Viewers of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Thursday (Apr. 19) didn’t have to purchase theater tickets to hear a song from the new Broadway musical Mean Girls. Guest Tina Fey — who wrote the play as well as its 2004 movie predecessor — introduced Barrett Wilbert Weed (who plays Janis Sarkisian in the show) for a performance of “I’d Rather Be Me.”
“This song comes at a pivotal moment in act two, when everyone at school has basically lost their minds,” Fey explained to the audience before the camera panned to Weed standing confidently onstage, sporting a rocker-chic ensemble that highlighted the feminine alter ego to her tomboy character. Weed delivered the bold, soaring notes effortlessly, defiantly flashing her middle fingers when the lyrics called for it. “I’d rather be me than be with you,” she sang boldly, proving Fey’s earlier description of the “pivotal moment.” Host and old Fey pal Fallon was elated with the performance, gesturing to the entire audience to give Weed a standing ovation.
Earlier in the episode, Fey discussed rumors that had recently surfaced regarding a reboot of her popular NBC sitcom, 30 Rock, which ran from 2006 to 2013.
“So we were on the red carpet for the Broadway opening, and someone was like ‘Would you guys ever do a 30 Rock reboot? And I was like ‘maaaaybeeee,'” Fey admitted. “So a little bit of that is on me, because I must be so thirsty for Internet attention.”
Although the rumors might be empty, Fey did detail how she wold hypothetically go about rebooting the series, which depicts the behind-the-scenes shenanigans on a Saturday Night Live-like variety show.
“We would never do a straight reboot, because that would be too easy, so we’re trying to think of a way to do something,” Fey explained. “Should we do, like, a prequel that’s like Muppet babies? Or set in a dystopian future where there’s a lot of robot sex?”
The former SNL writer then assured Fallon: “If we get anything together, I promise you will be the first to know.” Fey also got a taste of just how impactful her 30 Rock endeavors were for a few lucky women. A clip was shown of superfans each proclaiming their admiration and love for Fey to a promotional Mean Girls poster. Little did any of them know Fey herself was hiding and listening before she emerged to surprise each fan, some of them breaking into tears upon meeting their idol.
“I cannot tell you how much it meant for this quirky, weird girl in high school to look up to you,” one fan told Fey through her happy tears. Then, back onstage in front of the audience, Fallon told Fey there was one more person who wanted to give a heartfelt message.
“You made your own dreams come true, and most importantly, even now, you’re making other people feel like they can do the same thing,” the choked-up host said in part during his speech.
Mean Girls is now open on Broadway. Watch Weed’s moving performance and Fey’s interview below.