Last night, 30 Rock aired its live episode, and as we predicted, it was pretty much snafu-free. Much more interesting, though, were the subtle tweaks made between the two different versions taped for the east and west coasts; some of the changes were clearly planned from the start, and others gave us insight into how a joke can be revised on the fly by 30 Rock’s writers and made better. Here are the 17 changes we noticed between the two versions, from Jon Hamm’s hands to Dr. Spaceman’s love songs.
East Coast: When Jack tells Liz to have a good show, Alec Baldwin drops his magic book in the middle of his line. The first blooper!
West Coast: This time, Baldwin doesn’t pick up anything until he gets the line out first.
East Coast: In a flashback, Julia Louis-Dreyfus calls to Jonathan, “Yeah, Chai Boy, get in here. You’ll never be a millionaire … Slumdog Millionaire ref. Blammo!”
West Coast: Instead, Louis-Dreyfus says, “Hurry up, Aladdin, before Jasmine is forced to marry Jafar! Similarities … Lemon out.” It gets way more applause.
East Coast: Jane Krakowski sings the 30 Rock opening, which has lyrics questioning the wisdom of throwing a live show.
West Coast: Cheyenne Jackson sings the 30 Rock opening, incorporating region-specific lines like “Let’s talk about sushi” and “Portland, Vegas, Glendale, this is 30 Rock!”
East Coast: There’s a bad boom mic shadow at the end of the Rachel Dratch elevator scene.
West Coast: Fixed!
East Coast: Liz tells Tracy, “Audiences love it when something goes wrong,” and the Who Dat Ninja poster swings lazily in the background a beat too late.
West Coast: The poster cue gets nailed.
East Coast: As Liz leaves his dressing room, Tracy tells his entourage, “Gentlemen, tonight I’m gonna laugh harder than I did at Dotcom’s play.”
West Coast: Tracy Morgan totally butchers the line, realizes it, and starts grinning.
East Coast: Jenna tells Pete about her song, “It’s Your Birthday, Slut.”
West Coast: Whatever happened to Tracy Morgan in the last scene is catching, because Jane Krakowski forgets the “slut” part of her line briefly, but recovers.
East Coast: According to online surveys, Jack “has a drinking problem.”
West Coast: According to online surveys, Jack “is a problem drinker.” The difference is small but profound.
East Coast: During TGS’s Fox News sketch, the chyron for President Obama reads, “Exclusive Interview with Kenyan Liar.”
West Coast: This time, it reads “Impartial Interview with Barack Obammunist.”
East Coast: In his commercial, Dr. Spaceman’s first song includes the line, “Light some candles, draw a bath, and start off with full-on intercourse.”
West Coast: It’s been revised to “Light some candles, draw a bath, and tie me to my radiator and put food just out of reach.”
East Coast: Spaceman’s second song goes, “Baby, let’s let the dog watch us. Do you think he understands the love that we have? Oops, I’m finished, call yourself a cab.”
West Coast: Now it’s “Girl, I’ve been knowing you a long time, and I think tonight’s the night / This time, you can be the man.”
East Coast: Matt Damon’s first appearance in the show gets wild cheers at the beginning and end of his scene.
West Coast: Stone-cold silence from the audience! Ya burnt, Damon.
East Coast: A paint-sniffing Jack tells Liz, “Men need alcohol. It’s the first thing every civilization makes, along with weapons and shelters to enjoy prostitutes.” It gets about two confused laughs.
West Coast: This time, Jack says, “Men need alcohol. It gives us the ability to hit on women, and later, when we’re married, to tune them out.” Much better!
East Coast: Jon Hamm appears as his hook-handed character Drew Baird, narrating a commercial like so: “Thanks to an idea that started as a pitch for a horror movie and then grew into a charitable organization, hands from executed criminals are now making life better for people all over the world.”
West Coast: A change-up: “Thanks to groundbreaking research at the Yale University for hand frankensteining, hand transplants are a reality.” Meh, the first one was better.
East Coast: Drew show off his transplanted hand, which is a little bit scary-looking and tries to choke him, Evil Dead-style.
West Coast: Now, Drew’s new hand is from a lady: “Donors are rare. As you can see, I’ve had to accept a female hand.” The hand strokes his face and then goes south of Drew’s border. “Oh God,” he moans. “Please take off your rings!”
East Coast: In the final scene, Liz is happy with how her birthday went. After all, she even “got to eat the cake off the floor.”
West Coast: This time, she “ate the Fonz’s face.” Still off the floor, presumably.