TRENDING: Fey defends Palin impersonation
April 5th, 2011
08:34 AM ET
3 years ago

TRENDING: Fey defends Palin impersonation

(CNN) – Comedienne Tina Fey might be most well known for her 2008 portrayal of Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live – an impersonation that, to the detriment of the McCain campaign, led many to confuse Fey with the real thing.

But now Fey is defending her role as Palin amid critics who say she unfairly exploited the Alaska governor.

"Some may argue that exploiting Governor Palin and her family helped bring attention to my low-rated TV show," writes Fey of 30 Rock, the NBC show that has struggled in the ratings despite critical acclaim.

Fey's comments appear in her new memoir, "Bossypants," an advance copy of which was obtained by USA Today.

"I am proud to say you are wrong," she continues. "My TV show still enjoys very low ratings. In fact, I think the Palin stuff may have hurt the TV show. Let's face it, between Alec Baldwin and me there is a certain fifty percent of the population who think we are pinko Commie monsters."

Despite appearing at Fey's side on Saturday Night Live shortly before the 2008 presidential election, Palin has since made clear she is no fan of the actress that many believe defined the former Alaska governor more than anyone else.

In a 2009 interview with conservative John Ziegler, Palin said of Fey, "I know that a lot of people are capitalizing on, oh I don't know, perhaps some exploiting that was done via me, my family, my administration – that's a little bit perplexing, but it also says a great deal about our society."


Filed under: Sarah Palin • Tina Fey
soundoff (222 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    "may believe define"? Tina Fey is politics? Good job CNN.com!

    April 5, 2011 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  2. Emerson

    If you can't stomach satire then pack up and move to China.

    April 5, 2011 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  3. Al

    Palin needs to grow up. You never heard Gerald Ford complaining about Chevy Chase or Ronald Reagan complaining about Johnny Carson when they did their impersonations. Did George Bush Sr. grope about Dana "Not gonna do it" Carvey? If Johnny Carson was still doing the Tonight Show a decade ago he'd have been able to do a devastating George Bush Jr. Palin seems to think it's a conspiracy or something against her, but parodies of political figures have been around for decades. Has she ever heard of Vaughn Meader?

    April 5, 2011 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  4. SkyKIng

    I agree with Hjdttt.
    But Palin is such an airhead, she invites ridicule. The Fey impersonation was not far from reality.

    April 5, 2011 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  5. GainesvilleFL

    SNL has done skits of presidential and vice presidential nominees for 30+ years. Carvey's elder Bush, Harmon's Clinton, and Ferrell's younger Bush were amazing charactertures of the real person. The complication with Fey's impersonation is that it is not a characture, but a replication.

    April 5, 2011 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  6. Lou

    You the best Tina.

    Now let's all pray that Palin runs for President so Tina can keep the laughs coming.

    April 5, 2011 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  7. Cherylynn

    The best thing about the portrayal was that SNL didn't even have to write the lines. Many times Tina Fey said EXACTLY what Palin had said. She didn't have to do anything but say the words straight from Palin's mouth to make Palin look stupid. If Palin felt so bad about it, why did she go on SNL?

    April 5, 2011 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  8. Anonymous

    Let's talk about the true exploiter! Who had hear of Sarah PAlin before that election? Now she is make tens of thousands for public appearances, millions on books, and unfortunatley get to spew her idiocy to Americans on FOX.
    Both took advantag of a situation- the difference is Tina Fey is good at what she does. Ad she dod not walk away from her duty as Governor to do it.

    April 5, 2011 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  9. Obamacare = Romneycare v1.01

    Both Tina and Sarah are guilty of exploitation.

    The differences are that: Fey was amusing when she exploited Palin's personality, but she knew when to quit; Palin, on the other hand, hasn't shut up since August of 2008, but has said nothing. If anything, it is Sarah Palin who is guilty of continually exploiting the conservative movement ... to her personal financial gain.

    April 5, 2011 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  10. The Other Dale

    What in the world is Palin saying in that quote from Ziegler? I know what she's TRYING to say, but she jams three sentences into one and comes out not making any sense. Has "newspeak" become a reality as "palinspeak"?

    April 5, 2011 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  11. Peter E

    Palin should not complain. Tina Fey's impersonation was actually a huge boost for her. It made her appear as an actually likable person, as opposed to the attention-hungry, self-serving hypocrite that she actually is.

