The 8 Best Musical Moments of ‘30 Rock’ (2023)

30 Rock, the critically acclaimed but famously ratings-challenged NBC comedy, gave us quite a lot in the seven years it was on the air. The jokes came so fast that you needed TiVo or the DVDs to catch ‘em all, and the show gifted the world with countless iconic quotes, catchphrases, made-up words and extremely detailed fictional media.



Jane Krakowski

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Stellar writing aside, creator Tina Fey assembled one of the most versatile television casts of all time — which meant even the least significant characters and one-off celebrity guest stars had their moments. Within that cornucopia of comedy gold, most of the cast got to be part of a hilarious musical moment, ranging from EGOT-hopeful Tracy Jordan’s novelty song “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah” to the dance pop classic “Muffin Top” by the attention-seeking (and often-singing) Jenna Maroney.

Fey’s husband Jeff Richmond served as the show’s composer, and thus he is the genius behind most of these gems, while co-showrunner Robert Carlock and writers like Donald Glover and Tami Sagher also had a hand in many of the most enduring songs (see: “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah”). Some of these tunes appear on the 30 Rock Original Television Soundtrack released in 2010 (though it only covers the first four seasons, blerg), while others only live on the Interweb.


When Liz, Jack, Jenna, Tracy, Kenneth and the rest of the gang return to our screens during the 30 Rock special on Thursday (July 16) for the first time since 2013, we won’t be mad if there’s a brand new musical moment — besides the show’s timeless, jazzy instrumental theme song, that is — but just in case there isn’t, it’s as perfect a time as any to revisit the masterworks.

Listen up, Fives, and behold the best musical moments from 30 Rock, ranked from worst best to most best.

8. “That’s Her,” S1 E1: “Pilot”

(Video) Best of Jenna Maroney | 30 Rock

The peppy “That’s Her” — the very first song heard on 30 Rock — plays over a scene of Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) buying all the hotdogs and distributing them to the good people of New York City. It also doubles as the theme for “Pam,” a sketch from the in-universe The Girlie Show whose “overly-confident, morbidly obese” subject is portrayed by Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski). It’s also Liz Lemon’s leitmotif throughout the series.

7. “Chunk Of My Lung,” S3 E7: “Señor Macho Solo”

Jenna Maroney’s ill-fated role in a Janis Joplin biopic provided comedy fodder for multiple episodes. One of the best moments to come from the ordeal is the parody of “Piece Of My Heart,” which Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) had to write himself because SheinhardtUniversal wanted to avoid purchasing Joplin’s life (and music) rights: “I’d like you to come on, Come on, come on/And take it! Break another little chunk of my lung now mister!” (Side note: the final title of the not-Janis-Joplin biopic was Sing Dem Blues, White Girl: The Jackie Jormp-Jomp Story. Beautiful.)

6. “Tennis Night,” S4 E1: “Season 4”

“Tennis Night” is one of many times 30 Rock made fun of its IRL parent company NBC, in this case allowing Krakowski to show off her vocal chops in the form of an NBC Sunday Night Football-type theme. It all starts when Jenna Maroney suggests that she can “go country” in order to boost TGS with Tracy Jordan‘s ratings. Cut to a pitch-perfect parody of Faith Hill’s SNF theme, as Jenna wears a cowboy hat and sings into a gas pump (?) for a promotion of NBC Sports’ Tennis Night. Yee-haw!

(Video) "What Am I? A Farmer" | 30 Rock

5. “The Rural Juror” song, S7 E13: “Last Lunch”

Jenna Maroney’s last song doubles as the emotional finale of 30 Rock and of the show-within-a-show. It’s a callback to one of 30 Rock’s funniest fake-media jokes, a movie called The Rural Juror based on the Kevin Grisham novel (John’s brother). Jenna plays Constance Justice in the film, the title of which no one on the TGS staff can pronounce. “These were the best days of my flerm,” Jenna sings on the equally nonsensical song. It’s the end of an era, and it’s hard not to laugh and cry at the same time.

