“I loved this season,” says “30 Rock” star Jane Krakowski of the NBC comedy’s sixth year, “especially for all the growth and exploration that we had for Jenna. The writers really gave me so much gold this year … I think we also saw a more sincere side of Jenna, if there is such a thing.” This year her character, narcissistic actress Jenna Maroney, became a judge on the fictional reality show “America’s Kidz Got Singing”; fell in love with her boyfriend, Jenna-impersonator Paul (Will Forte); and embarked on a sexual walkabout.
As ever, Jenna is no stranger to questionable behavior. “If you actually go back and look at Jenna’s sexual history, it is the most outrageous sexual history you can imagine,” says Krakowski, whose alter ego has bedded the likes of Tony Shalhoub, Mickey Rourke and David Blaine. Krakowski describes encountering Blaine in real life last year at a New York restaurant: “He came up to my table and he was like, ‘I hear I’m your lover on “30 Rock.”‘ Awkward! But then he sat down and did a few magic tricks because I was eating with my mom and dad. This is a for-real story.”
This season, “30 Rock” also produced its second live episode, which the cast performed twice on April 26 – once for east coast viewers, and again for the west coast. “I thought it was going to be a little bit less terrifying this season because we knew what the entity was … but I got the same adrenaline rush, the same fear in the pit of my stomach that we were going to do this again.” Despite the anxiety, however, she hopes for another encore next year, explaining that it’s “a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants experience, but I loved it, and I hope if we are returning with ’30 Rock’ next year that we get to at least do it one more time.”
Krakowski has been nominated three times for Best Comedy Supporting Actress at the Emmys, though she has yet to win. “It would be such an honor to be nominated again this year,” she says. “I feel so lucky to have gotten to play this character for the last six years.” When considering possible episodes to submit to Emmy judges, she gravitates towards “Murphy Brown Lied To Us,” in which Jenna fakes a public breakdown to win back her cross-dressing beau. “And then there’s one that still hasn’t aired yet, where we learn a lot about Jenna’s past and her identity, called ‘The Return of Avery Jessup.’ It was a big eye-opener, I think, when we filmed it of a lot of Jenna’s history that we didn’t know about.”
As she weighs her options, she plans to consider the advice of Gold Derby: “I trust you guys. I always read your articles to see what you say we should do,” she says, “so I will pay close attention to what you say, and maybe you can even let me know after you see ‘The Return of Avery Jessup.'”
Regardless of her final choice, she acknowledges that the ensemble nature of “30 Rock” is a disadvantage when selecting the ideal Emmy reel; storylines are divided among the principal cast, limiting her screen time in any given week. At the idea of pitching an entire episode built around her, she jokes, “It’s ‘The Jenna Show’! One minute for you, twenty-one for me, and a few commercial interruptions.”
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