In the mid to late 1990s, “Saturday Night Live” often gave major cast members “Best Of” celebrating the highlights from their tenure on the show. Mike Myers got one; Chris Farley got one; heck, Will Ferrell got three (!).
Thankfully, the duo’s excellent ongoing ‘Restless Leg Tour’ rectifies that unfortunate slight.
Currently running at New York City’s Beacon Theatre for an extended residency — which includes a likely to be packed Valentine’s Day show — the pair flex all their comedic muscles over the course of an airtight 90-minute show.
It’s like a live “Best Of” but…better. A “Better Of?” Yeah, that feels right.
Without spoiling too much (there’s so much good stuff), here’s our rundown of the comedic team’s live show along with a few of our favorite lines from the laugh-filled night.
The opening act
Before Fey and Poehler took the stage, burgeoning star Zarna Garg kicked off the night with a barn-burning 15-minute set.
Garg, a mother of three, joked about her family, reality TV and immigrating to America.
“This may come as a shock to some of you, but I am an immigrant,” she began. “And when I say that, people often wonder if I have a sad, depressing backstory and I do.”
“It was hard to come here! I flew coach.”
The tone was set for the evening; Garg’s refreshing hot takes were the perfect lead-in to our sardonic dual headliners.
*Note: Zarna is staging a tour of her own this year; make sure to grab tickets to see her one-of-a-kind comedy live.
Fey and Poehler Act One: A dense, joke-heavy monologue
After Zarna wrapped up her sparkling stand-up, a montage of Fey and Poehler’s greatest hits — “30 Rock” and “Parks and Rec” clips; scenes from the under-appreciated “Sisters” and yes, the classic “Mom Jeans” sketch — played on a screen set onstage.
Now that the crowd was officially warmed up, the evening’s main attraction sauntered into the spotlight in awards show gowns.
A well-deserved, minute-long applause break followed.
“I am Amy Poehler, this is my work husband, Tina Fey,” Poehler cracked.
For the next 10 minutes, the ladies delivered witty patter that was on par with their standout Golden Globes monologues from years past.
“We are back in a New York groove!” Poehler announced. “Which I believe is slang for when you fall between the train and the platform.”
Joke after joke after joke about the city followed, each snarky punchline topping the last.
Watching the two ping pong bits back and forth was a marvel; their easy chemistry, effortless. The fact that the two aren’t on TV every week is a crime; yet it also gives seeing them live a vital urgency — who knows when this will happen again?
Fey and Poehler Act Two: The origin story
30 years ago, the comediennes met back in Chicago. Unfortunately, they don’t remember exactly how it happened.
So, in an effort to pay tribute to their pre “SNL” days performing at Second City and Improv Olympic, they improvised what “might have happened” with the help of an audience suggestion.
At the Saturday, Feb. 10 show, the two reimagined their friendship blossoming in a bathroom.
Fey set the scene. She’s on a date (“he’s still here, that’s pretty good. That’s a first”); Poehler admits she “stands in the back and watch other people connect” which garnered big laughs.
Soon after, they mixed things up and reinterpreted their meeting as a horror film. Next, it was a noir. Finally, a musical.
“Like jazz or sneezing, (improv’s) a lot more fun to do than to watch,” Fey joked before they jumped into their characters.
That’s simply not true when two of the very best to ever do it are onstage.
Fey and Poehler Act Three: Weekend Update update
Even though they’ve been improvising for over 30 years, the “SNL” alums became household names trading exquisitely constructed barbs behind the Weekend Update desk from 2004 to 2006.
After another costume change, they reprise their roles as newswomen with sharp zingers taking on everything from the Barbie snub to Trump’s lawsuits to George Santos.
This was an all-timer, though:
“Kentucky state lawmaker Nick Wilson introduced a bill that would make it legal for a person to have sex with their first cousin,” Fey drolled. “OK, but it’s going to take the thrill out of it.”
Still, comedy nerds will most likely be most delighted by the unannounced guests that take the stage with them.
