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Cult comic’s Kvetching hits L.A.

Cult comic’s Kvetching hits L.A.


Jackie Hoffman had audiences collapsing with laughter in Broadway's Hairspray. After hours she became a New York gay icon with her one-woman cabaret show, The Kvetching Continues. Now Hoffman brings Kvetching to Los Angeles

She's barely five feet tall, with a big voice and a bigger attitude. Much bigger.Born with infallible timing and a great comedic face, Jackie Hoffman is the kind of actor who can take 30 seconds of screen time and burn them on your memory. If you caught Hairspray on Broadway, you probably saw Hoffman working her multiple roles to the max. If you saw John Waters's A Dirty Shame, you can't have forgotten Hoffman's wild-eyed turn as a chronic masturbator marooned in a 12-step-style meeting for sex addicts.For the past few years Hoffman has been doing twice the work of many performers. After her nightly performances in Hairspray on Broadway, the pint-sized comic would head over to Joe's Pub at New York's Public Theater and continue her evenings with her hilariously bitter one-woman show.The Kvetching Continues ran to sold-out houses for nearly a year and made her the darling of New York's gay A-list.Now Angelenos can see what New Yorkers were raving about as Hoffman brings Kvetching to the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center's Renberg Theater on weekends through January 15.Raised in an Orthodox Jewish family on New York's Long Island, Hoffman actually went to yeshiva, but not for long. "I rubber-banded back and said, 'I'm outta there,'" she told the Los Angeles Times in a recent interview. Then it was on to study acting at New York University and improv at Chicago's Second City. Along the way, Hoffman met and collaborated with Amy Sedaris and won an Obie Award for her role in Sedaris's The Book of Liz.When she auditioned for Hairspray, John Waters told the Times, Hoffman was so good that the creative team expanded her part. During her long run in the show, Hoffman kept the small moments as funny as the big ones. "She had a different ad lib for one part of the play every night," Waters said.As Penny Pingleton's mother, Hoffman started out prim and ended up with a weak-kneed yen for Penny's black boyfriend, Seaweed; as a lesbian gym teacher, she milked comedy out of a dodgeball, a whistle, and a roving eye for the cheerleaders. As a prison matron, she traded barbs with two Edna Turnblads: first, Harvey Fierstein, and more recently, Advocate columnist Bruce Vilanch.Directed by Michael Schiralli (Varla Jean Merman's Under a Big Top, Miss Coco Peru Is Undaunted), Kvetching skewers everything from Hoffman's Broadway debut to showbiz legends like Bernadette Peters, Mary Tyler Moore, and out New York Times critic Ben Brantley. Gay parents and Eurotrash also get the Hoffman treatment. Along with skyscraping rants, Hoffman also offers a handful of original satirical songs.The Kvetching Continues, which will benefit the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center, runs for six performances: Curtain is 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, January 7, 8, 14, and 15; the show starts at 7 p.m. on Sundays, January 9 and 16. Tickets are $20. The L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center's Renberg Theatre is at 1125 N. McCadden Pl. in Hollywood, one block east of Highland Avenue and just north of Santa Monica Boulevard. There is free parking across the street. For reservations call (323) 860-7300.

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