Appearing in the Venetian’s Lipshtick stand-up series this weekend, comedy queen Jennifer Coolidge talks to us about being a woman in the industry and her advice for up-and-coming female comics.
From Stifler’s mom in American Pie to the lovelorn manicurist Paulette in Legally Blonde, Jennifer Coolidge has brought an irresistible blend of wit, vulnerability, and sex appeal to some of comedy’s most memorable female characters. This weekend, Coolidge takes the stage at the Venetian’s Sands Showroom as part of the hotel’s ongoing Lipshtick series, designed to spotlight the talents of both up-and-coming and established female comedians. Before her appearance, though, she answered a few questions for us about women in comedy, branching out into voiceover work, and her wildest Vegas memory.
You’ve performed at the Venetian as part of the Lipshtick lineup before, but what are some topics we can expect you to touch on this time around? JENNIFER COOLIDGE: Everything from strange Hollywood interactions to strange Hollywood jobs. I think I have more strange things happen to me in a day than most people. My neighbor always says to me, “Why do these things happen to you?” But I guess it makes good material. I’m still dating, believe it or not, so I have to talk about that. I have some real instructional sex advice that I should have listened to.
How does it feel to be a part of an all-female lineup? JC: I think it feels extra good because I liked all the other people they asked to do it; I feel like I’m in good company. I like that the Venetian thinks women are funny. I think anything to do with women is long overdue. But I’m glad the Venetian thought of it.
I think the common perception is that comedy, traditionally at least, has been something of a boys’ club, but that really seems to be changing. How do you think we can continue to make comedy a more female-friendly arena? JC: Well, I think Hollywood is finding out women are funny just by the box office numbers. Hollywood takes you seriously when you make them money. Bridesmaids made billions, The Heat did well. Trainwreck is also going to break records.
Speaking of Trainwreck, you recently guest-starred on Inside Amy Schumer as Amy’s over-the-top pageant mother, Cleopatricia Sherman. What was it like working with her, and how did you two first meet? JC: I think we first met down in New Orleans. I was having a New Year’s Eve party, and she came and we went out to dinner. Not a lot of people are fun in this world; she is a really fun person who is up for anything. She’s funny and really smart. She was very generous giving me that part.
What’s your best advice for younger women trying to break into comedy? JC: You are as good as you dare to be bad. It’s all about taking huge risks and not caring about what anybody thinks.
You’ve played so many amazing, memorable characters over the years—which one is your favorite? Mine is Sherri Ann Cabot in Best in Show. JC: Well, I might agree with you on that one, because [Best in Show director] Christopher Guest leaves it up to the actors to come up with everything. He gives you a rough outline, and he’s the most creative I’ve been allowed to be. And I love that movie.
You lent your voice to the animated film Hell and Back, which comes out this weekend, and you’re also part of the cast of DreamWorks’ B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherworldly Operations, set for a 2016 release. What is it about voice-over work that appeals to you? JC: I think any actress will answer the same as myself: You don’t have to look pretty, you just show up for work. Your teeth can be black, and your dress can be on upside down. The voice is all they care about. You can do voice-over jobs on the toilet if you want to.
What are you looking forward to the most right now, personally or professionally? JC: I’m looking forward to my death—I could use the rest.
What are some of your favorite things to do when you’re in Vegas? JC: Brunch at Bouchon, dinner at Bouchon, anything at Bouchon. I’m a fan of winning a huge payout, too.
Do you have any wild (or just plain weird) Vegas memories you’d be willing to share? JC: I did meet a handsome audience member once at the Venetian that I was hoping would take me home to Colorado with him—I’m still hoping.
Jennifer Coolidge appears at the Sands Showroom as part of the Venetian’s Lipshtick comedy series on Saturday, October 3, at 9:30 p.m.; find tickets here.