4. “Midnight Train to Georgia,” S2 E10: “Episode 210”

Beloved page Kenneth Parcell (Jack McBrayer)’s turn in the musical spotlight comes during the second season, when he gets addicted to caffeine, despite his initial belief that coffee is “the devil’s temperature,” and decides to return to his native Georgia because New York has changed him too much. What better to soundtrack his dilemma than Gladys Knight & the Pips’ No. 1 hit “Midnight Train to Georgia”?

In the span of a few minutes, Kenneth leaves to catch the train, but misses it, because it actually left at 11:45 (“Misinformed about the time/ Didn’t even get to stand in line”). With Grizz and Dotcom as the Pips, the cast performs an epic and somewhat random number that proves 30 Rock could have easily pulled off an entire musical episode, should they have wished to do so. As a bonus, Knight makes an appearance at the end and doesn’t sing a note. After all, she was just “trying to take a nap!”

3. “He Needs A Kidney,” S3 E22: “Kidney Now!”

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Adam Levine, Sara Bareilles, the Beastie Boys, Sheryl Crow, Elvis Costello, Michael McDonald, Mary J. Blige, Clay Aiken, Steve Earle, Wyclef Jean, Norah Jones, Talib Kweli, Cyndi Lauper and Moby came together for one the most underrated television moments ever: “He Needs A Kidney,” the best super-chorus charity single to have been recorded since 1985’s “We Are the World.”

When Jack’s newly discovered father Milton Greene (Alan Alda) needs a kidney and Jack isn’t a compatible donor, he uses his contacts to stage a ridiculous, star-studded benefit called Kidney Now, and the celebs sing some very Milton Greene-specific lyrics. There’s even some rapping. It is MUCH better than that “Imagine” video.

The musical performance video was eventually made available for digital download on iTunes, with all the proceeds from the sales going to the National Kidney Foundation. Doesn’t that just warm the heart?

2. “Muffin Top,” S1 E5: “Jack-Tor”

Another recurring joke on the show is Jenna Maroney’s infamous “dance pop/techno hybrid” song, which went No. 1 in Israel. Memorable lyrics: “I’m an independent lady. So do not try to play me. I run a tidy bakery. The boys all want my cake for free, But if you can’t shake your fakery, then kiss my muffin toooop.”

When Jenna performs the song on TGS, there’s a brief cameo from Ghostface Killah, who raps a few lines before shouting “Peace to the Middle East!” Shoulda been a No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, if you ask us.

1. “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah,” S2 E2: “Jack Gets in the Game”

The top spot on this list is a no-brainer: Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan)’s Halloween/Bar Mitzvah anthem, which features the ageless chorus “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah, spooky scary/ Boys becoming men, men becoming wolves.” Only eight seconds of the song was in the actual episode as a cutaway joke, but of course the 30 Rock crew wrote and recorded a full version that thankfully lives online.

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Most of the vocals in the extended version are of then-30 Rock writer Donald Glover impersonating Tracy Morgan, who was not available to record that day. “If only I knew that I would be producing Childish Gambino,” co-showrunner Robert Carlock has said. It is gold from start to finish; check out both versions above.


What are some iconic 30 Rock lines? ›

10 Of The Best Quotes From 30 Rock
  • Ugh, I Hate January. ...
  • Good God, Lemon, Your Breath! ...
  • I Only Pass Gas Once A Year, For An Hour, Atop A Mountain In Switzerland. ...
  • If You're Not Reading The Bible In German, You're Not Getting The Real Versteckte Bedeutung Out Of It.
Mar 17, 2020

What is the musical episode of 30 Rock? ›

"Dance Like Nobody's Watching" is the first episode of the sixth season of the American television comedy series 30 Rock, and the 104th overall episode of the series. It was directed by John Riggi, and written by series creator, executive producer and lead actress Tina Fey and Tracey Wigfield.

Why was season 2 of 30 Rock so short? ›

It was originally set to include 22 episodes, but due to the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike, it was shortened to 15 episodes. The 30 Rock season two DVD box set was released in Region 1 on October 7, 2008, and subsequently released in regions 2 and 4.

