Entertainment Movies 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 By Juliet Pennington and Nicholas Rice Nicholas Rice Instagram Twitter Nicholas Rice is an Associate Editor for PEOPLE Magazine. He began working with the brand as an Editorial Intern in early 2020, before later transitioning to a freelance role, and then staff positions soon after. Nicholas writes and edits anywhere between 7 to 9 stories per day on average for PEOPLE, spanning across each vertical the brand covers. Nicholas has previous work experience with Billboard, POPSUGAR, Bustle and Elite Daily. When not working, Nicholas can be found playing with his 5 dogs, listening to pop music or eating mozzarella sticks. People Editorial Guidelines Published on February 6, 2023 11:06 AM Share Tweet Pin Email Trending Videos 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." Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. Amanda Sabga/UPI/Shutterstock Jennifer Coolidge's Best Movie & TV Roles: From Supporting Actress to Leading Lady 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. 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.