30 Rock recently ended a distinguished seven-year run that left critics and pop-culture writers emptying out their lifetime supply of superlatives in rapt appreciation. Yes, 30 Rock got seven glorious seasons to strut and fret their hour upon the stage but what of its one-time rival/doppelgänger Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip?
As has been documented, NBC brutally ended Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip’s life after a single season of untarnished super-genius, because the network could not handle the profound satirical truths and commedia del arte skits the show contained and put it down like a dog that took itself way too seriously.
This left “fans” to continue the story of integrity-obsessed producers/showrunners Matt Albie (Matthew Perry) and Danny Tripp (Bradley Whitford), primarily through Twitter: @MattAlbie60 (written by Seth Reiss, head writer for The Onion) and @DannyTripp60 (comedian and podcast host Jake Fogelnest). Reiss has continued his quest in the form of a fake Amazon page (with a sample chapter) for a fake oral history of the show called Live From Studio 60: An Uncensored History Of The Sunset Strip As Told by Its Stars, Writers, And Guests. It's “co-written” by Danny Concannon (the Washington Post journalist Timothy Busfield played on The West Wing) and Martha O’Dell (Studio 60’s Maureen Dowd-like superstar journalist played by Christine Lahti).
The book is overtly modeled on Live From New York, Tom Shales and James Andrew Miller’s epic oral history of Saturday Night Live, a show Studio 60 somewhat resembled. Readers who click “look inside” can read "Chapter 7: Matt & Danny," about the fateful night that brought Albie and Tripp back to Studio 60. It scathingly lampoons the show’s conception of timely sketch comedy as the secret engine that drives the universe.
The fake Amazon page is filled with in-jokes from the show’s alternate-universe Saturday Night Live mythology, like an Amazon customer review lovingly recalling when Studio 60 offered The Traveling Wilburys $3,000 to reunite on air (one was even supposed to be in LA at the time!) to its fictional cast (Bill Hicks among them). So relive the magic, the wonder, and the mystery of what we can all agree is the most important fictional fake sketch-comedy institution in the world.