What was the 100th episode of 30 Rock? ›

100 (30 Rock)
Directed byDon Scardino
Written byJack Burditt Robert Carlock Tina Fey
Production code520/521
Original air dateApril 21, 2011
8 more rows

What are some famous quotes from the film The Rock? ›

Quotes (109)
  • John Mason: [while on the stairs leading to the prison morgue] Are you sure you're ready for this?
  • Stanley Goodspeed: I'll do my best.
  • John Mason: Your "best"! Losers always whine about their best. ...
  • Stanley Goodspeed: Carla *was* the prom queen.
  • John Mason: Really?
  • Stanley Goodspeed: [cocks his gun] Yeah.

Who is the best 30 Rock character? ›

Tracy Jordan

The anarchy Tracy brought to the show made for some unforgettable moments, and played in beautiful contrast to the fact that he was a successful businessman as well as a loyal husband and father. If this list was about “most lovable characters of '30 Rock,'” Tracy would top it.

What episode of 30 Rock was deleted? ›

The "30 Rock" episodes pulled are Season 3, Episode 2 "Believe in the Stars"; Season 5, Episode 10 "Christmas Attack Zone"; Season 6, Episode 19 "Live from Studio H"; as well as the East Coast version of Season 5, Episode 4 "The Live Show."

Who is Tracy Jordan based on? ›

Tracy Jordan is a fictional character in the American television series 30 Rock, played by the actor Tracy Morgan. The character is a movie star whose personality traits and life events are taken from Morgan's own life. In 2010, Entertainment Weekly ranked him the 55th Greatest Character of the Last 20 Years.

Who is Jenna from 30 Rock based on? ›

The character of TGS star Jenna Maroney was originally Jenna DeCarlo, a part Tina Fey wrote for her Second City and SNL co-star Rachel Dratch, who played Jenna in 30 Rock's unaired pilot (see below) before being unceremoniously replaced by NBC execs.

Why did Alec Baldwin leave 30 Rock? ›

Alec Baldwin was ready to leave 30 Rock after its fifth season because he thought the show was in a creative decline. “It was the low point,” he tells Rolling Stone Senior Writer Brian Hiatt in our new cover story, on newsstands Friday, January 18th.

Why is Tracy Morgan not in season 5 of 30 Rock? ›

Beginning with episode 11, 30 Rock was moved to the 10:00 PM timeslot, but, as a consolation, was renewed earlier than the other NBC sitcoms. During this time, Tracy Morgan underwent an emergency operation, causing his character to be written out for several episodes.

Why was Rip Torn written off 30 Rock? ›

The Don Geiss Succession

Unfortunately, as Don Geiss' actor, Rip Torn, got so drunk he mistook a bank for his home, the character was written off the show before the succession could be resolved.

Why was Jonathan not in season 6 of 30 Rock? ›

His disappearance was due to actor Pancholy's costarring role on another NBC sitcom, Whitney.

Why was 30 Rock removed from Amazon Prime? ›

Streaming Services Remove '30 Rock' Blackface Episodes. Tina Fey, the show's creator, wrote a note to the services saying, “No comedy-loving kid needs to stumble on these tropes and be stung by their ugliness.” As a subscriber, you have 10 gift articles to give each month.

Did Tracy get his egot? ›

Tracy finally EGOTs. (His Emmy win was never shown; Ceraulo remembers a rejected pitch in which Tracy Jordan just completely missed the ceremony that got him his Emmy.)

What is a powerful quote by The Rock? ›

Success isn't always about 'greatness', it's about consistency. Consistent, hard work gains success.” “The first step to achieving your goal, is to take a moment to respect your goal. Know what it means to you to achieve it.”

What is rock and stone catchphrase? ›

Rock and Stone! If you don't Rock and Stone, you ain't comin' home! We fight for Rock and Stone!

What was Sean Connery's best line on The Rock? ›

"Losers always whine about their best."

Are Jane Krakowski and Tina Fey friends? ›

We always pair her up with Amy Poehler, but there's no denying that Tina Fey and Jane Krakowski are close friends. We mean, Fey put Krakowski in two of her shows, so it's pretty obvious that a real bond has formed between these two talented ladies.

