With everything going on in Daytime® Emmy Award-winner Sherri Shepherd’s life, she took some time from planning her wedding, and the View to talk to us about 30 Rock and why she is not a fan of the Housewives.
Episode 517 – “Queen Of Jordan” – to air March 17
ON A “TGS”-CENTERED EPISODE OF ANGIE’S REALITY SHOW, LIZ (TINA FEY) STRUGGLES TO CONVINCE ANGIE (GUEST STAR SHERRI SHEPHERD) TO LURE TRACY BACK FROM AFRICA.
Jack (Alec Baldwin) puts Liz in charge of an event for Angie in the hopes that she can emotionally manipulate Angie into making an appeal to Tracy. The “Queen of Jordan” cameras bring Jack some embarrassment while leaving Jenna starved for attention. A lost love returns to Frank’s (Judah Friedlander) life, causing him to question his maturity.
30 ROCK - Thursdays (10:00- 10:30pm ET in Spring 2011) on NBC
What is it like being married to Tracy Morgan in 30 Rock? And are you the Queen of Jordan?
Sherri Shepherd: It’s a blast, moving. It’s funny being married to Tracy from 30 Rock. From the first time I got on there it’s just been so much fun with the entire cast and especially being married to Tracy. I think when I first – did my first episode with him I was a little intimidated because I didn’t know if he’d want this like totally voluptuous woman to play his wife because all I’ve ever played have been secretary or best friend. And so I was a little scared when I first walked into the set and he saw me. And he said I love a big girl. We’re going to have fun. And that was about three years ago. Angie and Tracy’s relationship is doing well although in this episode Tracy, he leaves. He goes to Africa and I have to do this reality show myself. And so they’re trying to trick me into getting Tracy back. And through it all Angie loves her Tracy Jordan no matter what he does. She might put him out the house, she might be mad at him but they have a love that just endures.
So as a mother, career woman… what does it mean to exit left and do you know when to do so?
Sherri Shepherd: I don’t know. And hopefully I get the signals when it’s time to leave. Right now I’m having fun. I hope nobody’s asking me to exit left.
What does it mean for you personally and career-wise to be a guest star on 30 Rock?
Sherri Shepherd: 30 Rock is a great show- what a show to be on. I’m very thankful to Tina Fey that she called and asked me to come on the show. I’d never imagined in my wildest dreams that I would be back and they would write an episode for my character. So I am feeling like in the world. It’s just really nice to be working with the people that I work with, Alec Baldwin and Tina and Tracy and the entire cast. I am having a lot of fun. I love the fact that I get to do the View and I get to go and play with those crazy people of 30 Rock. Being on The View was probably a little bit more intimidating because sometimes you say your opinion and you get in a lot of trouble. Joy Behar said to me my first day as soon as you open your mouth you’re going to lose half your audience. And we have found that out. I give my opinion and I get a lot of people who go I will never support you in anything you do and then some people love it some people hate it. So that’s always a little bit more intimidating to go out there every day and be fearless and state your truth and hope to goodness that everybody knows you and doesn’t hate you that day.
You have multiple things going on in your personal life and career at this point. How do you balance your time?
Sherri Shepherd: My gosh you’re talking about that person and I’m like who is that girl that you’re talking about? I love doing everything. I love being on The View. That’s something where I get to share my opinion and talk with girlfriends. And then I get to go over to the other side and play and be an actress and get to play this crazy, crazy person named Angie Jordan. And then I get to go and do a film like Precious and bring out the dramatic side. So it is really fulfilling. When I was a legal secretary and dreaming about this in my wildest dreams I never thought that I would be blessed to do so many different things. And, you know, do my stand up and make people laugh, that’s the – that really fulfills me. So can I say which one fulfills me the most? I can’t answer that question because I just I love being able to do it. And I’m thankful that Barbara Walters gives me the time off to be able to do this.
Who would you like to work with on 30 Rock?
Sherri Shepherd: Is there anybody that I would love to work with, McBrayer. I don’t think I get enough scenes with McBrayer. But I get a lot of scenes with Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey and Tracy. McBrayer is one of the ones that I really wish we could have some more scenes together. I’d love to do a film with Tina Fey. I think we’d make a great duo in a film of Thelma and Louise.
Why keeps you going back to 30 Rock?
Sherri Shepherd: I don’t know. I guess you could just see a different side of Tracy with having his wife around. And you get to see what keeps Tracy sane. And you get to see okay everybody in Tracy’s family is a little bit off. And I think that’s what keeps me coming back. And I get along very well with the cast of 30 Rock. So, I guess I bring a certain quirkiness to that show as well. So I’m just thankful they keep asking me. I tell you I didn’t think I was going to get asked back. So every time they call and say we want you back I’m screaming and jumping up and down and screaming.
You are very successful in all aspects of your career. What is it that allowed you to be so successful?
Sherri Shepherd: I just I love what I do. Everywhere I go I just love being wherever I’m at and just being in that moment. And I think it’s just a thing of you have to go to do what you fear the most. And the day when I wake up and I sit on the edge of the bed and say oh my God what is that thing that makes my stomach tingle, okay I’ve got to do it. And I think that has allowed me to kind of do a lot of things that I would not have normally done. When they asked me to host the Newlywed Game I was scared to death I’ve never done that before. I didn’t even think about it. I’ll do it. And it turns out…it’s the second highest rated show on the game show network.
