“I Want To Go To There!”

I just want to say that last night’s 30 Rock offered my favourite new catchphrase in many moons (and several suns): when offered the chance to go to a place that features some sort of yummy treat, Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) replies: “I want to go to there!” It doesn’t work on paper without Fey’s robotic delivery, like she’s so carried away by the thought of free eats that she can’t control her choice of words, but trust me, it was the best part of a very good episode.

Don’t worry, I won’t over-analyze what makes the line funny; I’ll just say that one of the great joys of comedy is that the difference between a hilarious line and a very commonplace line can be just one two-letter word. (“I want to go there” — not funny. “I want to go to there” — funny, and not only that, but funny for about three reasons at once.) It’s like that line from Casablanca, “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here.” Nobody would remember that line if Claude Rains had said “shocked” only once. In comedy writing, monosyllables are your friend.

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