• Tue, Jan 3 2012

30 Rock Is Still Figuring Out What To Do With Elizabeth Banks And Margaret Cho After Kim Jong Il’s Death

Fear not, 30 Rock fans anxiously awaiting news of Avery Jessup’s (Elizabeth Banks) fate now that Kim Jong Il is dead: The writers are working on it. Producer Robert Carlock spoke with Us Weekly, of all places, and confirmed that Tina Fey and the rest of the writers are navigating the tricky situation of the North Korean dictator’s death after having written several episodes of season 6. Last season Elizabeth’s character Avery got kidnapped and was forced to be the mouthpiece of Kim’s regime, but with the show needing to be up-to-date on world news, she could get lost.

Thankfully, it looks like they’ll get the best of both worlds. Carlock explained that while they had already continued the gag into the first few episodes, it was vagueness that saved them from a page-one rewrite:

Jack’s love life is pretty complicated and it just got more complicated because I think, technically, Avery is the First Lady of North Korea. We sort of went back to the script because we’d already shot eight or nine episodes and we realized that luckily we hadn’t referred to King Jong Il by name yet—just to North Korea in general. We can’t go back and address the changes there, but the fun puzzle is turning around and trying to figure out how to get her out of there and how to continue things.

And don’t forget that we can’t just write off Margaret Cho, whose imitation of Kim last season was utterly hilarious. While searching for the above photo, I stumbled upon Margaret’s blog post from the day of Kim’s death, where she recalled the textbook-definition bittersweet experience of playing the dictator:

Even though the role was obviously comedic, on what is one of the funniest shows on television (one scene imagines Kim Jong Il in Alex Baldwin’s famed coffee is for closers soliloquy from Glengarry Glen Ross) when I put on the fat suit (yes it’s a fat suit – that is not my gut) and Amy Poehler’s borrowed wig from SNL and no makeup because KJI and I have the same face (!), I felt tragic. I felt sick and sad for the people on the North Korean side of my family who died without ever getting to know me, or hating me just because we happened to live on one side of a suddenly come into existence line. My heart broke for a country cut off from the rest of the world, whose only representative is a crazed megalomaniac who fancies himself a polymath, like Leonardo da Vinci or Walt Disney or Woody Allen or Thomas Edison, a truly singular artiste, who can not only play the most incredible golf, he also directs films and is half man-half diety (also half size) as well as being a full time dictator.  Now that he is dead I would like to know what he really sounds like. Let me hear so I can truly do him justice.

In fact, having the fiery comedienne could work in their favor; Carlock joked, “Maybe we’ll have to have Margaret Cho showing up again having faked her death, because she wants to get a gig on a morning talk show.”

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