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.