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Tina Fey as ‘Herman the German’

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She may look all sweet and spritely, but comedian Tina Fey also happens to possess a Teutonic will.

That’s why former "Saturday Night Live" colleague Colin Quinn calls her “Herman the German.”

“How did she go from ugly duckling into swan?” asks producer Steve Higgins. “It’s the Leni Riefenstahl in her. She has such a strong work ethic … It’s the superhuman, ‘This will happen and I am going to make this happen.’ It’s just sheer force of will.”

In fact, the arch wit who wrote Mean Girls and created her own show, “30 Rock,” actually does like (as a cautionary tale) the autobiography of Riefenstahl, Hitler’s favorite filmmaker and a propagandist for the Nazis whose work was extra evil precisely because it was so brilliant.

“Note to self,” Fey says. “Think through the invite from the leader of your country.”

Lesson: Stiffen your spine. Fey is one of  the nation’s top comedians not only because she’s witheringly funny but also because she’s a taskmistress and a maker and keeper of rules.

“She never looks at the world and says, ‘Give me this,’” according to her manager, David Miner. She “rolls up her sleeves.”

— Adapted from “What Tina Wants,” Maureen Dowd, Vanity Fair.

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