It's the question dominating the political scene: When will Tina Fey be back on ''Saturday Night Live''?
''I don't know,'' Fey said.
Over coffee Tuesday during a rare morning off from her NBC sitcom, ''30 Rock,'' Fey noted that ''SNL'' will be on live this Saturday, as well as airing a 8:30 p.m. Thursday edition, but as to whether she will take part in either broadcast, ''I haven't heard.'' (A spokesman for the NBC late-night comedy show echoed her comments.)
The former ''SNL'' cast member/head writer thus far has been drafted for three appearances as Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. The sketches were a huge hit for the show and Fey alike.
''It's been really fun,'' she said, ''and really freeing since I don't actually work there anymore.''
But it's put an extra burden on her already heavy workload at ''30 Rock,'' where she's an executive producer and writer as well as star.
''Thankfully, the 'SNL' schedule is the opposite of the '30 Rock' schedule, so I can go to 'SNL' around 10:30 Friday night and rehearse,'' she said, explaining that the Palin pieces were written by current ''SNL'' head writer Seth Meyers. ''Then on Saturday, I go in around 4 o'clock.''
For her most recent appearance (on Oct. 4) ''I had a '30 Rock' writer come for the dress rehearsal. I did my sketch, worked on the '30 Rock' outline with the writer, then did the live show.
''It's not as bad as it sounds,'' Fey added with a laugh. ''But it does catch up with you by Sunday.''
Fey hopes the attention drawn to her Palin impersonation will bring more viewers to ''30 Rock,'' which begins its third season Oct. 30.
''When people say, 'Oh, I love you on your show,' I say, '''Saturday Night Live'' isn't my show. But there's another show that will be back on soon, and it's called ''30 Rock.'''
''I should go to Kinko's and make some fliers,'' she cracked.
Fey believes her portrayal of the Alaska governor has ''been responsible and really pretty gentle.''
As demand builds for another Palin spoof, Fey said: ''I don't know how much more I should do or could do, so I'm taking it week by week.
''It's getting large, it's getting too large, the question 'Are you gonna show up? Are you gonna do it?'
''I don't know,'' Fey said. ''I've got a lot of '30 Rock' work to do!''