Have you tried looking up Tina Fey on Twitter? Or how about Tina Fey on Instagram? If so, you surely have been disappointed. Although Fey is one of the undersung architects of the modern sense of comedy on television and elsewhere, she is strangely absent from social media. Before you might start Googling “Tina Fey canceled” or “Tina Fey Twitter ban” or even “Tina Fey TikTok dance,” it does not appear for any reason other than the co-creator of 30 Rock and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt simply…does not want to be. Perhaps it just feels strange that someone that has been so famous for so long, behind the scenes and on screen, does not want to participate in current culture (such as it is) on Twitter and Instagram and well, any other service that we generally expect a celebrity to be on. In a world where a former President of the United States came to their greatest social impact for their sheer volume of Tweets and somehow Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson can be dethroned as the highest paid influencer on Instagram, it can feel odd that a famous person should not always want to be up in everyone’s feed. But Tina Fey is apparently living evidence.
While it has never been exactly pinned down in any serious way, there seems to be a lot of thought floating around about why Tina Fey is not on Twitter or Instagram or (probably) Goodreads. In a joint interview with longtime collaborator and friend Amy Poehler, Fey most likely facetiously claimed that she was waiting to be able to show her nipples on social media, and that she would not have any part of social media until she could. While she could be making a good political point about the bizarre social double standard of male vs female nipple baring on social media (which has been discussed in as rarefied a venue as the New York Times), she is a comedian, after all. So that’s probably not it. In another interview, this time with The Hollywood Reporter, Twitter was brought up by no less a personage than legendary late night talk show host David Letterman. There, she obliquely let her feelings about social media known by describing then President-Elect Donald Trump being in a Twitter feud with her 30 Rock co-star Alec Baldwin as making her “sick for the world.” Strong words, but at the risk of editorializing, not wrong.
Still, Tina Fey’s aversion to Twitter, Instagram and ClubHouse seem to go further than her disappointment at the presumptive leader of the Western World being embroiled in an argument with the star of the 1994 film The Shadow. In a since-deleted video on NBC, Fey apparently went off at length about the nature of Twitter and (presumably) joked that people should be required to need a license to Tweet. As this open letter from Eric Mack says, this might been a bit of an over-correction. Perhaps not. But it might be actor/singer/professional awesome person Titus Burgess who put it best why Tina Fey is not on Twitter. In an interview on Late Night With Seth Meyers, he explained he had once asked his boss at The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt why she was not on Twitter. Her answer? “Why would I give my jokes away for free?”
It is hard to argue with that. While Twitter may be improved with Tina Fey, it is clear that Tina Fey does not want Twitter. Nor does it seem that she might need it. After all, she already came up in comedy the hard way. After schooling at Chicago’s Second City, she also started at the Improv Olympic (now iO Theater). While performing at Second City, no less than future Anchorman director Adam McKay asked her to submit scripts to Saturday Night Live, where he was head writer at the time. She was hired as a writer in 1997. In 1999, she became the legendary sketch show’s first ever head writer. A year later, she became co-anchors of Weekend Update with Jimmy Fallon. Then she developed the Lindsay Lohan-starring Mean Girls. Then 30 Rock. Then The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Then a series of other films, Netflix projects, and television projects including producing Girls5eva and appearing on Only Murders in the Building. So really the question is: why would Tina Fey need to be on Twitter?