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On Monday night at the Museum of the Moving Image’s Salute to Alec Baldwin, a projector flashed stills from the actor’s filmography on a large screen at the back of the house at Cipriani 42nd Street.
Over the past five years, Baldwin has so firmly ingrained himself in viewers’ imaginations as Jack Donaghy, that send-up of all things Corporate America, on “30 Rock,” that it was a bit jarring to remember he once acted in roles that didn’t require suits. Yet there he was in a full beard in “The Edge,” a (could it really be?) T-shirt collar in “The Last Shot,” and, finally, dressed as an elf in an undated “Saturday Night Live” sketch. As the banquet hall began to fill, the show’s producer, Lorne Michaels, stood between tables reviewing his notes.
“There’s a lot of great moments, you know,” when asked to pick his favorite sketch among Baldwin’s 15 hosting spots. “I particularly liked he and Adam Sandler when he was a scout master. I mean, he’s a genius at what we do and there’s only one other person that’s been as often and that’s Steve Martin, and he’s a trained professional.”
Baldwin, in black tie, entered the dining room a little while later. So what did he think of the lifetime achievement package on the screen?
“You’re like Jesus, please don’t,” the actor said turning back to look at the display, which by then was showing renderings of the museum’s recent ultramodern expansion. “Cool it with all the old photos. Right?”
And his favorite “Saturday Night Live” moment?
“I don’t think I could pick just one,” he said. “Sometimes it’s like really weird sketches that are not the most well known. Like we did one that was a take off on Cyrano de Bergerac and Tim Meadows played Cyrano. You should look that one up.”
Later on, Tina Fey recalled her favorite pre-“30 Rock” Baldwin roles.
“Weirdly, I want to say ‘Beetlejuice’ because I feel like it’s the first time I saw him,” Fey said. “I mostly was like: ‘Sweet Jesus that guy is handsome.’”