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Jackie Hoffman Has New Tales

The celebrated performer returns to Joe's Pub to discuss The Addams Family and turning 50 in Jackie Five-Oh! logo
Jackie Hoffman
There are few places in New York where Jackie Hoffman is more comfortable -- or more appreciated -- than Joe's Pub, where the award-winning actress will return on Monday, November 22 for a six-week run of her new show Jackie Five-Oh!. "Although it's hard work, I do miss doing my own stuff, and I haven't done an all-new show since 2007, so this is very exciting," says Hoffman.

Of course, she's got plenty to talk -- and sing -- about: most notably her role as Grandma in the hit Broadway musical The Addams Family. Not to mention, she is turning 50 -- which will happen on the day of her second show, November 29. "The worst part of all this is the pressure I feel in planning my own birthday party. But it was too perfect not to do it now."

Hoffman has actually accomplished a great deal in her first half-century, including numerous memorable turns on Broadway -- most notably in the original casts of Hairspray and Xanadu -- and in film. But she seems determined to look at the glass as half-empty. "There's a whole part in the show about how people didn't recognize me at this bagel store in Long Island; by now, I thought I'd be famous enough to at least be recognized there," she says in her signature deadpan.

Jackie Hoffman in
The Addams Family
Of course, it doesn't help her "Q Factor" that in The Addams Family, she's playing a character who looks twice Hoffman's age. But she's making the best of it. "I've found room in The Addams Family to ad-lib. Of course, Nathan Lane is a brilliant improviser -- and, let's face it, we're not doing August: Osage County here. It's a funny show and both the audience and the other actors appreciate when we mix it up. The show is like a party atmosphere and the audience seems to love it, no matter what the critics said. I do think some of them were over-the-top mean."

Hoffman actually finds songwriting one of her greatest pleasures. "I'm singing two songs at Joe's Pub that I've written for the character of Grandma, which will have their world premiere," she notes. "I started writing my own songs at Second City and I find lyrics flow out of me easier than jokes do. And I'm so lucky to have my collaborator, Bobby Peaco, who does such an amazing job of having his music serve my lyrics. I don't think we've ever run into a snag getting a song together. And I have to say, we'll be doing one of the most offensive songs I've ever written."

Hoffman hasn't fully decided whether she'll extend her contract in The Addams Family past March. But that doesn't mean she's tired of performing. "It's hard to do these eight-show-a-week gigs," she notes. "But I will say I'm thrilled to do Joe's Pub as long as people want me here."

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