    April 5, 2011 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  12. Bob Dog

    Tina Fey is a genius. Her portrayal of Ms. Palin was magnificent. Her improv around the basic script was pure magic. Long live Tina!!

    April 5, 2011 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  13. Bart in Omaha

    Palin is a public figure. Why is she so perplexed that someone "exploited" her? If you go out, you open youself up. She is the biggest victim I've ever seen. She cries anytime someone criticizes her. Not very presidential, or even likeable.

    April 5, 2011 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  14. fideauxdon

    "If you can't stand the heat...." comes to mind. President Obama is parodied on a daily basis. Bill Clinton was parodied even more frequently. Bush 43 was parodied by the hour. Even Donald Trump, one of Palin's "serious rivals" has to endure frequent jabs concerning his hair, money and marriages. The only difference is that Palin's words and actions are so bizarre that even Tina Fey, despite her comedic talent, can't approach the low level of intelligence that Palin has exhibited since the beginning of her public life.

    April 5, 2011 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  15. max

    Once again poor $arah is a victim, when will the world see her as the living stateswoman that she is?? Run $arah run, you need to save the world.

    April 5, 2011 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  16. Limbaugh is a liberal

    Yes, I am sure SNL impersonations always have a liberal bias... like those YEARS of making fun of Bill Clinton they put on in the 90s, and the YEARS of Hillary impersonations that kept demonizing the then senator. Face it, SNL makes fun of EVERYONE in the spotlight. And the more spotlight you have (and in the case of Palin, demand) the more you open yourself to being made fun of.

    April 5, 2011 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  17. Liberal in Wyoming

    Oh, boo-hoo to Palin. SNL makes fun of everyone, they are equal opportunity spoofers. Palin and her army of wacko's need to go away, as they are ever sooooo slowly doing. Step on it!

    April 5, 2011 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  18. dina

    Palin is the comedian to think she is smart enough to be president and leader of the free world. She is exploiting America going around speaking to other countries about our president. Fey didn't play her stupid enough or as devious as she really is. Kidos to Tina Fey.Keep it up and do Michelle Bachman also. These women do not represent women today.

    April 5, 2011 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  19. dogs rule

    Tina rocks! She's spot on w/ the Palin impression! I would vote for Tina for prez!

    April 5, 2011 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  20. Dooleeoo

    The main exploiter fo the Sarah Palin image is Sarah herself..

    April 5, 2011 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  21. Guys & Gals!!!

    The only thing funnier than Fey's impersonation is Palin crying about it.

    I want to see a skit of Tina fey impersonating Palin crying about Tina Fey picking on her. You Betcha' Don'tCha' Know. Also Too I think Palin should have just kept her mouth shut.

    April 5, 2011 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  22. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    If Palin feels she was exploited by Tina Fey then let's be fair, Palin and her family exploited the entire State of Alaska in her little mini series.

    April 5, 2011 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  23. obredaan

    No reason to defend yourself Tina. Your a great entertainer. Palin needs to play the bullied card because she has nothing to offer anyone. So she resorts to whining and blaming the mainstream media for anything and everything. Apparently Palin doesn't like the fact that comedians actually poke fun at celebrities. Even though this has been going on for decades, in Palin's mind a comedian that imitates someone is a sign that our country is falling apart. Palin has no sense of humor and she clearly is ignorant to the fact that she is a big joke to majority of the country. And it has nothing to do with Tina's portrayal. If Palin wasn't always
    labeling half of the country as commies, maybe we wouldn't laugh at her own self-promotion.

    April 5, 2011 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  24. Tim

    No one thinks you are a "pinko commie monster" Tina. What we do think is you are yet another know-it-all entertainer who doesn't realize your place in society. I couldnt care less about the Palin impersonation...she's proven all she cares about is the fame and attention the '08 campaign got her. But you, dear Tina, are not smarter than me or anyone else, and you need to be reminded of this every once in a while.

    April 5, 2011 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  25. Thegooddoc

    Satire is not the same as exploitation. If a comedian can more definitively represent you than you can yourself, you should probably re-evaluate what you are doing, rather than complaining about the parody. Good satire contains a lot of truth.

    April 5, 2011 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
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