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I don’t Know About a Ding, But How About a Wing

October 10, 2014
The comedic actress Jan Hooks died last night.  I don’t know why Hooks didn’t become larger than she did because her talent was enormous.  I feel lucky that I grew up in the era of Saturday Night Live that I did, watching Hooks every week with Phil Hartman, Nora Dunn, John Lovitz, Dana Carvey, etc.  I think it was one of the last seasons of real “theater” types–not just improv or stand-up people–but a generation that had grown up singing and dancing and acting.  The imagination and skill of those seasons is still unmatched.  I remember Chris Rock saying that they called Phil Hartman “The Glue” because any skit was pulled together when Phil Hartman was put into it.  I think the same could be said of Jan Hooks who could deliver some of the most solid characters out of sometimes very weak material.
Graham and I had watched Hooks steal the show on the few episodes of 30 Rock and, like many other people, Graham did not know who she was. So I took it upon myself to show him some of my favorite skits.  The Sweeney Sisters was one of them. Every monday morning of high school my best friend Meg and I would reenact all our favorite skits.  This skit of Jan Hooks and Nora Dunn doing the Sweeney sisters was/is an all-time favorite.  We reenacted this skit so many times that some of the lingo became imbedded in some of our every day talk.  I didn’t realize this until I showed this skit to Graham.  I hadn’t seen it in 25 years and not only was it as funny as I remembered it, but it was like seeing an old friend that I had not realized had made such a large impact on me.  I was in the kitchen doubled over laughing, but also crying because so much of it was still in how I talked to Meg and how I sometimes punctuated my own humor.
Jan Hooks, we hardly knew you.  Thank you for your great effort.

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