Like many comedies that were created and aired during the 2000s, 30 Rock is a binge-watchable favorite that many are returning to with nostalgia and joy. Since 30 Rock is one of many shows that can be streamed online nowadays, fortunately for us, we can all go back and rewatch one of the funniest shows that ever graced our television screens.
However, as we rewatch, we can’t help but realize: so many times, 30 Rock predicted the future. Of course, nobody could have known it at the time, but, as they say, hindsight is 20/20, and, going into 2020, it’s time to look back on ten times 30 Rock predicted the future.
10 James Franco's The Interview
Throwing it back a bit, we all remember when James Franco and Seth Rogen released The Interview back in 2014 and enraged the government of North Korea so much they threatened actual, legitimate action would be taken against the entire country of the United States of America if The Interview, a satire film created by the same guy who made Superbad.
Believe it or not, 30 Rock predicted this, when James Franco appeared on an episode in 2010 and said he was going to be in a role that would soon be deemed “too provocative for America.” Turns out he was right.
9 Surgeon General Appointment
Dr. Leo Spaceman is, no secret and no surprise, one of our all-time favorite characters on 30 Rock, and we have made that clear to you all before. However, Dr. Leo Spaceman is not only hilarious, he also serves as a vessel for a prophecy.
When 30 Rock ended in 2013, Dr. Leo Spaceman’s story ends with a bunch of agents showing up to arrest him — or so the audience thinks. Instead, these are federal agents who are informing Dr. Leo Spaceman that he’s been made the U.S. Surgeon General. At the time, his incompetence in the role was hilarious; reflecting on it in our current administration, not so much.
8 Steve Austin's Campaign
Speaking of our current administration, we all remember Steve Austin’s campaign that Jack Donaghy supported back in season five. Steve Austin literally says, “This country has lost its way. We need to start over and return to what made our nation great.” Sound familiar? Jack even comments on how Steve Austin is, “an individual. A maverick. People like you are succeeding because Americans are fed up with the status quo.”
Steve Austin agrees, stating that he wants an American renaissance, a rebirth, where America returns it to the way the Founding Fathers had it. Among his ideas? “No paved roads. Rum used as an aesthetic. Legalize slavery.” Yikes. Again, sound familiar?
7 Hamilton and Jefferson
The writers at 30 Rock certainly know their Founding Fathers and their historical context, because they also predicted the rise of popularity for Alexander Hamilton that would come with Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical Hamilton opening in 2015. There’s lots of jokes about the Founding Fathers, but Jack and his wife, Avery, mention Hamilton specifically just to burn him, which is honestly what we should all be doing, when she says he’s a “mouthpiece for federalism [who] then [dies] in a duel against someone named Aaron,” which is a fair point.
They also went after one of the other main players in Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, giving us one of 30 Rock’s greatest lines: Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy as Thomas Jefferson saying, “America, which I invented,” and then getting booed.
6 Harriet (2019)
Alec Baldwin gets to stretch his acting muscles quite a bit on 30 Rock. Not only did he get to play Thomas Jefferson in the aforementioned “America, which I invented,” episode, he also got to play Harriet Tubman.
Yes, that Harriet Tubman, and it’s addressed how silly it is in the episode. It’s actually Tracy’s dream! Luckily, later on in the show, when Toofer pitches the idea of a Harriet Tubman biopic, Tracy doesn’t cast Jack; instead, he casts Octavia Spencer in an actual biopic about Harriet Tubman. In another prophetic twist, there is currently a biopic on Harriet Tubman titled Harriet that’s out right now.
5 Bill Cosby
In 2009, a full five fears before everything came about Bill Cosby, 30 Rock addressed what must have been (at the very least) something of an open secret in Hollywood circles? If not, then the writers of 30 Rock really are prophets, because in 2009, Tracy Jordan talks to Bill Cosby on the phone, or so he thinks — it’s actually Jack, pretending to be Bill Cosby.
Turns out, the joke is on Jack because Tracy immediately gets irate and shouts, “Bill Cosby, you got a lot of nerve getting on the phone with me after what you did to my Aunt Paulette!” He then goes on to say, “1971! Cincinnati! She was a cocktail waitress with a droopy eye!” Bill Cosby is now convicted on three counts of aggravated indecent assault and is serving time in prison for his offenses.
30 Rock does a hilarious job when they replace real brand names with fake names, like the now-famous Let’s Potato Chips brand that appears in countless other shows like Community, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and Orange is the New Black. Another brand that got changed was Comcast, which is referred to as “Kabletown” in 30 Rock. When Tina Fey makes fun of the way Comcast acquired NBCUniversal, she has Kabletown take over NBC in 30 Rock.
Not only that, but the iconic 30 Rock itself is renamed “The Kabletown Building,” and, in real life, Comcast renamed 30 Rock “The Comcast Building.” What an accurately-predicted slap in the face!
Believe it or not, Tina Fey and 30 Rock actually predicted one of the greatest social media platforms that has ever graced our sad, sinful planet Earth, Vine! In season one, Devon Banks, Jack Donaghy’s nemesis who was hilariously portrayed by Will Arnett throughout the show’s run, actually predicted the future existence of Vine.
Devon Banks creates a show called Makin’ It Happen!, a sitcom about a couple that doesn’t get along, where each episode is only ten seconds long and can only be viewed on the Internet. Though Vines were typically about six seconds long, the energy is exactly the same.
2 Jay-Z, Beyonce, and Shakespeare
Steve Buscemi’s recurring character of private detective Lenny Wosniak and his many disguises is a fan favorite for good reason — he’s often hilarious! Many remember his iconic memeable moment of “How do you do, fellow kids?” but few remember him as teacher Jan Foster.
When he was Jan Foster, he was trying to relate to his students, and he said, “Boy, Jay-Z and Shakespeare have nothing in common. …Or do they?” In doing so, he predicted the future: Shakespeare has three children. A daughter, then twins: a boy and a girl. What do Jay-Z and Beyoncé now have? A daughter, then twins: a boy and a girl. Mind? Blown.
1 Harvey Weinstein
Last but most certainly not least, the great open secret that is Harvey Weinstein. Tina Fey, thank the lord above, predicted the great Weinstein takedown of 2017, and she did it several times. In 2010, Avery Jessup says, “You always know you’re at the right party when it feels like The Riddler is about to attack. Look at this guest list,” and then, the first name she lists? Harvey Weinstein, calling him a rich villain. In 2012, Jenna Maroney says, “Oh, please, I’m not afraid of anyone in show business. I turned down intercourse with Harvey Weinstein on no less than three occasions. Out of five,” referencing Weinstein’s now-infamous “casting couch” sexual assaults far more directly.
Then, in 2013, Jenna Maroney says, “I know how former lovers can have a hold over you long after they’re gone. In some ways, I’m still pinned under a passed-out Harvey Weinstein, and it’s Thanksgiving.” This is perhaps the most damning and most obvious prediction of them all.