Oprah Tells Tina Fey at Her 2020 Vision Tour: "Life Only Gets Better in Your Fifties"
I don’t know about you, but many nights, I go to sleep with the dulcet tones of Tina Fey’s voice in my ears. Whether I’m streaming old episodes of 30 Rock—which she wrote and starred in—playing Baby Mama (a true gem!) or listening to her narrated Bossypants audiobook, that lady is ever present in my home—just like Oprah. So I was especially pumped to learn that Fey would be Lady O’s guest on the second stop of her 2020 Vision Tour with WW in St. Paul, Minnesota.
And Fey didn’t just sit beside Oprah on stage. She also joined her to recreate the iconic opening credits of the Mary Tyler Moore Show—a series that was formative for both of them. But after braving the subzero temps in the Twin Cities, once inside the arena, Fey did what the 15,000 other women (“and a few cool men,” as Oprah put it) were there to do: reflect on her wellness journey and set an intention for the future.
A “lifetime” WW member, the SNL alum shared that while she’s not currently tracking points (which will change when she gets ready to host the 2021 Golden Globes alongside Amy Poehler, she says), she occasionally dabbles in WW’s community app, Connect. Of course she doesn’t use her own name, but she’ll like a salad pic or two—and offer recipe advice: “I take a banana and strawberry, and put frozen cool whip on it with a chocolate drizzle, and tell myself it’s a banana split.” Fey, who finds most social media toxic (explaining why you won’t find her on Twitter and Instagram) told Oprah the app is a friendly outlet.
Speaking of friends, while Fey teased that she wanted to steal Gayle from Oprah, despite having a famous comedian posse of her own—she has a daily group chat with Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Paula Pell, and Rachel Dratch, to name a few—Oprah explained the formula that makes her relationship with her OG work.
“The reason why Gayle is the best friend is because she always actually loved her life, and so she never wanted any part of mine. You can only have friends who are not jealous of you, who only want what they have, and are happy for you what you have,” Oprah said.
And for the Mean Girls writer with the musical adaptation now on Broadway, she happens to have a lot.
“I feel like I am at an age where all the things I’ve ever thought I wanted to do, I did them. I always wanted to work at Saturday Night Live, I always wanted to have a show, I always wanted to have children…” Fey, who shares two daughters with her composer husband, Jeff Richmonds, told Oprah. “And I did that. So I feel like I’m trying to be quiet, and take things in. And listen. I’m waiting for something inside me to tell me what the next thing is I want to do,” Fey said.
“Wait for that,” Oprah instructs. “Don’t tell it. Let it tell you.”
This advice ties back to a previous learning Oprah shared with the audience about not giving herself the space she needed to really think about her next move after The Oprah Winfrey show ended in 2011.
“Everybody else around me said you gotta make a move now, and what I should have done was wait, but I was afraid to wait. I thought oh, I have this offer here, now. I know what my spirit is telling me, but this is a business decision, so I betrayed myself. It eventually worked out, and OWN is doing great, but it didn’t have to be the struggle,” she said.
“If you’re in the struggle, it’s because somewhere you betrayed yourself,” she added. “Because your life is supposed to flow. Life is not set up to punish you. You are punished by your lack of clarity. You are punished, and feel sadness, feel rejection, feel the pain in direct proportion from how far you are from the center of yourself. So I am wise enough now that when trouble comes, I don’t blame the trouble. I look directly to myself. What was I not clear about? Why am I here? Not because a greater source is trying to punish me. I’m here because of the lack of clarity of my intentions.”
And while Fey, who is turning 50 in May, waits for her new decade, Oprah assures her that life “only gets better.”
“I’ll tell you, the only number that actually gave me pause was 60,” Oprah, now 65, said. “But when I turned 50, my dear friend, Maya Angelou was still alive, and Maya said to me, “Babe, the fifties are everything you’ve been meaning to be. It’s everything you thought you might do. This is it. It’s coming in. You’re not even there yet.”
Though Fey is currently figuring out her next project, there is one future she’s flirting with. Taken by the Oprah’s 2020 Vision Tour poster, which features all of the luminaries who’ll be talking to Lady O, Fey said, “I would like this to be how we repopulate the world. We go to an island, these women, and the Rock, and we start society over.” Same, Tina, same.