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Regally Blonde

Jennifer Coolidge bites the hand that feeds in a theatrical-style stand-up comedy act

Character comedienne Jennifer Coolidge, best known as “Stiffler’s Mom” in the American Pie movies, jetted into Cleveland recently and performed at Hilarities, a large downtown comedy club.

With her show, Coolidge revealed that there is more to her than the movie characters she’s known for, especially with Second City and Christopher Guest films on her resume.

Coolidge’s act was not the typical stand-up performance. It was a lot more theatrical, something like a one-woman comedy show, with a little bit of personal material mixed with a little bit of character showcase. She delivered a self-aware take on being in Hollywood and the movies split into these two parts.

Coolidge teased the audience with conceptual comedy bits where she placed herself in roles in movies she wasn’t actually in such as “Sophie’s Choice,” as a nasty German shopgirl who gives up the heroine, with an exaggerated German accent. These were the character showcase parts of the movie industry parody nature of her stand-up act.

The other, more autobiographical portion of Coolidge’s performance drew on her casting woes -- that she only was successful because she would go up for the parts no one else wanted, like thankless best friend roles. And with Hollywood becoming ever more competitive, even those are going to supermodels, a fact Coolidge mocked with a pouty impression of Giselle Bundchen, saying, “I can be weird too. I might tie my swimsuit to the side like this, that’s weird.”

Aside from her own experience, Coolidge happily delved into some showbiz dish to boot -- like a take on why Penelope Cruz is so successful with men -- because she tells them what they want to hear.

Coolidge is a thoroughly entertaining presence, and it’s kind of surprising that she hasn’t brought this performance to even bigger cities yet, or perhaps a cable special.




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