Jennifer Coolidge, scene-stealing actress from Legally Blonde, Best in Show, American Pie and many other films, was awarded the Faith Hubley Career Achievement Award at the 17th annual Provincetown Film Festival over the weekend. Out.com spoke with the funny lady at the beautiful Land’s End Inn on Saturday, June 20.
Out: I met you at Dragstrip 66, a club in LA many years ago. You used to go there regularly, correct?
Jennifer Coolidge: I did. My biggest night there was the night I judged that drag queen contest [on an Anna Nicole night]. I remember that night really well. It was such an incredible night. I sort of dressed like a drag queen that night, I didn't realize I should have just been dressed normal as a judge. But then I dressed as drag queen—I’ve made some bad choices in my life. You have to let the other people do their thing. Everyone was really good that night. Anna Nicole was going to come over and join me at Dragstrip—don’t know what happened with that. It was a night that went very late for me. I got sort of obsessed with some makeup that some drag queens were wearing in the bathroom. I spent the whole night talking about makeup in the bathroom.
Yeah, not kidding, I spent like three hours in the bathroom.
I understand you have a petty impressive first in Provincetown. Your friend [producer Shawn Nightingale] says you did your first stand-up comedy show here.
Well Shawn has a different version than some other people. I don’t know, I was reading out of a notebook, I didn’t look up much. I didn’t really know I just didn’t have any clue what I was doing.
He said it was a hit.
Well I think he sold some tickets. Sometimes club owners think that selling tickets is a hit. I don’t think I was a hit. Now I do standup in Vegas. At the beginning—I don’t know what that was. I love that he remembers it differently—and I don’t want to if that’s how he remembers it, I’d rather be remembered as a winner than how I remember it.
You’re getting the Faith Hubley Career Achievement Award this year, and you’ll be talking to [author and film theorist] B. Ruby Rich later. I think her professional title is “movie smartypants.” She’ll be asking you a lot of stuff. Have you been studying?
Do I really have to really know what I’m talking about? Do I have to know about the movies I was in? Because I don’t remember any of them. I can remember the personal stories, some of the weird stuff that happened when we were making the movies, but I don’t remember the movies that well. I don’t watch them. If I hear my voice on cable if the TV’s on, I just, you know— I know some other actors like to see their stuff to improve their stuff, but I just can’t do it. I start to have an anxiety attack. It’s sort of how I feel about photos. If you’re really delusional you can convince yourself you look a certain way, then if someone shows you a photo, you’re like aw, f—. I’d rather just think I gat a stellar performance in everything I did. I don’t want it confirmed to me later that it isn’t what I though.
Is Best in Show the only time you played a gay character?
I feel like I’ve played a million gay characters, haven’t I? But I haven’t?
What was your best subject in school?
I won the contest for naming the most guinea pigs in second grade. I named 12 of them. My names were really good for animals, that’s all I was really good at. In college they would play a classical piece of music and I could identify the composer. My dad was a pianist. So those were the two things: guinea pigs, classical music.
With this award, will you use your powers for good or evil?
I like playing evil people but no one gives me those parts. But I dated someone evil, and I hope to never be that.