Jackie Hoffman is known as an American singer, voice actress, writer and stand-up comedian. She is most recognized for her famous facial contortions that she incorporates into her acts. Hoffman has made a career of one-woman acts themed around her original Jewish songs and monologues. Born in 1960, Hoffman grew up in Queens, NY and developed a love of the stage early-on during her young schooling years. She is an extraordinary woman who has certainly made the most out of life by utilizing all of her talents and making a mark in the Hollywood and literary world. Hoffman spent eight years with the Second City Troupe and has starred in list of solo shows, including, “If You Call This Living,” ad “Jackie Hoffman’s Hanukkah,” “The Kvetching Continues,” among many others. Hoffman is also well-known in a variety of local where she performs her one-woman act, including Joe’s Pub. Hoffman’s life and career is a colorful one, and here are 10 things you didn’t know about this very funny lady.
#1. Love to imitate Frank Sinatra
Hoffman loved to imitate Frank Sinatra when she was younger. She laughs now, thinking of how she used to walk around imitating the famous singer’s song, “You Make Me Feel So Young.” She says that now she knows why people used to laugh at her antics, but back then, she had no idea why the song got so many laughs.
#2. Her parents
Hoffman grew up in a very observant family and while her mother came from a very strict Jewish family and upbringing, she describes her father as “barely Jewish.” This made for an interesting upbringing for her, according to Hoffman.
#3. Early career
Although Hoffman’s love of the stage began early in her school years, her professional career started when she was booked at Hershey Park, playing the role of Jane Wayne in, “The Terror of the Plains.” The role was of a mean cowgirl who found herself involved in a wild shootout at the local, Trailblazer Saloon. This job required her to play the role, six times a day. After playing this role, Hoffman moved on to join the Chicago comedy troupe at Second City.
#4. Played in big Broadway hits
Most everyone has heard of at least one of the Broadway shows Hoffman has landed a role in. A couple of the most memorable Broadway hits include, ” The Addams Family,” “Xanadu,” and “Hairspray.” She was given a Theatre World Award in 2003 for her role in “Hairspray.”
#5. Married to a Delish
Despite the fact that one of Hoffman’s favorite themes for her stand-up comedy shows is focused around not getting sex, Jackie Hoffman is married to her “delish” husband, Steen Smyth, a musician whom she met at Birdland. She says they were married in Manhattan’s Actors Temple, and explains that it was as Jewish as she could get it due to her husband being a “goy,” which is a slang word often used to describe a “non-Jew.”
#6. Jackie’s stage persona
During 1993, Hoffman often performed her mini-monologues in a dive that was open-doored to gays and the stage was shared with drag queens. Hoffman recalls her stage persona as one that was “angry, bitter and dark,” however, her audience loved it. They just viewed her as a mean, blunt, but totally outrageous Jewish Female. They all accept her and love the fact that she can be so outspoken and blatantly honest with her emotions and feelings, on stage. It gives everyone a big laugh and if you need proof, just look at the ticket-sales for her performances. Every show is a sell-out when Jackie is on the ticket.
#7. She loves gay guys
When you’re on stage all the time, fashion plays a big role in your life and Hoffman is no exception to needing to fit the part. This is where gay guys come in; they know fashion and they can tell you what all the latest trends are, which is why she loves them, according to her.
#8. How her Kvetch career began
Jackie was in her teens when her family moved to Great Neck, NY. When she describes her life there, she describes the girls there as “nasty and much thinner” than she was. No one knew Hoffman was as talented as she was until she was given the role as a stripper in a high school play, “Gypsy” where she was supposed to wear a bikini. When she refused, she was electrified and they lit up her bra in retaliation.
#9. How has her mother dealt with her success?
Being that Hoffman’s mother is a devout Jew, she did have a very hard time accepting Jackie’s career choice. She was not too keen on her wanting to become an actress or comedian and certainly did not care for her being in the type of atmospheres her career would lead her to. She also constantly worried about her ability to have steady work and make money. During one interview with Jackie, she was asked how her mother was handling her success, to which Jackie replied, “She keeps asking, ‘Is that a job? Are you getting paid?'”
#10. Where does she get all her material for stand-up?
Jackie knows that people find Jewish women with an attitude, funny. When asked where she gets her material from and how she developed her style, she explains that she simply goes back to her roots. She incorporates her upbringing and material from what she knows about the Jewish community and women, into her acts. All she wants, is to be incredibly funny and…”miserable.” That attitude is exactly what most people who know and love Jackie Hoffman, refer to as, Jackie-Style.