Calling Tina Fey! Sarah Palin Calls Small Cars 'Rice Rockets'

The internet called for Tina Fey to reprise her iconic impression of Sarah Palin after the one-time vice presidential candidate used a derogatory term to refer to small cars that don't use a lot of gasoline.

Appearing on Fox News' Jesse Watters Primetime on Thursday to discuss rising gas prices amid the Ukraine invasion, Palin was talking about how gas prices don't just affect the price at the pump.

"And you're talking about gas prices. It costs about almost 140 bucks to fuel up my truck. And I know that the Jen Puh-Sakis—however you say her name—of the world are gonna say, 'Just don't drive a big truck then, Sarah,' because they don't understand that petroleum products are everywhere," Palin said.

"Every piece of plastic we touch, everything that is transported from here to there. Everything is petroleum-based and all they think about are, 'Well, you know, drive your little tiny rice rocket,' or something and don't spend so much on gas. They have no clue, Jesse, what's going on. And it's a very scary place for us to be as Americans," she continued.

sarah palin tina fey rice rocket
Sarah Palin, shown here holding a phone autographed to a fan as "I'm not Tina Fey" in 2008, appeared on Fox News Thursday and called smaller, fuel-efficient cars "rice rockets." Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty

"Rice rocket" is an outdated slang term for vehicles made in Japan, and considered by many to be racist. A similar term, "rice burner," was coined by Canadian troops in the Korean war, according to Far Eastern Tour: The Canadian Infantry in Korea, 1950-1953 by Brent Byron Watson, to refer to the Korean laborers who provided food, water and supplies. Watson writes that the laborers did not like this term, but accepted it as it replaced another term that used a racial slur.

In the 1970s, the term became used by fans of U.S. cars to disparage Japanese-made cars—which typically had better fuel economy—during the energy crisis, according to The New York Times. "Rice rocket" in particular originally referred to Japanese-made "superbikes" or racing motorcycles, though the term expanded as a general term for vehicles made in Asia. The term was even used uncritically in U.S. publications until 2002, according to the Oxford English Dictionary.

After the clip was posted to Twitter, a common refrain was people excited to see Fey's take on the new material.

"Great to see Tina Fey back," Billy Corben, director of Cocaine Cowboys: The Kings of Miami, tweeted.

"All I could think while watching this was that Tina Fey nailed it," user @GallopingMetal wrote.

"She's just begging for Tina Fey to come back to SNL isn't she..." wrote user Andrew Roslak.

User Colleen Matthews agreed that she "Thought I was watching SNL".

"This is all I see," Twitter user @mommytalks2much shared, alongside a GIF of Fey as Palin making finger guns.

User Tim Johnson used a Tina Fey GIF as well—but oddly one taken from 30 Rock rather than her Palin impression.

And user Kim Chernecky went the opposite route, with a GIF from Saturday Night Live, but not featuring Tina Fey.

Newsweek reached out to Tina Fey's representatives for comment.