Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy.
Just when you start to think someone as brilliant and as positive a role model as Tina Fey can do no wrong, this happens:
The video is cringeworthy from the moment you press play.
First, there’s the not-so-tiny issue of the game itself: “LaTina Fey,” in which a white celebrity tries to name 20 Latino performers in under a minute. Whether the joke is that there aren’t that many Latino perfomers in show biz or that no white person can be expected to name at least 20 of them, I’m not sure. But I am sure that having a happy-go-lucky white guy host this little quiz only makes matters worse.
Plus Tina doesn’t get off to the best of starts by naming “the woman from Jane the Virgin,” whom most people refer to by her actual name (which she has), Gina Rodriguez. She then names Eva Longoria (one point for Fey) and Lou Diamond Philips, an actor who, though his Philipino heritage may make him Latino-esque, is decidedly not Latino.
The naming lurches forward: Danny Trejo (point, Fey); Freddy Prinze, both junior and senior (a cop out); J-Lo (of course); Marc Anthony (naturally); “the guy that’s in Congress” (an answer which the host accepts); “the really handsome guy who was on Law & Order” (I’m sure Jimmy Smits is flattered, Tina, even if you were willing to accept his name was Benjamin Bratt); Lin-Manuel Miranda (10 points for Fey); Daphne Rubin-Vega (someone’s on fire)…
In the end, Fey is only able to actually name eight Latinos — though, to her credit, she avoided naming America’s token Latina (you know the one). Afterward she produces another name, Mark Cuban, who is actually Russian.
Close, but no cigar.
Host Billy Eichner reminds Tina she could’ve named Penélope Cruz (Spanish, not Latina), Antonio Banderas (Spanish, not Latino) and Javier Bardem (dude seriously needs a dictionary and a map). By the time Fey manages to mention Salma Hayek, the damage has already been done.
As a consolation, Tina admits to being “very, very flawed,” so I guess all is forgiven. After all it was a tough quiz, and no one can be expected to name people whom the entertainment industry has been actively ignoring for decades.
Should Fey like to bone up on her Latinos, however, might I suggest she take a look at the series Latino Rebels has been publishing since the start of Hispandering Heritage Month, profiling one Latino or Latina figure each day.
The thing is our list doesn’t include any performers. We thought that might be too easy.
Hector Luis Alamo is a Chicago-based writer and the deputy editor at Latino Rebels. You can connect with him @HectorLuisAlamo.