×

Tina Fey Wants to Make Sure She’s Not the Only Woman in a Writers’ Room

In her speech at Variety‘s Power of Women luncheon on Friday, Tina Fey discussed the significance of women helping women.

Fey credits all the women she’s worked with for her success.

“My whole life is just ride-or-die bitches as far as the eye can see,” she said.

She says the word bitch is a compliment, quoting the titular heroine in “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” the Netflix series she co-created and co-executive produces.

“The community of women that I work with have always inspired me to do better,” she said. “To be the best I can be, if not better.”

She said it is for that reason that she makes an effort to hire women.

“I made a vow to myself to not accept that privilege of being the only woman in the room…to use any power I had to create opportunity for others,” Fey added.

Fey was honored for her support of Reading Is Fundamental, the nation’s leading literacy nonprofit since 1966. The organization, which was founded by Margaret McNamara (former secretary of defense Robert S. McNamara’s wife), has distributed 415 million books to more than 40 million children across the country and enlisted a million volunteers to bolster literacy rates.

“In these crazy times, when there’s so, so much going on and there are genuinely urgent new causes every day, I also want to make sure that we go back and continue to support organization like Reading Is Fundamental who have been doing incredible work for decades and not let them fall fallow,” Fey continued.

She also stressed the power of reading.

“Reading is power. Reading is access. Reading is the foundation for everything,” she said. “Every child should be able to read.”

She closed her speech by encouraging everyone to donate to the org, under any name — whether that be their favorite children’s book author or Vice President Mike Pence.

For the famed “Saturday Night Live” and “30 Rock” star, the cause hits close to home, as she remembers being read to every night growing up.

“My dad would work and come home, and that would be daddy-daughter time,” Fey told Variety for one of this week’s cover stories. “I remember him reading me ‘A Christmas Carol’ when I was in the second grade. And my teachers in school being like, ‘You’re reading this?’ He was like, ‘You can understand this.'”

She also discussed spending the last five years writing the “Mean Girls” musical for Broadway and offered her thoughts on the recent women’s empowerment movement, saying, “I think it’s long overdue. I’d like to believe from here on out, this gives people a point of reference. I actually think Time’s Up is a very good name. It’s sort of saying, ‘I know we used to do it this way, but from now on we’re not.'”

As a prominent show creator and current executive producer of “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” one of Fey’s missions has been to hire people from diverse backgrounds. “I think in comedy rooms, especially, women are treated like expensive cappuccino machines,” she says. “Where it’s like, ‘We have one. Why would we have two?!’ That’s too much pressure on that one person — to carry that, to be the African-American writer, the female writer. It’s always about changing the chemistry of the room. The more diverse the room is, it automatically becomes better.”

More TV

  • Jimmy Kimmel government shutdown

    Jimmy Kimmel Sets Live Classic Sitcom Special for May on ABC

    Jimmy Kimmel’s long-gestating live sitcom special is finally coming to fruition. Kimmel announced Thursday night on his ABC late-night show that the special, which was first announced in May 2017, will air Wednesday, May 22, from 8-9:30 p.m. ET. The special will see a cast of celebrity guests recreating two classic episodes of the sitcoms [...]

  • WGA Agency Packaging Fight Placeholder Writer

    WGA: 92 Percent of Writers Who Signed Statement of Support Have Fired Agents

    The Writers Guild of America estimated that over 92 percent of their members who support a new code of conduct for talent agencies have fired those representatives. Letters announcing formal termination will be delivered on Monday, the guild said in a late-hitting memo on Thursday, as most agencies will be closed tomorrow in observance of [...]

  • The Village

    NBC Swaps Timeslots of Freshman Drama 'The Village,' 'The Voice' on Tuesdays

    NBC is changing the timeslots of Tuesday shows “The Voice” and “The Village.” Up to this point, freshman scripted drama “The Village” has aired at 9 p.m. ET Tuesdays immediately after “The Voice” at 8 p.m. Beginning April 23, “The Village” will air at 8 followed by “The Voice” at 9. The schedule will remain [...]

  • Donald Trump

    HBO Fires Back at Trump's 'Game of Thrones'-Inspired 'No Collusion' Tweet

    HBO is firing back at President Donald Trump after he sent another “Game of Thrones”-inspired tweet in response to the release of a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the Russia investigation. “Though we can understand the enthusiasm for ‘Game of Thrones’ now that the final season has arrived, we still prefer [...]

  • Joel Edgerton Headshot

    Joel Edgerton Joins Barry Jenkins' 'Underground Railroad' Amazon Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    Joel Edgerton has signed on for a role in the Barry Jenkins’ Amazon series “The Underground Railroad,” Variety has learned exclusively. Edgerton will play the part of Ridgeway, a slavecatcher. He joins previously announced cast members Thuso Mbedu, Chase W. Dillon, and Aaron Pierre. The role will mark Edgerton’s first regular TV role in some time. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content