Who is the smiling guy in 30 Rock? ›

Best known for his role as NBC page Kenneth Parcell on NBC primetime comedy 30 Rock (2006), Jack McBrayer was born on May 27, 1973 in Macon, Georgia.

Who is Liz's best friend on 30 Rock? ›

Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski) is the histrionic costar of TGS and Liz's best friend and former roommate.

Was Matt Damon in 30 Rock? ›

' But one of our favorite appearances has to be his recent foray on NBC's '30 Rock. ' He plays Liz Lemon's insecure pilot boyfriend who yearns to settle down for true love. Damon told Kurt how he got the gig.

When was 30 Rock Cancelled? ›

Why did 30 Rock do a live episode? ›

On July 30, 2010, the NBC network announced that an episode of 30 Rock's fifth season would be filmed and broadcast live on two occasions in the evening of October 14, 2010. The decision was made in part due to lagging ratings for all of NBC's Must-See TV line-up.

How many babies does Tracy Morgan have? ›

Morgan has four children totally, shares three with his ex-wife Sabrina Morgan, whom he married while they were still in high school, back in 1987.

Are Grizz and Dotcom friends? ›

Something sweet about Tracy's entourage on the show is that the actors who play Grizz and Dotcom are Morgan's real life friends.

Why is Spencer Tracy famous? ›

One of the major stars of Hollywood's Golden Age, Tracy was the first actor to win two consecutive Academy Awards for Best Actor from nine nominations. During his career, he appeared in 75 films and developed a reputation among his peers as one of the screen's greatest actors.

Is Kenneth Parcell an angel? ›

The show offers enough convincing evidence for us to conclude that Kenneth's immortality comes from being an angel of God and/or a relationship with the character Jacob from Lost.

Who is Liz Lemon based on? ›

Lemon has always been more or less a fictionalized version of Fey herself: a woman in charge of her own television show. But the two are not quite equal. Tina Fey is an award-winning writer, producer, and star who has appeared on magazine covers and has two young daughters with her husband.

Is 30 Rock based on Tina Fey? ›

The series, based on Fey's experiences as head writer for Saturday Night Live, takes place behind the scenes of a fictional live sketch comedy show depicted as airing on NBC.
30 Rock
Created byTina Fey
20 more rows

Are Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin friends in real life? ›

Alec Baldwin's working relationship with 30 Rock producer, writer, actor, and comedy queen Tina Fey is one of the great platonic love stories of TV comedy.

How much did Tina Fey make on 30 Rock? ›

In 2013, 30 Rock came to an end after a number of rave reviews from critics. Some consider it to be one of the best TV series of all time. At the peak of the series Tina Fey earned a salary of $500,000 per episode.

What happened to Jack in 30 Rock? ›

In the episode Reunion, Geiss wakes up. However, he claims he was visited by a beam of energy, and says that he is staying on as CEO. Jack later married Avery Jessup and had a child with her named Liddy. Liddy was born while Avery and Jack were in Canada, so she will never be able to become the POTUS.

How much did Tracy Morgan make on 30 Rock? ›

The actor has an estimated net worth of $18 million. With a salary of $75,000 an episode, Morgan made over $1.5 million for the first season of 30 Rock — an amount which grew to $2.2 million by 2012's sixth season.

Is Sherri Shepherd in 30 Rock? ›

Shepherd had a recurring role as Angie Jordan, the wife of Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan), on 30 Rock, which had a seven-season run on NBC from 2006 to 2013. Her notable appearances include the Season 5 episode "Queen of Jordan," which was presented as an episode of the fictional reality series Queen of Jordan.

What happened to Jack's first assistant on 30 Rock? ›

Despite the fact that he was such a prominent presence in Jack's life, Jonathan was notably absent from 30 Rock Season 6. The show explained his absence away by saying he had to look after his sick grandmother. But behind the scenes, Pancholy left 30 Rock for a role on sitcom Whitney.

Was rip given Yellowstone? ›

After a fight in which Rowdy was killed in, John and Lloyd helped cover it up by delivering Rowdy to the Train Station. Around that time, Rip was given the choice to accept the Ranch as his home and take the brand in which he accepted.

