Tina Fey

Active - 2000 - 2016  |   Born - May 18, 1970 in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, United States  |   Genres - Comedy

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As Saturday Night Live's first-ever female head writer, quick-witted comedian Tina Fey not only shattered the glass ceiling at SNL, but also succeeded in proving that she is one of the most talented comedy writers in the entertainment industry. The Upper Darby, PA, native quickly made her way to Chicago's famed Second City after finishing drama studies at the University of Virginia in 1992, maintaining her livelihood with a job at the local YMCA and rapidly excelling through Second City's exhausting course load. Advised by her instructor to skip forward to the more selective Second City Training Center, Fey took him up on his advice and, though rejected at first, she was eventually accepted into the fold. When Saturday Night Live came to Second City seeking some fresh new talent in 1995, Fey and friend Adam McKay stood out from the pack. It was McKay's prompting that eventually found Fey hired as a writer for the enduring sketch comedy series. In addition to opening the door for her entrance into SNL, her tenure at Second City also found Fey making the acquaintance of future husband Jeff Richmond, who served as director for the Chicago comedy troupe. After joining the cast as a staff writer in 1997, Fey soon made history as SNL's first female writing supervisor two short years later. She was Emmy-nominated for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program three years in a row from 2001-2003, and her mark both behind the scenes and as one-half of the Weekend Update crew (opposite SNL favorite Jimmy Fallon) was unmistakable. When Fallon left SNL in 2004, Amy Poehler took over his position at the news desk, making her and Fey the first two-woman news team in Weekend Update history.

In the midst of her hectic schedule at Studio 8H, Fey somehow found time to perform the critically praised two-woman comedy show Dratch and Fey in both Chicago (1999) and New York (2000). Fey's other work has included writing for such programs as the confrontational comedy series The Colin Quinn Show, shown on pay-cable mainstay Comedy Central. If fans had wondered when -- as all high-profile SNL cast members eventually do -- Fey would set her sights on feature films, their curiosity would soon be answered when it was announced that Fey would be writing and appearing in Mean Girls (2004), an adaptation of author Rosalind Wiseman's popular book Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Boyfriends and Other Realities of Adolescence. The film's combination of high-school realism and smart humor made it a hit with teens and adults alike.

As the 2004-2005 season of SNL drew to a close, Fey announced that she wouldn't be returning for the next season, but fans of the writer and comedian didn't stray too far. She would leave the show only to become a bigger star in her own right, creating, writing, and starring in the NBC comedy series 30 Rock, which she both wrote and starred in as the head writer for a popular sketch comedy series. Additionally, Fey would cement her role as the queen of comedy with roles in feature films like Baby Mama and Date Night.

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Factsheet

  • Moved to Chicago after college and studied at the Second City Training Center and ImprovOlympics.
  • Frequently collaborates with fellow Second City alum Rachel Dratch; teamed with Dratch for a sketch-comedy show Dratch & Fey in Chicago and NY.
  • Became first female head writer of Saturday Night Live in 1999 and became Weekend Update co-anchor with Jimmy Fallon in 2000. In 2004, Amy Poehler took over as Update co-anchor upon Fallon's departure from SNL.
  • Named one of Entertainment Weekly's Entertainers of the Year in 2001 and one of People magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People of 2003.
  • Impersonated then-vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin in recurring guest turns on Saturday Night Live, earning an Emmy for her on-target portrayal of the politician.
  • Released her autobiography, Bossypants, in 2011.
  • Her 2016 Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series was shared with Poehler (for when the two hosted a 2015 episode of SNL together) marked the first time an acting Emmy had been shared.
  • Appeared in a series of commercials for American Express.