How 30 Rock Would Handle Coronavirus, According to Robert Carlock

Exclusive: Robert Carlock reveals what the characters of 30 Rock would be doing while social distancing and dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

By Lauren Piester, Chris Harnick Apr 02, 2020 6:45 PMTags
Jane Krakowski, 30 ROCK Ali Goldstein/NBC

Television has been an overwhelming comfort while millions have been doing their part and social distancing in the fight against the spread of coronavirus. And because so much TV is being consumed, both old and new, we couldn't help but think how some of our old favorites would handle the current situation.

How would your favorite character be social distancing? How would some dearly departed medical shows handle the very real pandemic? So, we asked those who helped bring those shows to life over the years how their series would handle life in the time of coronavirus.

30 Rock has been especially top of mind lately, given all the increased celebrity activity on Instagram Live, now that all productions are shut down and all events canceled. You just know Jenna Maroney would have been desperate to be a part of Gal Gadot's "Imagine" video, and you could imagine Liz Lemon relishing the opportunity to stay home and eat her night cheese. So we were thrilled when executive producer Robert Carlock offered an imaginary episode of 30 Rock that pretty much lived up to and exceeded everything we had imagined. 

Renewed and Canceled TV Shows 2020 Guide

Carlock was an executive producer alongside creator Tina Fey for the entire run of the series, and wrote 26 episodes himself. He was also a writer and producer on Friends and Joey, and co-created Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (stay tuned for that tomorrow!) with Fey as well. 

Here's his idea of how the characters of 30 Rock would be handling this current situation. 


Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski) is definitely furious that she wasn't asked to be in a celebrity video about hand-washing. She tries to put together her own viral video where celebrities sing "Muffin Top" with new lyrics about how Covid-19 can be transferred through fecal matter. No one agrees to participate.

Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) gets a coveted invitation to do social distancing on Elon Musk's private space bus. He has to decline, however, when he learns that his ex-wife Bianca (Isabella Rossellini) will he there; he knows he cannot stay six feet away from her. 

Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan) is named Secretary of Health and Human Services after giving millions of dollars to Republican PACs in order to "impress Kanye." He believes that if the virus started with bats, then the opposite of a bat will fix it. And what is the opposite of "bat"? "Tab," obviously. He makes sure that every American drinks too much Tab diet soda. It works. 

Liz Lemon's (Tina Fey) vast stores of stockpiled hoagie provisions and a DVR full of something called "Cake Monsters" leave her, frankly, looking forward to a bit of social distancing.

Uh, we're going to need all episodes of Cake Monsters stat, please. 

While Carlock didn't mention Kenneth the Page, we have to imagine that the president of NBC is very busy right now, meeting with the mysterious Jacob and contemplating the future of television for the good of us all. 

Check out how Getting On and ER might have handled the pandemic as well! 

30 Rock is available to watch in its entirety on Hulu. It originally aired on NBC.

E! and NBC are both part of the NBC Universal family.