Was Al Gore really on 30 Rock? ›

Former Vice President Al Gore made his second appearance as himself on 30 Rock in this episode.

What crime did rip commit? ›

2. He Has Committed Murder for the Dutton Family. While Rip is one of the most beloved Yellowstone characters, he has done some very dark things on the show. Such criminal acts include both killing and covering up murders to protect the Dutton family name.

Does Liz get pregnant in 30 Rock? ›

Jeff Labrecque of Entertainment Weekly was disappointed that Liz was not actually pregnant, and hoped that her former boyfriend, Dennis, would continue to reappear in the next season.

What happened to Jack's dad on 30 Rock? ›

Jack meets the men, George Park, Fred O'Dwyer (Stuart Margolin), and Professor Milton Greene (Alan Alda). At meeting the three men, Jack comes to the realization that Milton is his father, as George Park is Korean and Fred O'Dwyer lost his genitals in a grenade explosion during World War II.

Who was Liz Lemon's boss? ›

Liz became the head writer for The Girlie Show, while Jenna became the show's main star. In the pilot, it is announced that Liz's former boss Gary has died and Jack Donaghy takes his place.

Which prime perk is Amazon doing away with? ›

Heads up – that's going away. Your photos are safe, though. Months after raising its annual membership by 17%, is taking away one of its perks of Amazon Prime. Amazon announced to members that it will cease supporting Amazon Drive (opens in new tab) at the end of December 2023.

Will 30 Rock come back? ›

The one-time, hour-long “30 Rock” special will reunite the show's main characters to “celebrate the stories and talent featured in NBCUniversal's 2020-21 television season.”

Who has won a Pegot? ›

A PEGOT winner is someone who has won all four EGOT awards as well as a Peabody Award or Pulitzer Prize.
  • Barbra Streisand.
  • Mike Nichols.
  • Rita Moreno.

Who has earned a pegot? ›

The EGOT winners synopsis
  • Richard Rodgers.
  • Helen Hayes.
  • Rita Moreno.
  • John Gielgud.
  • Audrey Hepburn.
  • Marvin Hamlisch.
  • Jonathan Tunick.
  • Mel Brooks.

Who is the oldest EGOT winner? ›

Sir John Gielgud

This famous British actor hold the distinction of being the oldest EGOT winner to complete his award set, getting his Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in Summer's Lease in 1991 when he was 87.

What does 30 Rock stand for? ›

The series's name refers to 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City, where the NBC Studios are located and where Saturday Night Live is written, produced, and performed.

What is 30 Rock named after? ›

The show's title comes from a nickname for 30 Rockefeller Plaza (also known as the GE Building), home to NBC's New York City studios. 30 Rock follows the cast and crew of a fictional SNL-like sketch comedy called TGS with Tracy Jordan, who is played by Tracy Morgan.

What reality show was on 30 Rock? ›

Episode no. This episode aired as an episode of Queen of Jordan, a fictional reality series that started sometime during the events of "Mrs. Donaghy".

Who is the main character in 30 Rock? ›

Is Jack Donaghy based on Lorne Michaels? ›

Lorne Michaels was part of the inspiration for Jack Donaghy. Baldwin has said that at least the personal life of his character drew from the SNL and 30 Rock executive producer Michaels.

Who is Jenna Maroney based on? ›

The character of TGS star Jenna Maroney was originally Jenna DeCarlo, a part Tina Fey wrote for her Second City and SNL co-star Rachel Dratch, who played Jenna in 30 Rock's unaired pilot (see below) before being unceremoniously replaced by NBC execs.

Is SNL filmed at 30 Rock? ›


Saturday Night Live, also referred to as SNL, has been filming at 30 Rockefeller Plaza's studio 8H since 1975. The 90-minute sketch and variety show features a regular cast, a weekly guest celebrity host, and a weekly guest musical act.

Why did 30 Rock end? ›

The evolution was complete. Alec Baldwin told Rolling Stone that part of 30 Rock's end was due to changing life focuses for the cast. Fey was busy raising two children and working on the Mean Girls musical and was constantly thinking of new ideas to work on.


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