At the Googleplex last week, Tina Fey and Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt talked humor.
The only real difference between Fey and Schmidt is that people generally know when Fey is being funny whereasto discern when Schmidt is being funny or merely a bit disturbing.
Fey was there to promote her new book, "Bossypants," while Googlies were there to show that they are far cooler than they have been given credit for. First, it wasand now Fey.
The comedian offered the audience stimulating observations, such as that Macedonia is "still a country." Meanwhile, Fey suggested that the best way to model is to look as if you have just taken a Benadryl.
Fey talked at some length about what it was like to suddenly become Sarah Palin, something Palin herself had to come to terms with. If Palin had chosen contacts rather than glasses 10 years ago, Fey said, she (Fey) wouldn't be where she is today.
And then she got on to technology.
"30 Rock," noted Fey, is one of the last TV shows that is shot on film, rather than HD cameras.
Schmidt interjected that Google is working on lots of interesting ways with which Fey could keep track of her 5-year-old daughter.
A Googlie asked if Schmidt could get a guest slot on "30 Rock." Fey was merciless (and perhaps literal) in suggesting that he was the sort of guest who would hurt the ratings. As for googling herself, Fey demurred. "Terrible, terrible things come up," she said.
Then came the big one. What gadgets does Fey employ? The answer: an iPhone and an iPad.
This didn't go down well with all the Googlies. There were boos and what seemed like a hiss or two. Indeed, Schmidt had to remind his disgruntled masses: "Come on guys, we have a lot of Google services on these products."
But, of course. And surely not every Google employee is so desperately committed to avoiding Apple products, in eager anticipation of the perfectly appropriate Motorola Xoom, for example.
Fey then explained she used things called "computers" in order to write scripts, so Schmidt offered to equip her better in order to regain her cool--or at least pick up some geek credentials.
Oddly, though, no one asked her whether her "computers" were Macs or PCs. And no one asked her why she had chosen an iPhone and iPad, which might have been fun.
Indeed, the Googlies became less interested in gadgets-based debates. Instead they showed themselves to be passionate, incredibly detailed fans of Fey's work.
One Google employee then stood up and said something extremely profound: "I represent the human side of the employees who work here, so probably not the Harvard side."
You see, Googlies do have a sense of humor. They just need to be given the right stage.