Rather than ruin the surprise, we suggest seeing the ‘Restless Leg Tour’ live to find out who slides in. This is one gag that’s so good it must be experienced in person to truly be appreciated.
Thank us later.
Fey and Poehler Act Four: Shocking Stand-Up
Contrary to popular belief, Fey and Poehler have not performed stand-up prior to the tour.
Improv, sketch and acting for decades, yes; stand-up, not at all (although midtown comedy clubs will falsely advertise that Fey is slinging jokes at their clubs— don’t believe them).
Prior to the tour, Poehler suggested that the two stretch their wings and attempt a new comedic form.
As expected, the two are naturals.
Poehler went up first and mocked her age as well a few other age groups.
“Gen Z, thank you so much for coming,” she said, acknowledging the younger demo in the Beacon. “I know it was hard for you. I know you have a stomach ache.”
The laughs came fast and furious for the likable Poehler; her years in the comedy trenches clearly paid off. Yukking it up is second nature to her, regardless of the form.
Nothing will prepare you for just how good Fey is, though.
For a moment, she appeared to be a bit timid.
This might be the one thing she can’t do, it seems.
Nope, that’s simply not the case. Following that brief uncertain moment, the “Mr. Mayor” and “Girls5eva” creator launches into a pitch-perfect feminist parody of a well-known X-rated Chris Rock joke.
Once again, to give the twist away would be criminal; witnessing Fey stretch her legs and show off this untapped skill of hers is a joy. It’s like watching a gifted, young athlete explode on the scene. Who knows what they’re capable of?
Not to editorialize too much but if Fey was to devote all her time to telling jokes into a microphone, she has the potential to be one of the greats. Yes, her short set was that brilliant by my estimation.
Apologies for the hyperbole. I just want to express how much of a marvel it was watching the film and TV star — who we’ve seen do it all over the years (!) — try something new and unsurprisingly completely own the stage.
Fey and Poehler Act Five: Anything Goes Q&A
To close the night, Fey and Poehler change into pajamas and field pre-written questions from the crowd.
In this final segment, the evening takes a podcast-like “who knows what will happen” turn that’s less rat-a-tat level funny and more conversational.
For a good half hour, the best friends dish out fashion advice (“wear a tube top all the way to grave”), admit they’ll never host The Oscars (“We did the Golden Globes because it doesn’t matter”), “SNL” celebrity encounters (Poehler asked Prince “how was your summer”), the origins of “30 Rock” jokes (“The Rural Juror” was born from Fey’s trouble saying “rural”) and close the night with a hilarious, swing for the fences duet.
And with that, the lights came up, the crowd filed out and into the night.
Regardless of whether or not you have restless leg, you won’t want this show to be over.
90 minutes is nothing to sneeze at — as you may recall, “SNL” is also an hour and a half — and this charming greatest hits compilation never even came close to running out of gas.
Even if you’re even a fair weather fan, you’re in for a treat. There are moving parts and costume changes (similar to Lorne’s flagship show) but this one’s all Fey and Poehler (save for that surprise cameo) and they’ll have completely won you over by the end of the evening.
This really was better than a “Best Of” and is an absolute must for any fan of the “Mean Girls” twosome.
See them now before it’s too late. Trust us.
*Note: Fey does not address her headline generating appearance on Bowen Yang’s “Las Culturistas” podcast. You can check it out here.
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler 2024 tour schedule
Want to catch your favorite sitcom heroes live before it’s too late?
Here’s where Fey and Poehler are performing these next few months:
Comedians on tour in 2024
Unable to see Amy and Tina?
Here are just five other comics on tour these next few months you won’t want to miss live.
As an added bonus, check out Los Angeles’ star-studded Netflix is a Joke Festival from May 2-12. You can find all 300+ acts scheduled to perform here.
Still around? You must really like comedy! If so, we suggest sneaking a peek at our list of the 107 biggest comedians on tour in 2024 here to find the show for you.