What to Expect With Thursday’s Live 30 Rock

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This Thursday night, 30 Rock is going live on both coasts with two shows broadcasting from SNL’s Studio 8H. How the hell are they going to do a live sitcom from that stage? The New York Times’ Dave Itzkoff talked to Executive Producer Robert Carlock about their plans and got a lot of interesting insights into what to expect.

The entire thing was inspired by the live shows 30 Rock did at the UCB Theatre in NYC during the writers’ strike. Those were essentially staged readings, featuring the cast reading from scripts and someone reading stage directions aloud. Obviously, a live show broadcast on TV is going to be a lot different and much more involved.

As for the how they’re working the fake live comedy show that 30 Rock is based on into the real live comedy show that 30 Rock will be on Thursday:

For four and a half years we’ve been talking about a TV show, and we’ve always tended to avoid seeing it. Writing sketch comedy is really, really hard, because you have to hook into that one joke. And coming up with that one thing [on “30 Rock”] usually was beyond our energy most of the time. When we have seen it, it’s been a lot of Jenna songs, and Tracy throwing up as Star Jones, and the occasional intentionally banal political thing. Doing this live, we can use this more than we have before. Without getting into specifics, the Tracy [Jordan] story is about him as a live performer – his character as a live performer. His runner is about his behavior during the live show, and making Liz furious because he’s intentionally misbehaving during the live show. But he has his reasons, and we couldn’t do that without the live show. Without the live show within the show, that is to say. Oh boy. This is eating itself.
It should be an interesting night, to be sure. Check out the full interview for more info on the broadcast and whether or not Lorne Michaels will be in the house.