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Tina Fey Goes Lightly on EW Cover and Talks 'Mean Girls,' Sarah Palin, Tracy Morgan & 'Bossypants'

Photo of Beth Hanna By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood September 27, 2012 at 2:26PM

Comedy queen and "30 Rock" maven Tina Fey sits down for an interview in the upcoming EW (on newsstands September 28), and talks everything from axed masturbation references in "Mean Girls" to her Sarah Palin impression, from Tracy Morgan's homophobic stand-up rant in 2011 to what didn't make the cut in her bestseller "Bossypants." Highlights below.
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Tina Fey EW Cover

Comedy queen and "30 Rock" maven Tina Fey sits down for an interview in the upcoming EW (on newsstands September 28), and talks everything from axed masturbation references in "Mean Girls" to her Sarah Palin impression, from Tracy Morgan's homophobic stand-up rant in 2011 to what didn't make the cut in her bestseller "Bossypants." Highlights below.

On "Mean Girls" swerving an R-rating:

“We had a lot of trouble with the MPAA with that movie. We had to make a lot of edits. They wanted to give it an R. Some of the things that were in the Burn Book...like, “So-and-so masturbated with a hot dog”—we had to change it to “made out with a hot dog,” which doesn’t even make sense. There was a line, “Is your cherry popped?” which we had to [rerecord] as “Is your muffin buttered?” which also doesn’t make sense…. I really do think it was because it was girls. If it was about a boys’ school, and there was one reference talking about another guy, off camera having once masturbated, I don’t think that would have been an R rating.”

On what didn't make it into "Bossypants":

“There was a thing called the “Dumb- Dumb Test”—a template for a test that all politicians should take. Just the way we have LSATs, I thought there should be a test that they should have to take before they run for office—or we should at least know their score.”

On the Sarah Palin impression:

“There was a different perception about it, yeah, the idea that it was mean-spirited. I’m even more baffled by the Katie Couric part of it, because she asked her really basic questions. It didn’t really seem like a trick... I think it made me more famous. Date Night is the only movie I’d ever done an international junket for, and those people had heard of me only because of Sarah Palin.”

On Tracy Morgan's homophobic stand-up rant:

"It was causing problems for the show. People were threatening to boycott the show, but my concern was more for these relationships that we all have here as coworkers. I just know that Tracy is not that guy, and I was frustrated with him. Stand-ups should be able to go beyond the pale in their act; the deal they’ve always had is “I’m gonna try what I want to try, and if the crowd boos me and whips a beer bottle at me, that’s the deal.” I get that. And now the fact that that’s expanded to the entire universe whipping a beer bottle at you, it’s trickier for them. I also had the suspicion that it was not a well-formed joke or observation, that he was just winging it in a way that was causing me a lot of problems.”

This article is related to: Entertainment Weekly, Tina Fey, News


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.