Jackie Hoffman Doesn’t Do Shellfish, Makes a Nice Chicken, and Likes a Big Portion


Jackie Hoffman is an actress, a comedienne, and the owner of some of the most flexible facial muscles in entertainment history. If you didn’t see her on Broadway as Hairspray‘s Prudy Pringleton or as The Addams Family‘s Grandma, there’s a good chance you caught her on shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm and 30 Rock, or in movies like Garden State and Kissing Jessica Stein. Or, if you’re a Grand Theft Auto fan, you may at least recognize Hoffman’s voice — she plays the evil talk radio personality Mary Phillips.

Beginning next Monday, November 22, Hoffman will be playing herself in Jackie Five-Oh! A Celebration of Jackie Hoffman’s First 50th Birthday, a one-woman show at Joe’s Pub. She took some time off from preparing for the show, which will run for four consecutive Monday evenings, to enlighten us about her appreciation of big portions, hatred of shellfish, and thoughts about children in restaurants.

What’s in your refrigerator right now?

Leftovers in Tupperware, fruit, vegetables, three containers of Fage Greek yogurt, milk, cottage cheese, whole-wheat tortillas.

Which neighborhood do you live in, and where do you like to eat there?

Chelsea. I like Mary Anne’s and the Moonstruck diner. I like a big portion.

Where’s the food establishment we’d be most likely to find you patronizing on your day off?

I go to my mother’s on my day off, and she cooks better than any restaurant.

Is there a restaurant you go to more for the service and the ambiance than for the food?

The Dallas BBQ in Chelsea — it is a black experience in a white neighborhood.

Where do you like to eat after a show, especially when you’re on Broadway?

Bar Centrale is very cool.

Are there any foods you try to avoid before a performance, if you eat at all?

I never not eat. I just can’t eat too close to the show; I save my heavy meals for right before bed.

Is there anything you refuse to eat?

I don’t do shellfish, and it’s not a kosher thing — it just grosses me out.

Do you ever cook at home?


When you do, what do you cook?

I do a nice chicken.

What’s the most disgusting thing you’ve ever eaten?

I ordered from a Chinese place near the theater, and it was a soft tofu in this brown fluid that was like gefilte fish jelly. And at Sammy’s Roumanian for my birthday, I remember the waitress with the snake-shaped steaks on the plate and they were hanging from strings of fat and dragging on the floor.

Are there any restaurants and/or foods that have helped to define New York for you?

Eisenberg’s sandwich shop.

Do you have any memorable craft service tales to impart from the numerous films you’ve done?

Just recently they didn’t believe I was in the cast and wouldn’t let me get a cup of coffee.

What are the oddest eating habits you’ve ever seen your fellow actors display?

Not eating.

Do you have a favorite slice joint?

There used to be a place called C & S Pizza on Eighth south of 23rd. It is long gone.

Given your storied dislike of children, what’s your view of children in restaurants, particularly nice restaurants?

Is this a trick question? It makes my food come back up my throat. They don’t belong there.

Your current show features ruminations on decay — are there any decaying New York restaurants or bars you’re fond of? Or any deceased restaurants/bars you wish would be resurrected?

Lou G. Siegel’s restaurant. It was the old showbiz New York of George Jessel and Eddie Cantor. It’s now been changed to Ben’s Deli.