Is that really Dolly Parton in Girls5eva? No, it's Tina Fey!

Netflix's "Girls5eva" Season 3 Premiere
Netflix's "Girls5eva" Season 3 Premiere / Dimitrios Kambouris/GettyImages

We have all known and loved Tina Fey for years thanks to her roles in Saturday Night Live, Baby Mama, 30 Rock, and more hilarious movies and shows. But a cameo appearance in the musical comedy satire series Girls5eva found Fey in a role we might not have ever expected from her: country music icon Dolly Parton!

Although the comedy series from creator Meredith Scardino was originally a Peacock original, Netflix swooped in to save the show from cancellation and produce the current third season. Now that all three seasons have become available on Netflix as of March 2024, viewers are binge-watching every hilarious season and wondering what's behind some of its funniest gags.

Just as she had with series like Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Great News, Fey executive produces Girls5eva and didn't have a key role onscreen. She would later turn up in small roles in the aforementioned shows, and that's exactly what she did in the first season of Girls5eva. Rather than playing a straight-forward character, she appears as Dolly Parton in episode 4, "Carma."

As Dawn (Sara Bareilles) struggles with songwriting, she defeatedly admits, "I'm not Dolly Parton," which welcomes Parton as a figment of Dawn's imagination. Wearing an extra tall blonde with with bangs and a sequined white blazer and matching pants, Fey's Parton arrives to help inspire Dawn to get out of her head and write a song from the heart.

How Tina Fey's Dolly Parton impression happened

While appearing on The Tonight Show to promote Girls5eva back in May 2021, Fey shared with friend and former SNL costar Jimmy Fallon the origins of her Dolly Parton impersonation. As she explained it, the show's team had been contacting Parton to make an appearance in the episode, but as it got down to the wire, they needed to call in a stand-in for the country star. Enter Fey!

Even though The Tonight Show audience applauded a photo of Fey as Parton that Fallon held up, she joked not to clap for it through laughter. She went on to explain that "no one asked" for her step into Parton's iconic heels and blonde hair, but she was "around," available, and COVID-tested as the series filmed during the pandemic.

"Here's what happened. Remember a long time ago when I looked a lot like Sarah Palin and everyone was like, 'You should play Sarah Palin'? This is the opposite of that. No one asked for this. [...] And then it was like, the shoot's the day after tomorrow and it was literally like who's around, who's already COVID-tested and in the system? And it was me."

She further joked that that's how she received most of her acting jobs, by being the answer to the question, "Who's around?" Of course, we know that not to be true as she's a very talented performer who always brings the laughs. Watch Fey explain the bit in the video below!

To hone her Dolly Parton impression, Fey said she watched clips of the country star as well as her Christmas movie, which could be Dolly Parton's Christmas on the Square. She also shared her method for finding Dolly's signature voice before every take and said that her impression would constantly make Bareilles laugh on set.

Unfortunately, Fey hasn't made any additional appearances on screen in either Girls5eva season 2 and 3. Sure, she said no one asked for her Dolly Parton impression, but I don't know about you. I'd like to see it again in a future episode should Netflix renew the comedy for a fourth season. She could play even play another music icon in Dawn's imagination. Fey will soon be hard at work starring in her own Netflix series, but fingers crossed she could make the time for another cameo!


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