think I liked the first live show better, but this is a lot better than what SNL is churning out these days.

  21. user says:

    i need to confess something: I thught Kim K. cameo was hilarious!

    • tripoli says:

      Please go sit in the corner and think about what you’ve just said!!

    • JJ says:

      Really? It would have been great if it was Al Gore in a dolphin outfit as the new Kabletown mascot which doesn’t make sense but would have been funnier than KK.

  22. Jrs says:

    That was awesome!!!!!

  23. AJ says:

    The Jon Hamm in kinda blackface was just absolutely hilarious. I thought Tracy did a good job not breaking up in the skit. Nazi Doctor Spaceman was better than the Gay Doctor Version. And Fred Armisen was just hilarious. Only one on the show that can make me laugh without saying a word.

    Other differences:
    The Chatteron Syndrome sypmtoms were different.
    On the “Laugh In” style segement I think the joke was different and Jacks’s character popping out from the wall was different.

    • AJ says:

      And and the best line from the show: “Your going to have to shut up and let a man tell us what is going on. Is your father or a policeman near by?” ROFL And it was so much funnier when Brian Williams did it the second time.

  24. Erin says:

    Wait a second… East Coast got Paul McCartney, but West Coast got Kim freaking Kardashian?!? What a rip off!

  25. Carlos says:

    John Hamm and Kim Kardashian in the same episode? Did they acknowledge each other on the set?!

  26. John Berggren says:

    Hopefully both versions will hit the DVD set.

  27. Keith says:

    Was Danny Pudi in the episode? He tweeted a pic of him and Donald Glover backstage (Donald with his St Ray Ray Blatholic Church shirt) and Danny looked dressed like a newsboy. Did anyone see him in the background?

  28. Line says:

    AMY…I am so glad amy was there! :D

  29. Gerald says:

    The whole show was a “jump the shark” episode. Didn’t care for all the SNL cameos. Don’t enjoy thier characters on SNL so enjoyed them even less stealing scene from the 30 Rock gang. Also didn’t care for all the “Flashbacks” Only thing I liked was Tracey Jack and Liz realizing they had the early on connection calling in on the telethon.

  30. rubytu says:

    East coast version, here. It was hilarious! Great job, LIVE!! loved it. My favorite guest was Amy Poehler.

  31. TerryP says:

    Was it just me or was Fred Armisen sitting in costume as Judah Friedlander for a few seconds in the dressing room sequence. I had to look twice but I swear they swapped them out but they were in the same costume!

  32. Leah says:

    Missed Rachel Dratch…everything needs more Rachel Dratch.

  33. steve says:

    BANJO!!!

  34. Britta Unfiltered says:

    Okay, I can admit when I’m wrong. I had low hopes for this episode as I didn’t like the first live one they did (I think it was the addition of a studio audience that killed it for me), but this episode was pretty awesome. It was very Saturday Night Livey. I do think the first break of the night was when Alec Baldwin sort of lost it a little after the Paul McCartney lightly-given face slap. Wasn’t that before Liz messed up the names? Maybe I’m wrong. I loved Fred Armisen in the photo bomb, I loved everything about Kristen Schall, but mostly her ripping up the photograph was great, I loved the Mad Men reference to Zou Bisou, loved the news segment with Jon Hamm, loved The Honeymooners, loved Amy Poehler (“What a great prom night!”), liked Jimmy Fallon, but my favorite part of the night was definitely Alfie and Abner. Jon Hamm, oh my gosh. This man is a god. What can’t he do well? The one thing I was disappointed in was Donald Glover’s appearance. I’ve seen him do his Tracy Morgan impersonation and it’s always so spot on, but this felt off for some reason. Was it because it just wasn’t written crazy enough? I can’t put my finger on it. I heard the West Coast got robbed of Paul McCartney and got a Kardashian instead. That’s a shame. How did they change the ending with Liz going off with Paul McCartney “dating” Liz if they used a Kardashian instead? And why did I see two Judah Friedlanders in the closing credits? I definitely missed something there.

  35. Mary Beth says:

    I watched it and thought it was a train wreck, save yourselves and delete this episode from your DVR/Tivos!

  36. Sarabi says:

    It was marvelous!
    Better than the previous live show, in my opinion.
    Highlights: Amy Poehler as Liz Lemon, Jack and Pete making out, ripping up Sinéad’s photo, Brian Williams in the news scene, Nazi/Gay doctor, Zou Bisou Bisou…
    You know what? EVERYTHING stood out (in a good way)!
    Keep those live shows coming, Tina Fey!

    • Tracy Murray says:

      Yes, best episode ever, except for the needless Kim Kardashian appearance ( I am Canadian and from Edmonton, Alberta, we got the West Coast version ) .

  37. I have fun with, cause I discovered exactly what I used to be looking for. You’ve ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye

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