Fey used her stage time at Elle
's Women in Hollywood Awards Monday night to pay tribute to the late Saturday Night Live
star Jan Hooks, who passed away on Oct. 9
at age 57, and took a surprising dig at Deuce Bigelow: Male Gigolo
star Rob Schneider in the process.
Fey cast Hooks to play Jane Krakowski's mother on 30 Rock, and said that the comedian was underappreciated in Hollywood.
"We needed to cast Jane Krakowski's estranged Florida dirtbag mother, and I thought, My God, do you think we could get Jan Hooks?" Fey said, via Vanity Fair
. "And the answer was like, 'Yeah, you can get her.' She was living in Woodstock. And the phone was not ringing."
"It made me sad when she passed, and it made me mad at the time how available she was," Fey added. “Jan should have had a bigger career. Jan deserved a big movie career. Certainly as big as Rob Schneider's f*cking career. She was a bigger star on SNL."
Schneider was an SNL cast member from 1990 -1994, while Hooks was a cast member from 1986-1994. Schneider went on to land big-screen roles such as in the Deuce Bigalow films and The Hot Chick, co-starring Rachel McAdams, while Hooks found more success in television with guest roles on The Simpsons, 3rd Rock from the Sun and later, 30 Rock.
"She was actually a little shy about jumping back into the game," Fey recalled about Hooks' return to television. “And she came down and she was so funny. We did a scene where Jenna and her mother are reunited [and they] sing their duet that they used to sing in pageants when Jenna was a child. And it was a mother and a daughter singing to each other, 'Do that to me one more time . . . '"
"And it was so funny and the crew was so mesmerized," she shared. "It was all at once the most ridiculous and heartbreaking and beautiful [and] weird mother-daughter relationship. And I'm so proud of it."
ET was at the Elle
Women in Hollywood Awards Monday night, where Steve Carell revealed his Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
co-star Jennifer Garner's guilty pleasure