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NBC Insider Late Night with Seth Meyers

Please Don't Ask Improv Queen Tina Fey to Sing on the Spot, Thank You

She recalled to Seth Meyers the time she was asked to do music improv—in front of Lin-Manuel Miranda. 

By Christopher Rosa

Mr. Mayor and Girls5eva executive producer Tina Fey is the queen of comedy—and improv, specifically. (Need we show you any of her Saturday Night Live sketches!) But there's one form of improv she won't touch: music improv. 

How to Watch

Watch Late Night with Seth Meyers on NBC weeknights at 12:35/11:35c and next day on Peacock.  

So when she was asked to appear in a show for Lin-Manuel Miranda's rap improv group Freestyle Love Supreme in December 2021, she was excited yet nervous. "As [the date] got closer, I started to panic more and more," Fey told Seth Meyers on his eponymous late-night talk show. "I was like, 'They know that I don't improvise raps at all, right?'" 

Cut to the day of the show: Fey's asked if she'd like to play an improv game on stage where she'd have to sing the hook of a song. "I was like, 'Nope, I can't sing the hook. I'll tell a story,'" she said. "And they were really nice about it." She's in the clear, right? 

Wrong. While backstage doing warm-ups, the group shifted from normal improv to rap improv. "They take words out of a bucket and they freestyle rap and it's amazing," Fey said. "And they pass it to each other and every single person is amazing. I'm in this circle, and I'm sweating from my spine out." 

When Miranda tries to toss a word over to Fey, she had a not-so-subtle reaction. "I looked at Lin-Manuel Miranda and I went, 'No, I don't do that!' And then I threw myself on the ground." A perfectly relatable reaction to when the king of rap-improv asks you to....rap-improv. 

However, anyone who knows anything about improv is familiar with the art's biggest rule: Never say "no." Naturally, Fey's friend and fellow improv legend Amy Poehler roasted her for this. "[Amy] was like, 'Why didn't you just go, like, 'joop-de-beep-de-beep?'" Fey said. "I was like, 'I panicked!'" 

In all fairness, most of us would have, too. Watch Fey tell this story for yourself in the video above. Late Night With Seth Meyers airs weeknights at 12:35 a.m. ET on NBC. Mr. Mayor airs Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC, and Girls5eva Season 2  premieres May 5 on Peacock.