This evening, courtesy of Comedy Central and the folks from Qype, I was invited along to the Jetlag bar and restaurant on Cleveland Street in central London to see a preview of the first episode of season 4 of 30 Rock, which debuts tonight.
I’ve caught a couple of episodes of 30 Rock in the past, and its a very well crafted comedy. Set in a TV station, it features the lives of Liz Lemon (Tina Fey, notorious for her Sarah Palin impressions), a producer, Jack Donaghy (a very dry Alec Baldwin) as the station’s executive, and Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan) as a flaky actor who is the star of the station’s hit variety show. Along with a whole host of familiar faces that make up the rest of the ensemble cast, and frequent appearances by various guest stars (keep an eye out for Christoper Walken, James Franco and Jon Bon Jovi this season), 30 Rock is genuine laugh-a-minute material. It’s pretty light-hearted and gentle too – you won’t see any of the uncomfortable scenes that you might get in Will & Grace or Ugly Betty for example. Think Frasier for the 21st Century, and you’ll have a good idea about the overall tone. The season airs on Comedy Central on Monday evenings at 10pm from tonight.
I should mention our venue for the evening which was the Jetlag Bar & Restaurant. I have friends who work nearby and I’ve seen this place go through various incarnations, but the current owners think they have the formula right this time, and it was certainly busy on the ground floor. We were directed down to the basement Cinema Lounge, which has a huge screen and a very good sound system, where we sat to watch 30 Rock a few hours before it aired tonight. Along with a few free drinks we also got to sample some typical American fare, including chilli dogs and huge doughnuts, which fits with the food theme that they have here. The regular menu for the Jetlag consists of ‘street food‘ from around the world, so you’ll see gyoza (Japanese dumplings) alongside harissa fish cakes from Morroco and Mexican burritos for example, so there’s definitely something for everyone. They have a vast cocktail menu too, which also has an ‘around the world‘ theme, with concoctions like ‘Ipanema Thong’, ‘Big Yin’ and ‘Ladyboy’ – I’ll let you take a stab at which countries they represent… The Lounge also plays host to live football and private events, and it will certainly be on my itinerary of places to watch the action during the 2010 World Cup, given what I’ve seen of the place – I’m impressed.
Last but not least, our Qype hosts were fantastic as usual, and it is definitely the site to go to when you’re in an unfamiliar part of town and looking for a decent place to eat, drink or even dance, and as guests of Comedy Central we also left with a very special gift at the end of the evening – the boxed set of season 3 of 30 Rock on DVD – fantastic!