30 Rock

I’ve long viewed 30 Rock as the TV comedy lover’s TV comedy show. In many ways it’s the antithesis of “background” programming: The joke density is high, and it’s endlessly referential without being pedantic. (At one point or another, there are nods to Night Court, Friends, Seinfeld, The Tonight Show, Law & Order, M*A*S*HMad Men, and Lost, among others.) The music for the show, composed by Tina Fey’s husband Jeff Richmond, borrows heavily from the history of broadcast television, and Richmond’s experience as a composer for SNL lends both the theme song and the incidental music the jazzy, late-night feel of the show-within-a-show at the program’s center.

This recording, much more than last week’s, also brings up another aspect of this project: the ways in which each recording’s deficiencies and limitations – of instrumentation, of recording, of my own technical ability – deteriorate and transform the original material. There is a long list of reasons I am not attempting a note-for-note rendition of each song; that I would fail if I tried is at the top of that list.

“30 Rock” theme written by Jeff Richmond.

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