Jennifer Coolidge, Local and National Treasure, Leads Parade, Is Perfect in Cambridge

This time, the gays! Weren't trying to murder her!

Members of the Hasty Pudding Theatricals fete Jennifer Coolidge on Saturday, February 4, 2023 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. / Photo by Scott Eisen, Getty Images for Hasty Pudding Theatricals

How do we love Jennifer Coolidge, who was honored on Saturday with Hasty Pudding Theatricals’ 2023 Woman of the Year Award? Let us count the ways.

We love that the Emmy winner turned up to Saturday afternoon’s parade, despite the near-arctic temperatures, looking precisely and flawlessly as one’s idea of Jennifer Coolidge would look (see above). That fuzzy pink hat! That leopard-print cape! Those dusty-rose lips! Swoon.

We love that she made this face:

Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images for Hasty Pudding Theatricals

We love that the once-consummate character actress is experiencing a resurgence for her masterfully chaotic embodiment of heiress Tanya McQuoid, a beguilingly guileless woman of accidental means and daft self-absorption who character carried two seasons of HBO’s limited series White Lotus to prestige television perfection. 

We love that Jennifer Coolidge has, more or less since her onscreen debut on Seinfeld, allowed herself to become a breathily comedic patron saint of blonde buxom pulchritude—but that in her sportsmanlike willingness to make herself the joke, she is, under no circumstances, the joke.

We love that she is an earth angel ascended from the marshy lands of Norwell, Massachusetts, who also attended Emerson, and those local ties have given us even more excuses to type this post. 

We love every second of Jennifer Coolidge’s Golden Globes acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress in Limited Series from January (embedded below): How she had no hesitation putting her shiny new trophy on the floor and explaining, with zero chagrin, “I don’t work out; I can’t hold it that long”; how she made her good friend and White Lotus creator Mike White cry real, face-wiping tears with her genuine gratitude; how easily she laid out the gradual erosion of hope and ambition most grown adults experience, but are too scared ever to admit (“I had such big dreams and expectations as a younger person, but what happened was they, you know, they get sort of fizzled by life”). And yes, we love that she won.

We love that Jennifer Coolidge is, by all accounts, so consummately and humanly Jennifer Coolidge that as her White Lotus castmate Tom Hollander told Variety last year, “Jennifer is like a heart without any body around it.” Oh, how we love that.

But right now, most of all what we love about Jennifer Coolidge is how seriously she seemed to take the Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year Award. In 2015, Coolidge took a starring role in the Cambridge stage production of Saving Kitty to be closer to her father; according to Variety, he died two two days before the show’s opening night. As she explained during the Saturday night ceremony, her father was a Harvard graduate and the honor would have meant a lot to him; she apparently “got choked up” talking about him during the Saturday-evening ceremony.

“It is an absolute dream for us to honor Jennifer Coolidge as our Woman of the Year on the heels of her recent accolades for The White Lotus,” read a statement credited to Hasty Pudding Theatricals producer Sarah Mann. “We know our Pudding Pot will look phenomenal alongside her new Golden Globe, and we swear we won’t whisk her away to a palazzo in Palermo!”

Oh, Jennifer Coolidge, how do we love thee.

The perfect White Lotus signs for a perfect woman. / Photo by Brad Searles

Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images for Hasty Pudding Theatricals

Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images for Hasty Pudding Theatricals

Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images for Hasty Pudding Theatricals