There's No Basement At The Alamo!
October 9, 2014 3:56 PM   Subscribe

Jan Hooks - Actress, Comedian, Reason to Watch SNL, has died at the age of 57. Ms. Hooks was a Georgian, a Groundling, on Saturday Night Live from 1986-1991, a Designing Woman, the original Manjula, and so, so, soooo much more. From SNL: "Love is a Dream," with Phil Hartman. SNL, again: "Brenda the Waitress," with Alec Baldwin. From "Pee Wee's Big Adventure," "Alamo Tour"
posted by Guy Smiley (84 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
 
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posted by fleacircus at 4:00 PM on October 9, 2014


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She was also fantastic on 30 Rock. And only 57? Too early for her.
posted by AloneOssifer at 4:01 PM on October 9, 2014 [5 favorites]


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posted by sarcasticah at 4:02 PM on October 9, 2014


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posted by NedKoppel at 4:05 PM on October 9, 2014


I am also sad but I am mostly angry about this right now.

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posted by MCMikeNamara at 4:05 PM on October 9, 2014 [7 favorites]


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posted by ogooglebar at 4:07 PM on October 9, 2014


So sad.

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posted by clockzero at 4:11 PM on October 9, 2014


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posted by condour75 at 4:11 PM on October 9, 2014




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posted by Room 641-A at 4:14 PM on October 9, 2014


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posted by 23skidoo at 4:15 PM on October 9, 2014


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posted by KingEdRa at 4:20 PM on October 9, 2014


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posted by cazoo at 4:21 PM on October 9, 2014


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posted by umberto at 4:22 PM on October 9, 2014


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posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 4:23 PM on October 9, 2014


What a shame.

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posted by theora55 at 4:24 PM on October 9, 2014


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She was really great. Dammit.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 4:25 PM on October 9, 2014


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posted by Songdog at 4:28 PM on October 9, 2014


I remember seeing that waitress sketch when it aired. If I remember it right, it was kind of buried at the end of the show, where they put the stuff they aren't really sure about. But it's one of the most memorable and distinctive skits SNL has ever done—a real tour de force of writing and acting. Five minutes, but lifetimes are packed into every character. She and Baldwin are incredible.

Jan Hooks was a brilliant talent and a wonderful comic actress. This news makes me sad.
posted by stargell at 4:30 PM on October 9, 2014 [9 favorites]


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posted by zardoz at 4:32 PM on October 9, 2014


Save Me

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posted by hal9k at 4:32 PM on October 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


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posted by Melismata at 4:42 PM on October 9, 2014


I don't know if I dare watch Love is a Dream right now--it brought me to tears when both of them were alive. It's one of the best things SNL has ever done, and yet so far outside it's usual material I can still hardly believe they aired it.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 4:44 PM on October 9, 2014 [13 favorites]


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posted by brundlefly at 4:46 PM on October 9, 2014


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posted by Smart Dalek at 4:47 PM on October 9, 2014


"Well, Buenos Dias!" is what I immediately thought of, though I have also been thinking about the Sweeney Sisters.

Clang, clang, clang went the trolley...

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posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 4:49 PM on October 9, 2014 [4 favorites]


One of the finest cast members ever. She was frequently paired with Hartman, perhaps in part because they shared that same quality of complete commitment to their characters. "Brenda the Waitress" is one of the all time great sketches - its a sketch that isn't tied to a current event or trend and feels more timeless than many things you'll see on SNL. "Love is a Dream" is just lovely in the way that only Tom Schiller was allowed to do on SNL.

Way, way too young. So sad.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:57 PM on October 9, 2014 [10 favorites]


Adobe.

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posted by Sys Rq at 4:58 PM on October 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


She was pretty damned funny. Too soon. RIP.
posted by jonmc at 5:00 PM on October 9, 2014


SNL has really done itself a disservice by burying its bittersweet character sketches. They've always had such great improv character actors and writers, Ms Hooks at the forefront, of course...we need more short films like "Don't Look Back in Anger" or "La Dolce Gilda".
posted by Guy Smiley at 5:08 PM on October 9, 2014 [4 favorites]


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posted by drlith at 5:09 PM on October 9, 2014


Damn it. I was hoping when I saw the link on Facebook that it was a hoax.

