Jackie Hoffman’s used to being onstage or in front of the camera, so this pandemic thing isn’t sitting well with her.
“I’m just sitting shiva for the loss of live theater,” the Queens-born comedian and singer said, adding that she’s passed some of the time with voice work or on TV shows that shoot in New York.
She’ll pass a little more time with the Bucks County Playhouse on Feb. 28 at 7 p.m., when she appears in “Word of Mouth: Fast Forward.” Hosted by NPR’s Ophira Eisenberg and the Playhouse’s Michaela Murphy, the streaming program will showcase monologues by Hoffman, model Eric Rutherford and Eric Woodall, resident director of the Broadway touring and Las Vegas productions of “Mamma Mia!”
Hoffman, 60, will talk about being nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie for her role as Joan Crawford’s housekeeper “Mamacita” in 2017’s “Feud: Bette and Joan.” The eight-episode miniseries detailed the contentious relationship between Crawford and Bette Davis and featured Mamacita often walking on eggshells around her volatile employer — but standing up to her, too.
“I didn’t know a lot about the real-life person,” said Hoffman, who lost out on the award to Laura Dern. “It was kind of frightening because Jessica [Lange] was so convincing as Joan Crawford.”
Hoffman said she doesn’t have favorites, but her role in “Feud” ranked right up there, as she enjoyed working with noted producer Ryan Murphy and Hollywood stars Susan Sarandon (who played Davis), Judy Davis, Alfred Molina, Stanley Tucci, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Kathy Bates. She worked with Murphy again more recently in “The Politician.”
Hoffman has a dry wit, the kind that comes out in Facebook posts like one she wrote early last year: “If you’re in Ft. Lauderdale and still mobile, catch this embittered New Yorker’s evening of music and comedy that’s not a musical comedy. All inclusive, gays preferred.” It’s typical of the voice she features in her one-woman shows, in which she talks wryly about her Jewish background and her personal life.
“I was blessed with a hysterectomy,” she said, noting that it provided plenty of material for her show at the time, “Jackie With a Z.” A 2007 New York Times article noted she was performing three weeks after surgery, “with a cot backstage for whenever she wasn’t singing or talking.”
Hoffman grew up shomer Shabbat with a kosher kitchen, regular shul visits and nine years in yeshiva. Although not religious today, Hoffman did play Yenta in “Fidler Afn Dakh,” a Yiddish adaptation of “Fiddler on the Roof” that ran from 2018 to 2019.
Although she’s comfortable with all types of performance, she likes live performance best, especially her solo shows at Joe’s Pub in New York.
“That’s the most terrifying and draining, but it’s the most rewarding,” she said. “If it fails, it’s all on you.”
Hoffman’s built a lengthy resume over the years, with 70 acting credits listed on imdb.com, including the upcoming film “Shiva Baby” about a college student running into her sugar daddy while at a Jewish funeral with her parents.
On TV, she’s had roles on everything from “Curb Your Enthusiasm” to “30 Rock” to “The Good Wife.” Oddly, she’s never appeared in any of the New York-shot “Law & Order” programs, although she did audition once. She joked that she was the only New York-based actor to never appear in the long-running shows.
Film roles have included “Legally Blonde 2,” “Kissing Jessica Stein,” “Birdman” and “Garden State.”
On Broadway, she performed in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “On the Town,” “The Addams Family,” “Xanadu,” “Hair” and “Hairspray.” In Chicago, she starred in six revues at The Second City Theatre, winning the Jeff Award for Best Actress.
To fill a little more time while she’s waiting to get back to the stage, Hoffman will also appear on XM Radio in March with host Seth Rudetsky in a livestreamed discussion and performance.
In the meantime, Hoffman plans to while away the days watching “reality dreck” like “Real Housewives.”
“It’s almost like an altar I daven at because there’s nothing else to do,” she said. “It’s a great escape.”
As for her upcoming Bucks virtual gig, it may mark her first area performance, though she has been to Philadelphia: She remembers a visit to the Mütter Museum.
“Any town that has a conjoined Siamese twin colon is my kind of town,” she said.
Tickets for “Word of Mouth: Fast Forward” are $15 and are available at StellarTickets.com. For details, visit BucksCountyPlayhouse.org or call 215-862-2121.