Tina Fey's Jokes Make D.C. Crowd Nervous—And She's Team Cake

Right-wing women, said Tina Fey last night, are great for all women, "unless you don't want to pay for your own rape kit...[or] you're a lesbian who wants to get married to your partner of 20 years."

The occasion was Fey becoming the youngest person ever, and the third woman to receive the Mark Twain Prize. According to The Washington Post, "The lines played first to nervous laughter and then to not much laughter at all."

Perhaps it was because, as with Stephen Colbert's edgy White House Correspondent Speech and its fusty reception, the event was held in Washington, and comedians from both coasts could only pack the audience so much. Jon Hamm had a good line on the red carpet: "I think D.C. has an ample, ample share of comedy," he told ABC News. "Maybe it's unintentional comedy, but they have quite a bit of comedy of their own."

Other than that, the tributes to Fey — from Amy Poehler, Betty White, Steve Martin, Steve Carell and more — seem to have stuck to a script of praising her genius.

Fey, of course, is beyond having a moment; she's firmly established herself as a ruling figure. As The Washington Post indexed in a profile yesterday:

She was on "Letterman" the night before; she's shooting two episodes of "30 Rock" on this day in the old studio warehouse in Queens that is the show's home. She's a starring voice in the week's top-grossing movie, the animated "Megamind." She has a $5 million deal for a comedy book. Not to mention a happy marriage and a 5-year-old daughter.

That hasn't stopped her from heavy self-deprecation along the lines of "I keep trying to resist the urge to talk them out of it or apologize for [the award], because it certainly seems strange to me. But Lorne [Michaels]'s advice was: 'Just take it.'"

We agree. There comes a point where self-deprecation is too belabored, and your success too manifest, to pass as sincere.

Also, she's team cake. Here she is answering questions from the Internet on the occasion of the prize. She says Mean Girls will be her work with the greatest social impact, and not the Sarah Palin imitation. Unless Sarah Palin becomes president.

The ceremony itself airs this Sunday on PBS.

From Second City to '30 Rock,' Tina Fey Rocketed To Becoming Twain Prize Winner [WP]
Comedy Comes To Washington To Honor Tina Fey [ABC News]
Tina Fey Accepts Mark Twain Prize For Humor [WP]