Debbie Reinecke had never won a thing in her life. But one day while checking her XFINITY email account, the 57-year-old came across Comcast’s XFINITY Endless Fun Sweepstakes, offering an opportunity for a walk-on role on one of her favorite shows, “30 Rock.” Reinecke doesn’t quite recall hitting “enter,” but what she does remember is finding out she won. The next thing she knew she was on the “30 Rock” set in New York and having, as she told us, “the most wonderful experience of my life.”
Tonight, Reinecke’s episode of “30 Rock” airs. We caught up with the Jackson, Michigan resident to find out the details of her appearance and what it was like meeting the “magnificent” Tina Fey.
What kind of primping and prepping did you do before you left for New York? Hair? Nails?
Basic stuff. I don’t want to tell you all the stuff that I did because you’ll be like, Oh God, I never want to get old. I don’t get the nails done and all that stuff. I’m a nurse and I do lots of gardening and sewing, so my nails are short. I am almost 58, though, and hair grows in places that you don’t want it – like on your face. So I did that threading thing and I really liked it. I’m going to do it again. It was really cool.
What was going through your mind the first time you walked into 30 Rockefeller Center? Were you nervous?
Well, we were having such a good time because my oldest son was never in New York City before. Well, he was in New York City once when he was 2, but he’d never remember it. And he’s 36 now, so, we had such a good time and such a wonderful trip. We were staying at the Carlton on Madison Avenue and we were being escorted around with chauffeurs and stuff like that so it was kind of overwhelming. We were having so much fun I don’t really even think I had the time to be nervous. I wasn’t thinking about it because I was so excited about getting to meet Tina [Fey] and Tracy [Morgan] and all those people. So I don’t really even remember being nervous.
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But you definitely remember being excited.
Oh – I don’t think I stopped smiling for about a week after we got back. I think I smiled from about the time we left Detroit until about a week after we got back. I probably smiled in my sleep.
You mentioned Tina and Tracy. Were they the two stars you were most looking forward to meeting?
I think everybody, but yeah – Tina, because I think she’s absolutely magnificent. And Tracy, too. I didn’t get a chance to meet Alec [Baldwin] because he wasn’t there the two days we were shooting.
What was your impression of Tina? Did you get to spend some time together?
Well, she was really, really personable and very friendly. When I was first introduced to her she asked where I was from and when I told her Michigan, she said, “Oh, so you’re used to the cold weather!” We’d been outside taping for like four or five hours and it was cold. So I said, “No, Tina. We’re smart in Michigan. We go inside to get out of the cold.” She laughed at that.
How was Tracy?
He was fabulous. He’s my sugar daddy now. I said, “I know you have a fiancee and she’s beautiful, and I know I’m older…” and he said, “Old doesn’t matter!” And he gave me a hug and kiss, so I was like, “Cool!”
Set up your actual scene.
It’s a leap day episode. It’s their fake holiday that they made up for leap day. I was wearing this gray scarf and they had me carry this silly little yellow shopping bag with a blue sparkly flower on it. I’m actually standing with one of the production assistants and his wife because they wanted them in the episode because they were married on a leap day. And I’m right behind Tina Fey in front of the NBC Store at 30 Rock Plaza.
Catch Up on the Latest Episode of “30 Rock”:
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Did you get to keep any of your wardrobe or any other mementos?
No. I gave everything back because it was all from wardrobe. I did keep the Kleenex that was in the bag, though. Now it’s on my nightstand and I call it my “30 Rock Kleenex.” I was trying to get them to give me a “30 Rock” director’s chair. I just want Tina to sit in it and rub around a little bit in it, then Tracy can sit in it and then Judah [Friedlander] and Jane [Krakowski] can sit in it and then they can send it to me so I can sit and watch “30 Rock” in it, then fold it up and put it away so nobody else can sit in it.
You were outside for four hours – so how many takes did you have to do to shoot the scene?
Boy, I’m not really sure. It was probably, I’ll betcha, 8, 9, 10 or something like that.
Do you have any speaking lines?
No. I’m actually talking to the production assistant and his wife. We’re talking about what we’re going to do next, like we’ve been touring. It was really interesting. They work really hard. I’m not sure I’d want to do that over and over again every day.
Do you think you nailed it?
I don’t know. I hope so! I hope I did a good job!
What was the best thing you ate on set?
[Laughs]. That was awesome. I hadn’t had a chance to meet Jane yet, and she came walking out and she was walking up and down. And I said, “Oh, so that’s how you stay so thin?” And she just walked past [the craft service table], and she said, “Yep. Lots of walking past.” The best thing I had was dark chocolate covered blueberries. They were awesome. So then we made some for Super Bowl Sunday [at home].
How do you plan on watching the episode? Will you have a special viewing party?
I’ll probably be out at my oldest son’s house. My brother is going to be there and my grandkids and my daughter in law. And maybe my younger son and his girl and maybe my baby granddaughter. Probably just family.
Are you going to be DVR-ing the episode at home too?
No doubt! Absolutely!
How do you typically watch television? On TV? On the computer? Do you use the Xfinity App?
Oh yeah. But I typically just watch on TV because I’m pretty busy. I’m also getting ready to start a business and I actually hired my first person yesterday, so hopefully I’ll be able to get Tina Fey to publicize my line. I haven’t suggested anything yet, but maybe if I send her a pair she’ll wear them.
What are you making? Is it earrings?
It’s…well, okay. I don’t want to tell everybody! It’s called KMA Jeans. It stands for Kiss My Ass, okay? Have you ever wanted to tell anybody that? Well now you don’t have to! We’ve already designed three different lips that go on the back right pocket. You can have them in any color and have the topstitching in any color. I’m going to open a manufacturing business in Jackson, Michigan where I live and employ some people.
Now that you’ve done this, what’s the next show you want to go on?
I want to go back on “30 Rock.” I don’t want to go back on any other show.
That’s it? You’re a loyalist?
Actually, I’ve written myself into the show. My name is Coma Cast – get it? I am a nurse and I was born to a woman who was in a coma, that’s why my name is Coma Cast. And I’m going to take care of Tracy and his diabetes – even though that’s not a part of the show – and you know, Tina and her weird relationship with her digestive system. I think it could be fun.
Is there anything else out of this experience that was really memorable for you?
Everything. The whole thing. The whole experience was fabulous. Like I’ve told so many people that have asked me about it, you can’t buy a trip like that. There’s no way. I don’t even know how to thank Comcast enough. We just had such a wonderful time there. Every single bit of it.