Sometimes the jokes come so fast on “30 Rock” that it takes a TiVo — and repeated use of the rewind button — to get them all.
For much of the last two weeks, on television-related Web sites, blogs and message boards, fans of “30 Rock,” the critically acclaimed but ratings-challenged NBC comedy, have been replaying and kvelling over “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah.” That six-second sketch imagines a 1980s novelty song and music video recorded by Tracy Jordan, the resident nut job on the show within a show on “30 Rock.”
As is frequently the case, explaining a joke robs it of its hilarity, so the curious are perhaps better advised to go to nbc.com/30Rock and watch the video of Episode 202, titled “Jack Gets in the Game.” The setup to the joke starts about 9 minutes 20 seconds in.
Robert Carlock, an executive producer of “30 Rock,” said he came up with the idea as the writers mulled the breakup of the marriage of Tracy, played by the comedian Tracy Morgan. In the box of detritus that his wife delivers to him is the gold record from his recording of “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah.”
Cut to the video — a “Thriller”-like montage of badly made-up werewolves sporting lame disco moves while celebrating a coming-of-age ceremony: “Boys becoming men. Men becoming wolves.”
“I imagined that Tracy probably went to a bar mitzvah and thought, “Why are there no bar mitzvah songs playing at this party?'” said Mr. Carlock, who wrote the segment along with Tami Sagher.
It took three days to prepare the set, a combination of a rented spooky backdrop, branches hanging from metal light stands and carved-foam Jewish tombstones. The segment was shot on video — four takes totaling about 15 minutes, Mr. Carlock said — and was intended to look shlocky, “like Tracy was rushing to get it done in time for bar mitzvah season.”
It is perhaps telling that the segment, which Mr. Carlock said had drawn more commentary from fellow comedy writers than any previous segments on the show, has largely escaped the notice of NBC’s marketing department. The network has tried just about everything to drum up viewers for the show, including the heavily promoted stunt casting of Jerry Seinfeld.
But this week NBC, whose corporate parent, NBC Universal, is starting its own Hulu.com video service with News Corporation next week, ordered the video of “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah” taken down from YouTube.
[Check it Out: NYTimes]