Jennifer Coolidge has played unforgettable roles in movies such as American Pie, Legally Blonde and Best in Show. She is appearing during Dinah Shore Week and spoke to Windy City Times.
Windy City Times: Hi, Jennifer. With all these great roles, did you go to school for acting?
Jennifer Coolidge: I did. I went to Emerson College briefly. Then I went to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. I ended up going to The Groundlings, which I think is the best move that I made.
WCT: The Groundlings helped with improvisation, correct?
Jennifer Coolidge: Yeah. My timing was sort of great. I was there when Lisa Kudrow, Kathy Griffin, Will Ferrell, Sherry O' Terry, and Chris Kattan were there. The list was pretty long. Once you are in shows there some of the people in the audience can get you jobs. I ended up getting Seinfeld.
WCT: Did you always have a thing for comedy?
Jennifer Coolidge: No, I was trying to be a dramatic actress and it really wasn't working out. A friend of mine told me to switch. He even made me go to an audition in New York. It was one of those moments that I thought I really owe that guy because he certainly put me in the right direction.
WCT: How did you get involved with Christopher Guest?
Jennifer Coolidge: He came to a show at the Groundlings. I was playing an old lady in the show. Somehow I got to go have a meeting with him. He was looking for people for Best in Show. It didn't feel like the meeting went very well. Then he called me up a few weeks later and asked if I would be interested in doing my movie. How did I get that? It must have been a gut feeling on his part because it certainly wasn't anything I did to impress him at the meeting.
WCT: You and Jane Lynch were so funny in that movie!
Jennifer Coolidge: We all love Jane. She is doing well with Glee and having a great year. It is the ultimate flattery when you are offered a part and you don't have to audition. I wish that were every job. I hate auditioning.
WCT: Did you see Legally Blonde the Musical?
Jennifer Coolidge: No, I never did. I always thought it was weird to not be invited to the opening on Broadway. It was strange that they didn't invite us. Was it any good?
WCT: It was okay; there was a parody of your character. So you are doing stand-up at Dinah Week?
Jennifer Coolidge: Yes. It is not something that I usually do. It is a little dirty. People that show up should not expect a Disney show. It will be darker sexual humor.
WCT: Are you going to wear something slinky?
Jennifer Coolidge: I usually just wear a harness. I do the show hanging from a sling.
WCT: Are you serious?
Jennifer Coolidge: No. But is sort of like the Kathy Griffin style with more storytelling.
WCT: So you talk about celebrities?
Jennifer Coolidge: I do talk about celebrities and have Hollywood stories. Weird things have happened to me recently in Hollywood. I talk about things that are going on with me currently.
WCT: You are filming a movie right now, correct?
Jennifer Coolidge: Yeah. It is a really charming little story about a young kid growing up in a tiny town and he wants to play Jesus in the Jesus spectacular show that they have every year. His grandfather and father played Jesus in the past. The lead kid is undiscovered, but very talented. Leslie Jordan is in the movie also.
WCT: He is hilarious. I have hung out with him a few times.
Jennifer Coolidge: He is funny. It is a really cute little film with a small budget.
WCT: What other projects do you have going on?
Jennifer Coolidge: The Secret Life of the American Teenager starts up again soon, so I am always busy.
Jennifer will be at the Hotel Zoso Ballroom, 150 South Indian Canyon, Palm Springs, Calif., Saturday, April 3, at 8 p.m. at a benefit for the Human Rights Campaign. Visit www.dinashoreweekend.com for advance tickets.