Jackie Hoffman: Queen Kvetch
photo: Bruce Glikas/

Oy vey, what kind of nice Jewish girl bites the hand that feeds her, not to mention her poor mother, that nice director who hired her, and all those people who paid I-hate-to-tell-you-how-much for their Hairspray tickets? Actually, Jackie Hoffman is hardly the first to have mocked her pittance of stage time in a big hit, her unpromising mug, or her rotten luck in showbiz. Belting the bouncy "Three Minutes on Broadway," she deflates her own pretensions with a wicked combo of theatrical hauteur, self-parody, and shades of the great Broadway broads. Setting her own lyrics to ersatz show tunes by Lon Hoyt and accompanist Dave Brunetti, Hoffman punctuates the songs with dead-on caricatures of stars like Bernadette Peters and Mary Tyler Moore as well as ordinary folk. One she absolutely nails is the eternally sad Hadassah lady who introduces a panel on Jews and entertainment with prayers for that day's terrorist victims. With equal parts bad taste and uncanny precision, Hoffman skewers gay dads, matinee audiences, and breast-feeding moms. Not since W.C. Fields has anyone been so deliciously mean about children. Hair in pigtails, she hilariously morphs into a bratty diva, wailing Sondheim's "I'm still here." Bubeleh, it's not nice what you're doing, but don't stop!

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