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New York Awards 2002

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Tina Fey, Comedy

It’s written in the airwaves:
Surrender, Dorothy Parker. Five blocks north of Parker’s beloved Algonquin, on a Rockefeller Center soundstage, a new queen of New York is consolidating her power. Parker had her round table; Tina Fey of Saturday Night Live has the “Weekend Update” desk. Parker had Benchley; Fey has Fallon. Like Parker, Fey invaded the misogynistic world of comedy—she was the first female head writer in Saturday Night Live’s history, whence she ascended to her on-air post. “Weekend Update” is a deadpan form, but unlike the classic “Weekend Update”s of Dan Aykroyd and Jane (“ignorant slut”) Curtin, Fey likes to let the audience in on the joke. Her mobile mouth curls on one side to show sarcasm, then smiles wider, in comic overdrive, showing that the sarcasm is itself a goof. Fey often seems both on the verge of laughter—and delighted to be funny, which is part of her charm. Humor that doesn’t come out of bitterness. Parker might have said: What’s that about? -- JOHN HOMANS


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