What are some of your favorite reality shows?
Sherri Shepherd: I love the reality shows. I like Top Chef. I cry every Sunday at the show were they build the houses. What’s the name of that show, home – home where they build the houses? Extreme Makeover! Yes that one. I mean I’m sitting there and I’m always tweeting going oh my gosh the human spirit just absolutely amazes me. I love Dancing with the Stars is my show and any dance show. I’m not so much into the shows where you’ve got a bunch of people fighting. I don’t like those kind of shows which is actually the Queen of Jordan it’s one of those shows but I’m not a big fan of the housewives shows because I just – I look at these grown ass women and I’m going what the hell is wrong with everybody? You guys get the craziest people to put on these shows. I’m really not into those shows where they don’t know how to control themselves. I’m more into shows that inspire people, that uplift people and encourage people. I walk away from any housewife show and go this is just ridiculous.
What is your favorite moment on 30 Rock?
Sherri Shepherd: I’ve really had a lot of fun playing Angie on the Queen of Jordan because it has allowed me, this episode that’s airing is the craziest one I’ve ever done on 30 Rock. And it has allowed me to go crazy. There’s a fight with me and Tina. There’s some more hair pulling out. They gave me a very tender moment of crying. I’ve got to do it all in this show. I even get to curse. And I said to them are you going to bleep out the curse words because my dad is a deacon at his church? He’s going to kill me? So I get to go absolutely crazy on this show and I’m really looking forward to it. And I think my – probably my favorite moment is the very first episode that I did with Tracy we played a sex game for our anniversary with Alec Baldwin in the hotel room. I had to get my clothes ripped off about 13 times that day. And I was so self-conscious by the end of the day I was walking around in front of Tracy and Alec with a corset and high-heeled boots on not even a problem.
Who are you rooting for this season on Dancing with the Stars?
Sherri Shepherd: On Dancing with the Stars? I am rooting for Wendy Williams. I am going to be voting for Wendy Williams because Wendy inspired me. If she is able to stay up with those boobs I think I’m doing it the season after her. So Wendy is like my bar. I will be voting every day for Ms. Williams.
Would you consider joining the cast of Dancing With the Stars?
Sherri Shepherd: It would be Dancing with the Stars. I love to dance. Dancing with the Stars I would love to go out there and kind of show women, you know, that if you just run toward what you fear I think it’ll be some great stuff on the other side. So I really if it wasn’t for my schedule I would be trying to do Dancing with the Stars.
Is there anything off the table for you in terms of acting?
Sherri Shepherd: There’s not a lot of things that are off the table. I’d like to try a lot of everything. I think anything for me I want something that my nieces and nephews always can come and watch me in. So anything where I looked at Black Swan and I immediately I thought good but Natalie Portman because there is no way I could even pulled any of that off. So some things I know the lane that I swim in. And my thing is I make people laugh. So that’s pretty much the direction I’m always going in. I give props to Monique for Precious. I don’t think I could’ve done that. Thank goodness for Lee Daniels who gave me a little small part. I auditioned for a small part in Precious which was actually supposed to be funny role. It turned out to be a little bit more dramatic. But I think I probably am more making people laugh.
Can you talk about the cat fight between Angie and Liz?
Sherri Shepherd: Well it’s because Liz is trying to trick Angie into getting Tracy back home so they can continue with doing the show. And so Angie and Liz have kind of a love- hate relationship. Deep down Angie always thinks that Liz wants her husband. And so it’s always that thing. And she doesn’t want Liz telling her what to do because she wants to be the numero uno woman in Tracy’s life. So it’s always kind of it’s always kind of a power struggle between Liz and Angie because Liz is also the number one woman in Tracy’s life? So of course we get into it because you’ve got two alpha dogs fighting for a position in Tracy Jordan’s life.
Do you enjoy working with Tina Fey on those scenes?
Sherri Shepherd: I love it. I absolutely love working with Tina Fey. She’s funny and we’re both mothers. Our kids are the same age. And I got the job because see I was on Ellen DeGeneres Show and I was talking about my son was just born. And I was talking about pumping and how that breast pump makes our breasts look like crazy. And Tina Fey was watching the show pumping at the same time and so that’s how we connected. And so whenever even between the camera breaks we’re talking about our kids. That’s what our – because we’re both mothers. So I love Tina. I am very thankful that, you know, she made me a part of 30 Rock.
How is your relationship with the ladies of The View?
Sherri Shepherd: Elizabeth and I hang out because we have kids the same age. Jeffrey goes swimming with Taylor, Isaiah and Grace. And we actually had dinner at Elizabeth’s house. And I – it was so funny because Elizabeth sent me an email and she said what does Jeffrey eat? What are his allergies? And I told her and she says okay we’re going to have this great dinner. And then I get over to the house and she gives me a takeout menu to order my dinner. So we all – we had this huge dinner that was all takeout. And I love her because she’s just a regular mom just like me.
Are your co-workers on the View invited to your wedding?
Sherri Shepherd: Yes of course everybody’s invited. All my ladies are invited. Barbara Walters is actually giving me a bridal shower. Elizabeth Hasselback is one of my bridesmaids. So they are all invited.