An “SNL” mystery solved: This former Weekend Update host once called Tina Fey a very ugly word — and lived to Tweet about it

Howard Stern coaxed the story of the altercation out of Tina Fey during an appearance to promote "Sisters"

By Erin Keane

Chief Content Officer

Published December 14, 2015 10:47PM (EST)

Tina Fey (Jordan Strauss/invision/ap)
Tina Fey (Jordan Strauss/invision/ap)

Tina Fey stopped by The Howard Stern Show today to talk about “Sisters,” the comedy she and Amy Poehler are debuting this week opposite “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” like the bosses that they are, and Stern wanted to dig out the truth of a bit of “Saturday Night Live” gossip he’d heard. Apparently, someone on the show had called Fey the c-word at some point.

Who was it? Stern wanted to know. "That's the worst thing you can call a woman."

Fey hesitated, hemming and hawing over naming names: “We’ve since made up.”

“You were the head writer of ‘Saturday Night Live’ and someone had the nerve to call you a c**t?” Howard asks, incredulously.

“Yeah. And I love him so much,” said Fey, clearly agonizing over whether to spill the beans.

“It was Colin Quinn,” Fey admitted.

“Now why would Colin call you a c**t?” Stern asked.

“I was trying to help him with a show he was working on,” she explained. “And I think his anxiety about the writing of the show spilled over. It was really random.”

“I couldn’t even guess why,” Fey added. “Usually when someone calls you that you know what you did.”

Fey was quick to head off any hint of lingering bad blood between her and her fellow former Weekend Update host, though. “I asked Colin to be on 30 Rock like three times and he turned me down,” Fey said, then assuring Stern that she and Quinn caught up at “SNL 40” and all is fine between them.

On Twitter, Quinn corroborated the story, but still left the origins of his anger a mystery:

(h/t to The Hollywood Reporter)

By Erin Keane

Erin Keane is Salon's Chief Content Officer. She is also on faculty at the Naslund-Mann Graduate School of Writing at Spalding University and her memoir in essays, "Runaway: Notes on the Myths That Made Me," was named one of NPR's Books We Loved In 2022.

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Amy Poehler Colin Quinn Howard Stern Saturday Night Live Sisters Tina Fey Video