Jackie Hoffman turns kvetching into an art form
On March 9, comedienne Jackie Hoffman played to a packed house at Baruch College as part of its Solo in the City series, a month-long tribute to Jewish female performers. Hoffman, primarily known to gay audiences for her roles in the musical Xanadu, the lesbian film Kissing Jessica Stein and the television show The New Normal, is one of the most hilarious comics working today and this show only served to further reinforce that reputation.
One of the things that makes Hoffman so funny is that she doesn’t care who she offends. She pokes fun at everyone from too-precocious child actors to gay parents (just as bad as straight parents, in her opinion) to mass murderers (she suggests they kill people who annoy her). She tells the kind of jokes you have to think about. (“They say Times Square is getting less seedy, but I see plenty of guys out there in Elmo costumes.”) And a huge part of her schtick comes from the fact that she doesn’t think she’s been recognized enough for her talents. (She complains she isn’t more prominently featured on The New Normal because unlike a certain co-star of hers she didn’t get famous dancing on a stripper pole for weed money.) As this was a Jewish-themed show, she took the opportunity to get angry at Jewish people who convert to Buddhism (“If Judaism is good enough for Madonna, then it’s good enough for you!”), and she also envisioned the very proper Downton Abbey with an all-Jewish cast.
And sure, there were a few false steps along the way—her song “Get to the Point” about couples who argue was a little weak and clichéd—but overall this was a great evening that was almost non-stop hilarity from beginning to end. The series, which has also featured the talents of Sandra Bernhard and Tovah Feldshuh, runs until the end of March with queer talents Judy Gold and Rachael Sage coming soon, so don’t miss it. For more information, go to baruch.cuny.edu/bpac.