Ever since moviegoers enjoyed their first slice of American Pie, Jennifer Coolidge (aka "Stifler's Mom") has been turning up everywhere. In addition to the gross-out comedy's two sequels and a pair of Legally Blondes, she has joined Christopher Guest's troupe of usual suspects and these days plays juggernaut agent Bobbie on NBC's Joey and voices bimbo film-exec Traci on IFC's animated Hopeless Pictures, which wraps up its first season tonight at 10 pm/ET. Coolidge recently talked to us about being Hollywood's go-to brassy blonde.
TVGuide.com: I have to imagine that at least once a day you get some crazy shouting "Stifler's mom!" at you. True?
Jennifer Coolidge: Yes. As a matter of fact, I was at a stoplight and had my window down and some kid yelled into the car. I'm glad I did play at least one attractive person in my career.
TVGuide.com: What direction were you given in creating that wanton "woman of a certain age"?
Coolidge: The thing that was fun about it is that they really did shoot that [first] scene in the basement of a house, the kid [Eddie Kaye Thomas] was young and I forget what they gave me to drink, but it did kinda taste like alcohol, so I really felt like I was seducing a kid. It didn't feel like an acting job at all. I feel bad for these people who are supposed to be in a storm on a boat when they're [actually] in a large bathtub with a shower pouring on them. I feel bad for people who have to do that blue-screen stuff where you have to "imagine" everything.
TVGuide.com: Not a lot of blue-screen work in the Christopher Guest films, eh?
Coolidge: No, no.... When everyone is dressed like a dope, the settings are real and everyone seems believable, it's easy.
TVGuide.com: After Best in Show and A Mighty Wind, you're "only" on your third Guest film now. Do you consider yourself a "virgin" of sorts?
Coolidge: I guess! I'm glad to do any of them, to be honest. I had a sort of smaller part in Mighty Wind, so I was wondering if I would even hear from him this time. I'm thrilled.
TVGuide.com: Who are you playing in his latest, For Your Consideration?
Coolidge: Um, everyone has told me to sort of keep my mouth shut about it.
TVGuide.com: But we do know it's about the filming of an indie called "Home for Purim," and the awards-season buzz surrounding it.
Coolidge: I don't know if I'm allowed to talk about it.
TVGuide.com: Is the script is a winner?
Coolidge: The hardest I have laughed this year was when I was reading the outline. It is hilarious. It could be his best one.
TVGuide.com: Between For Your Consideration, Hopeless Pictures and Joey, you have quite a hat trick of projects poking fun at the biz.
Coolidge: Sometimes you get jobs playing someone whose world you don't really know that much about. That's why I think actors want to do these [types of] shows, because we know it so well. Especially with [Hopeless] — we improvise, so hideous things that were said to me earlier in the day can be used that night at the taping. Lies that people tell you, like when a director says, "I wanted you for the lead of my film but I couldn't find you!"
TVGuide.com: Did the Guest films lead to you doing Hopeless?
Coolidge: Yes. [Producer-director] Bob Balaban called me. He always has really interesting stuff going on, and he's a really funny person. And when he told me Michael McKean was doing it.... Well, Michael is probably one of the best improvisers I've ever seen in my life.
TVGuide.com: Do you find improv scary?
Coolidge: The good thing is you don't have to worry about your bad stuff, because they just get rid of it. Unlike the stage shows I did with the Groundlings, they can eliminate the really bad moments — and there are tons of them.
TVGuide.com: Was the final product what you expected?
Coolidge: I didn't know it was going to look anything like it does; I thought it'd be more "normal-looking" people. So I was thrilled to see that like, one boob is bigger than the other on me. And I love that I have just a few strands of hair on my head. [And yet Traci thinks] her "new haircut" looks like Scarlett Johansson's. That really made me laugh.
TVGuide.com: I asked Balaban when the series debuted, "Is TV ready for full-frontal cartoon nudity?"
Coolidge: But it's so fun, because then I don't really have to work out before the scene.
TVGuide.com: Let's talk about Joey. Do you feel the show has taken an unfair share of hits?
Coolidge: Unfortunately, because the show is Joey and because it's Matt LeBlanc, we couldn't kind of sneak in; there was a lot of hype and expectations were high. I see shows on HBO [that are allowed to] grow and turn into what they're supposed to be, but with network shows, from the beginning you're kind of lambasted for doing this or not doing that — and eventually the show does that and you're lambasted again. I think, comparatively, if you were to watch hours of the different sitcoms, Joey is really good.
TVGuide.com: This season Joey has Drea de Matteo's Gina working as Bobbie's assistant. How is that going?
Coolidge: The good thing is the two [characters] are strong women who can really dish it out and take it, and you don't see that a lot. They're both kind of corrupt people — which is nice!
TVGuide.com: Much has been made of Everybody Hates Chris giving Joey ratings woes. Are you feeling that on the set?
Coolidge: Joey and Chris Rock are very different and have different audiences. I'm a big fan of Chris Rock; I've done two films with him. I want him to do well, too, so....
TVGuide.com: Would you want Bobbie as your agent?
Coolidge: Because I come from sort of a Bostonian background where everyone is very passive, I'm impressed when someone can be very aggressive and frank and get the real scoop for you. So I have to say I admire those qualities that don't run in my family.
TVGuide.com: What else are you working on? I see you're in Date Movie, "from the people who brought us Scary Movie."
Coolidge: Is that what it is called now? Fred Willard and I play [the] Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand [roles from] Meet the Fockers. I'm also finishing up a movie called Quick, with Adam Sandler and Kate Beckinsale, about a guy who comes across a remote control where he can fast-forward through the uncomfortable moments of his life.
TVGuide.com: What would you fast-forward?
Coolidge: Most of my life! If I could eliminate all the uncomfortable moments, I don't think there would be a day left.