Elizabeth Stamatina Fey started as a writer and performer with a bad short haircut in Chicago improv. Then she retreated backstage at S.N.L., wore a ski hat, and gained weight writing sharp, funny jokes and eating junk food. Then she lost 30 pounds, fixed her hair, put on a pair of hot-teacher glasses, and made her name throwing lightning-bolt zingers on “Weekend Update.” Speeding through the comedy galaxy, she wrote the hit Mean Girls and created her own show based on an S.N.L.-type show: 30 Rock. The comedy struggled in the ratings for two years but was a critical success, winning seven Emmys last fall and catapulting Fey into red-hot territory. Before she even had a chance to take a breath, a freakish twist of fate turned her from red- to white-hot, and enabled her, at long last, to boost the ratings of 30 Rock: Fey was a ringer for another hot-teacher-in-glasses, Sarah Palin, the comely but woefully unprepared Alaska governor, who bounded out of the woods with her own special language to become not only the first Republican woman to run on a national ticket but also God’s gift to comedy and journalism. So where does Fey go from white-hot?
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The story so farSeptember 2004