Oprah: Many people have said that you had a huge impact on the campaign.
Tina: When humor works, it works because it's clarifying what people already feel. It has to come from someplace real. You don't just decide to destroy a person by making up stuff, and no one at SNL is writing to go after someone. Governor Palin is a dynamic speaker in a prepared setting, and she was carefully packaged at the Republican National Convention. Because she didn't do many interviews during the campaign, SNL was the first to poke a hole in that package.
Oprah: Were you nervous about meeting her when she came on the show in October?
Tina: A little. But I knew I hadn't done anything I had to be embarrassed about.
Oprah: How did the sudden celebrity make you feel?
Tina: Weird and vulnerable, especially since it's linked to politics. I don't want some crazy person trying to get to me.
Oprah: Have people been angry when they've approached you?
Tina: Nobody was angry the first week—not even my Republican parents.
Oprah: I love that your parents are Republicans.
Tina: Everyone's parents are Republicans! Week one, they loved it; week two, they loved it; week three, they loved it—but by week four? My dad was like, "Enough already!" I told him it was just that Governor Palin was the most fun to play. For a long time, Bill Clinton was the most fun, but in this election Sarah Palin was.
Oprah: But now you've laid the character to rest.
Tina: I saw her on TV the other day, and I found myself thinking, "How's she saying that—oh, I don't have to worry about it anymore!" You know, in the beginning, it was this special performance I did. But then it turned into a Flowers for Algernon thing: Every time I performed, I felt like it wasn't as good as the time before. It was as if I was progressively forgetting how to do it. So even if McCain and Palin had won, I would have had to stop. I'm done.
Oprah: They say you should never say never.
Tina: Well, if I need a gig in three or four years...