Jennifer Coolidge Would Use 'Terrible Things' Patrons Said to Her as a Waitress for Comedy Skits

"I got amazing characters out of people I worked for," Jennifer Coolidge said while being honored as Hasty Pudding Theatricals Woman of the Year over the weekend

Jennifer Coolidge takes part in a roast honoring her as Harvard's Hasty Pudding Theatricals Woman of the Year, in Cambridge, Mass People Hasty Pudding Coolidge, Cambridge, United States - 04 Feb 2023
Photo: Michael Dwyer/AP/Shutterstock

Jennifer Coolidge is detailing how she used some of her harshest critiques to get laughs.

The actress, 61, was honored as Hasty Pudding Theatricals Woman of the Year on Saturday, and opened up about how she would utilize "terrible things" patrons said to her during her waitressing days for comedic skits.

Noting how she would spend some of her free time at Groundlings, an improvisation and sketch comedy theater in Los Angeles, at the start of her career, Coolidge said, "It was my salvation."

"I was a waitress for a very long time ... and waitressing was so hard," she continued. "I started writing all of the terrible things they said to me."

Added Coolidge: "I didn't add any of my own stuff. I wrote down everything and I would perform the scenes at Groundlings, and it was life-changing to [mock] all the people who were so cruel and mean and play them on stage."

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U.S. actress Jennifer Coolidge (C), flanked by Harvard students Lydnsey Mugford (L) and Nikita Nair (R), waves to the crowd during a parade in her honor before she is presented with the the Harvard University's Hasty Pudding Theatricals 2023 Woman of the Year pudding pot at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA on Saturday, February 04, 2023. Bob Odenkirk Harvard, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States - 04 Feb 2023
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Detailing that portraying rude customers helped her in many ways, Coolidge explained, "You get it out of your system. You're like, I don't even care that they weren't nice."

"I got amazing characters out of people I worked for, and I feel like that's the most inspiring thing," she continued.

Jennifer Coolidge speaks on stage as she is being honored by Hasty Pudding Theatricals as 2023 Woman Of The Year at Farkas Hall on February 04, 2023 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Scott Eisen/Getty

The White Lotus star — who recently nabbed awards at both the Critics' Choice Awards and the Golden Globe Awards — added that mocking the restaurant patrons helped her craft some of her best material.

"I mean, my favorite characters were wretched people, some of them, and the greatest stuff comes out of that," she said.

RELATED VIDEO: Jennifer Coolidge Is An Icon to Fans Both On and Off Screen

Elsewhere during the Hasty Pudding Theatricals Woman of the Year event, Coolidge took part in a parade across Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge.

Hundreds of the star's fans lined the area to wave and cheer her on, as she wore a faux leopard print wrap over a white coat, which she accessorized with an oversized pink faux fur cap, black leggings and black boots with heels.

Hasty Pudding Theatricals later roasted Coolidge, who had to perform various tasks — including singing like a dolphin — to earn her coveted pudding pot. "I'm having a blast. I've gotten to meet all of these students who are way smarter than me," the star said.

Coolidge joins a list of accomplished actresses who have received the Woman of the Year honor. Others who came before her include Jamie Lee Curtis, Halle Berry, Julianne Moore, Viola Davis, and, last year's recipient, Jennifer Garner.

Bob Odenkirk, meanwhile, was named the Hasty Pudding Theatricals Man of the Year at Harvard earlier in the week.

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