In case you missed Sunday night's broadcast on PBS of Tina Fey's Nov. 9th Kennedy Center ceremony for winning the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, you're in luck. In addition to encores on your local PBS affiliate, the entire show (well...what we got to see on the special, more on that below) is available for online viewing at the PBS website, here.
The show is jam-packed with the talented Tina's friends and colleagues, including Alec Baldwin, Betty White, Jon Hamm, Steve Martin and many of her Saturday Night Live castmates. The only controvery about the show is that due to time constraints about 20 minutes of the show had to be edited out, chief among them several biting comments about Sarah Palin's politics and how her views affect women. You can read The Washington Post review of the live event, specifically mentioning some of the remarks excised in the broadcast (though at the time they didn't know they were going to be cut out). Here's their report on the edited broadcast, too. The Hollywood Reporter also did a piece on the edits here.
Was this political censorship or just the unfortunate reality of broadcast television that everything has to fit into a specific time slot? Of course it's the latter, but it's the what that gets cut out that's interesting. To be honest, if I were PBS, I'd probably cut out the more clearly political stuff, too. Tina Fey's pals in the room may or may not have laughed -- there's little funny, actually, about the issues she was referring to -- but for a larger broadcast audience just keep in the laughs and try to get some viewers. Good for Tina for having her say at the ceremony, but I can see where PBS might have made the better television decision to snip where they did.
Watch the show. Tell us what you thought. We love Tina Fey, and like the other female Mark Twain Prize winners Lily Tomlin and Whoopi Goldberg, she is not only a funny lady in performance, but also in the brain. She's a lot more delightful than them, perhaps -- she's more delightful than most performers -- but no less a comic force to be reckoned with than any of the other past honorees. You can find a list and bios of the whole gang here.
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