I respected Jan’s talent. In fact, in 1986, when I auditioned for Lorne Michaels, SNL’s creator and producer, I told him that if he wanted an actress who was great at characters and impressions, Jan Hooks was the best.
Thursday, during a Netflix movie, my husband said something about Jan Hooks dying. I hadn’t heard. I started crying.
Some press called me for a quote. My quote – “Jan Hooks was the most talented actress I’ve ever worked with or watched.” And, I meant it.
Then I went online to review Jan’s brilliant work and I became overwhelmed with memories.
In 1983 I was standing on the set of The Half Hour Comedy Hour, (an ABC summer replacement show that was similar to Laugh In,) waiting for rehearsal, watching my co-star Jan Hooks goofing around with some of the cast. She was doing an impression of a lesbian gas station attendant. She was genius. She was making up the lines on the spot. “Improv” was a new thing. I had never heard of it, or the L.A. Improv Group “The Groundlings,” the group that along with Second City in Chicago produced so many SNL stars. I didn’t even have a TV when I grew up. My childhood was spent in a Baptist Church and a gym doing gymnastics with my Dad, the Baptist deacon gymnastics coach. So, Jan and I had very different upbringings and consequently, very different worldviews.