On why 30 Rock makes you feel smart

30 Rock makes you feel smart because in order to find it funny you must enjoy thinking through several layers (and thus by definition we are talking "meta-layers") of meaning.

For example, when Jack Donaghey exclaims: "Good god, Devon's gay.  He's more powerful than I thought!" we laugh because its smart of us to laugh.  I laugh because of how an absurd situation is overcome through wit.  The absurd situation here is the discovery that someone you know very well is gay.  Of course, many would consider it natural to exclaim "Good god" after finding out such a piece of information.  For these people the exclamation is typically warranted by the fact that being gay is somehow wrong, odd, taboo, a piece of juicy gossip, etc. It is for precisely this demographic that the joke is not intended.  The people who find it funny are those who would never actually exclaim "Good god" upon finding out someone is gay.  This demographic smacks its forehead when someone treats coming out like its something to be gossiped about or derided.  Those of us who find the joke funny enjoy the full line because it makes light of such a backward reaction (the "Good god!"part) by making fun of it with the exact opposite of its typical motive.  "He's even more powerful than I thought" is beautifully witty because it subtly insults a certain portion of the population by portraying its perfect ideological nemesis (i.e. one who believes that being gay is a big deal because it is somehow advantageous, cool, powerful, etc.) as equally absurd for basically the same reason (that it is absurd to think that one's sexual orientation is worth considering in terms of "better" or "worse" off). 

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