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Selena Coppock ’02 on Preparing for the Interview of a Lifetime


Editor and stand-up comedian Selena Coppock 02 served as moderator during a discussion with Emmy Award-winning writer and actress Tina Fey, who visited Hamilton on Oct. 22 as part of the Sacerdote Great Names Series. Here are Coppock’s reflections prior to the event:

The Sacerdote Great Names event with Tina Fey is almost here, and I’m thrilled to be moderating the big night. When Lisa Magnarelli ’96 called me back in July and asked if I would want to be onstage with Tina Fey, I was so touched that she thought of me and trusted me to ask questions of this comedy powerhouse. I was also floored at the opportunity, and, I’ll admit, pretty nervous.

 In my days on the Hill, I performed with Yodapez, sang in The Hamiltones, and wrote funny articles in The Spectator so, not to be overdramatic, but my entire life has led up to this point.

I have performed standup comedy in New York City for over a decade and faced down hecklers, audiences who actively loathed me and worse. Yet the idea of sitting down for a conversation with a comedy icon as renown as Tina Fey made me feel a bit jittery. In my days on the Hill, I performed with Yodapez, sang in The Hamiltones, and wrote funny articles in The Spectator so, not to be overdramatic, but my entire life has led up to this point.

I spent the summer and early fall in a virtual cram course of Fey’s work, and it was a blast. I revisited SNL sketches (“Mom Jeans” and “Annuale” never get old, plus her Palin work is remarkable), re-read her brilliant book Bossypants (“A Mother’s Prayer for her Child” is absolutely perfect), and rewatched “30 Rock” (the layers upon layers of jokes demand multiple viewings). It’s been like a binge-watch-all-Fey-festival at my house, and yet, somehow, I still feel unprepared.

It’s like I’m back in college cramming for a test, but this “test” will be super fun, I will NOT be in sweatpants, and I will not spend the majority of said test time thinking about what I will order at the Diner afterward for a bonus meal (do they still do “bonus” meals? If not, I swear this was a real thing and not a euphemism).

I hope that the conversation can be entertaining and enlightening to everyone, from someone who isn’t super familiar with Ms. Fey’s work to a die-hard fan who has watched every episode of “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” (created by Tina Fey and her frequent collaborator Robert Carlock) and who quotes Mean Girls regularly. 

Questions were gathered from the Hamilton community, and I was thoroughly impressed with the quality of these submissions. Topics ranged from battling Imposter Syndrome to the issue of “PC culture” and how it affects comedy and beyond, and I hope that we can explore many of these subjects on Tuesday night.

I’ll be driving up to the Hill with my old Babbit 29 suitemate Sheri Ash ’02, and my old South 305 roommate Jessica Connors ’02 is coming to campus for the event. Chatting with alumni pals got me thinking about how much I love the Hamilton community. When it was announced that I would be the moderator of this event, the outpouring of love that I received from fellow alums, current students, and beloved professors had me floating on cloud 9 for days.  

As the big night approaches, I’ll admit that I’m still feeling a bit nervous about the event, but I have been reminding myself that it’s simply a conversation, and I know how to have those. I hope to give Ms. Fey an opportunity to share stories and opinions, including some random asides, and be understood and appreciated by the Hamilton community on-site in the Field House and watching at home. See you on Tuesday!

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