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posted by weathergal at 5:16 PM on October 9, 2014


Heaven's improv club got even funnier today.

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posted by Celsius1414 at 5:17 PM on October 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


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Fuck. She was a genius on SNL and one of the inexcusably underrated comic actors of her generation. She would've been an amazing old lady. That is some sad shit.
posted by batfish at 5:23 PM on October 9, 2014




Say hi to Phil for us, Jan. And thank you.
posted by Capt. Renault at 5:35 PM on October 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


Dammit, no. This wasn't supposed to happen.

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posted by pxe2000 at 5:41 PM on October 9, 2014


I'd never seen that "Brenda the Waitress" sketch, but it was terrific. "Can you say that with me? 'Adobe.'" was a catchphrase in my house for years.

aav.

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posted by the sobsister at 5:45 PM on October 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


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posted by Archer25 at 5:54 PM on October 9, 2014


Damn it. Jan was always my favorite.

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis. Requiescant in pace.
posted by ob1quixote at 5:57 PM on October 9, 2014


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posted by bitter-girl.com at 6:05 PM on October 9, 2014


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posted by tonycpsu at 6:07 PM on October 9, 2014


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posted by tommasz at 6:09 PM on October 9, 2014


She was one of those omnipresent forces in my childhood, quietly reminding girls my age that women can be funny.

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posted by Sara C. at 6:09 PM on October 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


Sepinwall has the right of it: She should rank with Phil Hartman. One of my favorite bits of hers was her playing off of Garry Shandling; he was starring in It's Garry Shandling's Show at the time, and did a lot of fourth-wall breaking on that program, so his opening on SNL was his walking into the first sketch, but continuing to address the camera directly as he did so--and Hooks and Hartman acting as if that hadn't been planned beforehand, and growing increasingly furious at Shandling as they attempted to stay in character, with Hooks finally losing it and stomping off the stage. Just another sketch that most other SNL cast members--including, needless to say, many that became far more rich and famous--couldn't have pulled off.

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posted by Halloween Jack at 6:12 PM on October 9, 2014 [7 favorites]


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RIP
posted by Fibognocchi at 6:16 PM on October 9, 2014


She's one of those SNL cast members I had mostly forgotten about, reminded occasionally when she'd appear on a show like 30 Rock, but now that I go back and look at some of her sketches I realize how amazingly brilliant she was and how she was in so many great sketches.

Damn. What a loss.

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posted by bondcliff at 6:19 PM on October 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


Just another sketch that most other SNL cast members--including, needless to say, many that became far more rich and famous--couldn't have pulled off.

It is such an injustice that Jimmy Fallon now has his own late night show, and Jan Hooks is a minor footnote for people who are really into sketch comedy.
posted by Sara C. at 6:22 PM on October 9, 2014 [16 favorites]


This is very sad news.

It's a shame she never became as old as the lady was in "Love is a Dream." I'm reminded of the short with Belushi reminiscing about all the other cast members and dancing on their graves as he was the last one standing. 'Twas not to be.

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posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 6:35 PM on October 9, 2014 [4 favorites]


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posted by Token Meme at 6:50 PM on October 9, 2014


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posted by wrapper at 6:59 PM on October 9, 2014


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posted by Strange Interlude at 7:11 PM on October 9, 2014


Weirdly enough, about two weeks ago I was re-reading Live From New York (best bathroom book ever?) and it got me wondering what Hooks had been up to lately. I did a Google search and it looked like her career had kind of stalled out lately. I couldn't imagine why. She was so good on SNL, and deserved to be a much bigger star than she ended up being. There really should've been a Jan Hooks Show. She should've gotten that chance.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 7:17 PM on October 9, 2014


My favorite SNL sketch of all time. OF. ALL. TIME. Vonda Braithewaite vs. Mephistopheles on "The People's Court"
posted by ColdChef at 7:22 PM on October 9, 2014 [22 favorites]


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posted by Ber at 7:54 PM on October 9, 2014


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posted by Chrysostom at 7:55 PM on October 9, 2014


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posted by BlahLaLa at 8:18 PM on October 9, 2014


Oh, ColdChef, I LOVE that one! Jon Lovitz is such a schlub.

