Philadelphia’s hottest ticket is the public library.
Comedian Tina Fey sold out the Free Library in rock-star fashion when tickets for tonight’s appearance went on sale months ago. In fact, the tickets lasted just a few hours.
Fey will be interviewed by Marty Moss-Coane, host of WHYY’s Radio Times, at the event.
The former head writer of Saturday Night Live and creator of 30 Rock may have influenced a presidential election with her satirical portrayal vice-presidential hopeful Sarah Palin. At the library she will be reading from her new book, Bossypants.
Tickets for the event were $15, but they were never available publicly. Library donors, members, and subscribers snapped up all tickets in advance.
The Library made more tickets available by opening two other rooms of the library for a simulcast video link. They also asked Moore College for access to its auditorium.
Within three hours all of the spill-over rooms were sold out. In total, 900 people got to be either near, or in the same building, or across the street from Tina Fey.
“I think the reason so many people are coming is the popularity of 30 Rock, the viral hit of the Palin interpretations, and she was on SNL for a long time and broke the glass ceiling in terms of being the first female comedy writer on that show,” said Andy Kahan, director of the library’s Author Event Series.
The library has had popular authors in the past. Fans packed the auitorium in 2006 for Barack Obama, lined up around the block for food writer Anthony Bourdain, and spilled into Moore College for novelist Dave Eggers. But nobody has ever sold out everything in less than a day.
“I’m dealing with it first by panicking,” said Kahan. “And then after I panic we’re going to talk to different people in the institution about putting in some kind of crowd control. That will take up most of the day.”
Tina Fey’s appearance at the Free Library is part of the Philadelphia Book Festival, which this year lasts for six days.