Jennifer Coolidge is the moment. The White Lotus star is seeing a resurgence in her popularity, and the world couldn’t be happier. She gave a spectacular performance in HBO’s dark comedy-drama anthology television series and has bagged multiple awards, including an Emmy and a Golden Globe, for her supporting role as the unique character of Tanya McQuoid, a glamorous heiress who is grieving the loss of her abusive mother.
Here are 8 facts about one of the world’s most uniquely funny comedians.
She almost said no to her role in The White Lotus
The pandemic took us all by surprise and forced us to be locked inside our homes for an indefinite time, and Coolidge was no different. With devastating developments taking place across the world, people losing their lives, and being essentially helpless, it took a toll on the actress’ mental and physical health. In an interview, she talked about how she was distracting herself by overeating all day and was not ready to face the camera yet.
She said, ”I’d been gorging and self-destructing at home for months, eating pizza all day. There was no way I wanted to be on film unless they shot me from the neck up. I’m sort of vain, so there was no way.” The project for The White Lotus took her by surprise, and she was on the verge of refusing it. But her friend and the show’s creator, Mike White, convinced her to go for it. As we know now, The White Lotus has been hailed as one of Coolidge’s best performances to date.
She puked a lot while filming for The White Lotus
Director Mike White insisted the boat scenes be filmed on location with a real boat, despite Coolidge’s tendency for sea sickness. Coolidge said she threw up so many times while filming those scenes that, “none of the other cast members would look me in the eye anymore”
She’s pretty tired of her most famous line
Coolidge shared that the line she is most tired of hearing has to be “It makes me want a hot dog real bad,” from Legally Blonde 2. She joked, “All day long and all night, just, so many people like say it on the plane for f*cks sake. I just have to go with it and go ‘Oh my God! You sound just like me when you say that!’”
She once got a thunderous applause for not saying anything at all
Christopher Guest, the director of A Mighty Wind, once talked about an anecdote while promoting the film, where Bob Balaban and Coolidge walked onto the stage and gazed at one another. Guest said, “It was the biggest applause I’ve ever heard. It was striking because Bob is quite small and Jennifer is a tall woman. They didn’t have to say a word — in that silence of him looking up at her, everything that they had done together was put into that moment where no one had to say anything. And it just kept building. It was extraordinary and incredibly fun to see that reaction based on the power of not saying something.”
She used to pose as Earnest Hemingway’s daughter to get into clubs
Jennifer Coolidge liked to party and often found herself at party hotspots in New York, like Area and Limelight. Being premiere clubs for uber-exclusive personalities and celebrities, they were quite selective in who they allowed inside, but Coolidge had a sly trick up her sleeve to get into these establishments. She used to pretend to be one of the daughters of Ernest Hemingway, albeit the lesser known and fictitious Muffin Hemingway. She even got thrown out of a club once because of her behaviour and was asked never to return. But well, that ban was for Muffin and not Jennifer.
Coolidge expanded on this story and revealed, “Yeah, Muffin – the Hemingway daughter who wasn’t as well known as Mariel and Margaux. I had these thick black eyebrows and shoulder-length blond hair, so I looked the part. I’d turn up to New York clubs in high heels and a short dress and tell them I was Muffin Hemingway. You wouldn’t believe how well it worked. I got a lot of mileage out of that. Until I got kicked out of a few clubs, then it wasn’t so flattering for poor Muffin.”
She got her first big break on Seinfeld
You may remember seeing Coolidge’s face on the Seinfeld episode, ‘The Masseuse’ where she played Jodi, the masseuse who didn’t like working overtime for Jerry. Sadly, while she was filming the episode, her late mother was fighting pancreatic cancer. Coolidge says one of her mother’s last words was how proud she was that she had made it onto TV.
Coolidge began her career with improv and stand up comedy
Coolidge has earned a reputation in the industry as a multihyphenate with an impeccable sense of humour and an undeniable appeal. While she does have an innate talent for it, she has also worked hard on her comic timing. In the years leading to her big break on screen, Coolidge found herself doing improv comedy with Gotham City Improv in New York. She also worked as a waitress at Canastels in New York alongside Sandra Bullock at the time.
After her stint with the Gotham City Improv, she got into The Groundlings, a legendary improv group based out of Los Angeles, where she worked with the likes of Will Ferrell, Chris Parnell, Chris Kattan, and Cheri Oteri. After being spotted by a casting agent seated in the audience, she landed her first real TV gig as a guest role in the hit series Seinfeld.
Coolidge revived her career in live standup later in her career during the 2010s and delivered performances across the country because she felt bored with her stint in Hollywood and was looking to switch things up for a while there.
She once lived in a nursing home
The film industry is an infamously hard nut to crack, and aspiring actors generally need to spend years looking for their break before making it big in the industry, and Coolidge was no different. At 21, the 2 Broke Girls star first moved to Los Angeles for acting school. In true ‘broke girl’ fashion, she found herself an interesting accommodation, to say the least. The actress rented a room in a nursing home and shared it with another aspiring actor during her first time in Los Angeles to save some bucks and pursue her dreams.