"Ah am a bar flah."

And here's the Sweeney Sisters Christmas medley.

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posted by Madamina at 8:26 PM on October 9, 2014 [5 favorites]


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posted by dannyboybell at 8:34 PM on October 9, 2014


Very sad. I loved the comic chemistry she and French Stewart had together on 3rd Rock from the Sun, especially in this riff on Tom Jones.

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posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 8:35 PM on October 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


There are thousands and thousands of uses for corn, all of which I’m going to tell you about right now…

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posted by axoplasm at 8:45 PM on October 9, 2014 [3 favorites]


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posted by Renoroc at 8:48 PM on October 9, 2014


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posted by glhaynes at 8:55 PM on October 9, 2014


Weirdly, I heard about this just as I was on my way out to see a night of improv.

Probably my favorite SNL eras were on either side of her time, first the original cast (including Gilda & Curtin) and then the mid-2000s (e.g. Poehler time). But she was probably the strongest female of the entire span in between.

it looked like her career had kind of stalled out lately
IIRC after that 30 Rock appearance people were speculating on her health. Ugh. Feck whatever disease took her.
posted by NorthernLite at 9:47 PM on October 9, 2014


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posted by ZeusHumms at 9:47 PM on October 9, 2014


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posted by LobsterMitten at 10:57 PM on October 9, 2014


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She was so, so talented. Gone much too soon...
posted by SisterHavana at 12:01 AM on October 10, 2014


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posted by chinesefood at 12:09 AM on October 10, 2014


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posted by On the Corner at 12:46 AM on October 10, 2014


If I remember it right, it was kind of buried at the end of the show, where they put the stuff they aren't really sure about.

And the stuff they may want to cut for time. But yeah, it came after Weekend Update.

I did a Google search and it looked like her career had kind of stalled out lately. I couldn't imagine why.

I was thinking about this. In her day there was SNL, a sitcom, and movies, and that was it in many ways. If you didn't graduate to movies (and being a marquee draw) or get your own sitcom (actually fairly rare, e.g. Kate & Allie, NewsRadio), you were pretty much relegated to standup and infrequent guest appearances. I honestly don't know how some of the older casts made a living after their runs.

Today, though, partly because of cable and increasingly the internet, there seem to be so many options. The ensemble comedy movie has become a thing, so you have regular players like Rudd, Fey, Poehler, and the somewhat Hooks-like Kathryn Hahn getting regular work as part of a rotating cast of comedy actors in movies, sitcoms, and voice work. They're not just getting paid, they're keeping their faces in front of audiences, and there isn't as much of a discrete step up or decline in careers compared to earlier eras. (There's also more opportunity for cross-pollination with the many sketch comedy series we've had to date including The State, MadTV, Mr. Show, and so on.)

I'm thinking of how Al Franken graduated to doing the Stuart Smalley movie and the reaction of many people being this is a movie? There were others more forgettable, of course. But it just seems like there weren't the breadth of opportunities and that's barely 20 years ago.
posted by dhartung at 1:19 AM on October 10, 2014


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posted by heatvision at 4:24 AM on October 10, 2014


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posted by Gelatin at 4:31 AM on October 10, 2014


I heard about Hooks' passing this morning on NPR. She's only a year older than me. So sad. She was a great talent.

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posted by Thorzdad at 5:32 AM on October 10, 2014


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posted by double bubble at 5:42 AM on October 10, 2014


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posted by Cash4Lead at 5:49 AM on October 10, 2014


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posted by cashman at 5:59 AM on October 10, 2014




Too soon - and I can't believe it's been over twenty years since she was on SNL.
posted by Calloused_Foot at 2:55 PM on October 10, 2014


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posted by jlbartosa at 5:50 PM on October 10, 2014


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posted by MrBadExample at 8:48 PM on October 10, 2014


They just showed "Love Is A Dream" on SNL tonight, as a tribute to her. It made me a little verklempt.
posted by SisterHavana at 9:12 PM on October 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


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