Christmas Comes Early: Elaine Stritch Is Back on 30 ROCK - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

Christmas Comes Early: Elaine Stritch Is Back on 30 ROCK

December 3, 2008 by  

Elaine Stritch, 30 ROCK

If you’re a multi-genre nerd like me, you can’t help but be excited when two of your favorite worlds collide: in this case, 30 ROCK and actual Broadway legends, or ELAINE freakin’ STRITCH, she of the Emmys and the Tonys and the omnipresent hats.

Stritch dialed in yesterday for an NBC Universal conference call to promote her return as Jack’s mother in the December 11 episode “Christmas Special,” and I’m happy to report that Elaine Stritch on the phone does not disappoint. A broad is a broad is a broad, and this one was brassy, sassy, and how shall we say, loose of tongue; i.e., both salty and refreshingly candid.

Her reply to the first question: “It’s never any fun to do a sitcom.” Even one as fun as 30 ROCK? “There’s nothing funny about being funny. Nothing.” But the flip side is that nothing is as satisfying as doing comedy right: “If I do it well and I get in that car to go home, and over the bridge and back to the Carlyle, if I’ve done it right, there’s no joy that can compare with it. Except just the joy of being alive; maybe that’s second.” Did you catch that? Elaine Stritch lives at the Carlyle.

Of course the only thing better than 30 ROCK at Christmas is the prospect of watching Hurricane Colleen destroy yet another holiday for Jack. And Stritch crushes on Alec Baldwin just like the rest of us: “I don’t want to go home with Alec Baldwin, but I have to admit that I don’t care how old I am, I am really attracted to Alec Baldwin.” Then she asked, “Why am I this old?” before clarifying that she’s really in love with his talent (aw, that’s what we all say, right?). And the part about wanting him to eat only on camera and to lose 20 pounds in real life—“Easy f***ing does it”—that’s all motherly love.

Of their onscreen relationship, she said, “The sharper the thorn, the deeper it goes, the more I like it.” But how does she so successfully play his mother, since she claims to have no mothering skills? “I tend to be a little bossy,” she said, and she uses that to hide the fact that he makes her nervous. Also “it’s because I’m exceptionally talented.” Real talent comes from real fear, and she said she’s good enough to fool even Alec Baldwin. Which is why you have to love Elaine: she amuses herself and she appreciates herself. She’s like the eighth, ninth, and tenth wonder of the world.

On her admiration for Tina Fey: “I’m fascinated with her talent. She has got talent all over the place! And her biggest problem—I’m sure she’d admit this in a minute—is zeroing it in. Focusing it on one thing at a time. But what she’s accomplishing day by day here in New York City, in the television industry, is really commendable. Bravo, bravo, bravo.”

On her wish for a future episode: “What I want Tina to do is to write an episode that includes Nathan Lane and myself. Because Nathan is my other son [Jack’s brother Eddie], which makes me laugh.”

She also offered a tiny spoiler for “Christmas Special”: she finally gets to sing, which was an acting challenge because she had to pull it off not as Elaine Stritch but as Alec Baldwin’s mother trying to sing. And she was pleased with the result: “‘Good for you, Elaine,’ I said when I got off.”

And then one final plug: “I hear the Christmas show is really good, and that makes me so happy, I can’t tell you.”

Indeed! Bravo, bravo, bravo.

30 ROCK “Christmas Special” airs December 11.

— as reported by Kari

Kari is a 30 ROCK fanatic and will be taking it out on you, her new imaginary friends.

Filed under 30 Rock


5 Responses to “Christmas Comes Early: Elaine Stritch Is Back on 30 ROCK”

  1. R.A. Porter on December 3rd, 2008 2:45 pm

    Am so jealous!

  2. Tawo on December 3rd, 2008 2:59 pm

    Thank you Kari for this report, l was feeling bad for the show with critics growing on the guests, Tracy Morgan, the actors…Elaine Stritch coming back for the Christmas episode is a treat to me. Did you read that review from the New Yorker? It felt like the person barely watched a couple episodes. l thought it sounded ridiculous.

  3. kari on December 3rd, 2008 3:38 pm

    Tawo: Yes! Nancy Franklin sounded like she had an axe to grind — and like she was watching a completely different show. Sitcoms maybe aren’t her thing? And of course I’ll never agree with Tracy Morgan being irritating and hard to watch 🙂

    But the “special guest stars” have been wearing on me a little bit, too, and mostly because they cut into the screen time for the characters I love most (Lutz! Pete! Toofer!). But Stritchie is always welcome there — she’s just another member of the family, as far as I’m concerned.

  4. Tawo on December 3rd, 2008 5:16 pm

    l agree with the guest stars situation but we know that before the Sarah Palin miracle, the ratings were dangerously low, NBC had to make a move to bring ratings.
    Now that Tina Fey’s genius exploded on SNL , people are criticizing a show they didn’t care about before, l don’t understand that.

    Thank god only one day left before the new ep. I think l had 30 Rock withdrawal and that led me to read that bad review. Luckily GMMR eased the pain.

  5. What to Watch…Thursday, December 11, 2008 » Give Me My Remote on December 11th, 2008 6:34 am

    […] 30 Rock | 9:30pm on NBC Liz finds herself alone for the holidays when her parents leave to spend Christmas at a couples-only retreat; Jack plans a dream holiday vacation away from his mother (Elaine Stritch); the crew is asked to produce a last-minute Christmas special. [In case you missed it, here’s Team GMMR’s interview with Elaine Stritch] […]