The brilliant Jan Hooks

Before Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Kristen Wiig and Kate McKinnon smashed the “boys’ club” image on Saturday Night Live, Jan Hooks lit up the stage in the fondly remembered Carvey-Hartman years.

As a fellow Georgian, I always appreciated her country/Southern characters — Tammy Wynette singing Stand By Your Man over various classical pieces, or this classic …

Or this one …

And if you’re Southern, you can often pull off a good Irish character as well.

She also excelled at playing celebrities with outsized personalities, from Nancy Reagan to Diana Ross. And more abstract characters, like the obsessive-compulsive glamorous party host in this ad for Calvin Kleen.

Outside SNL, she was the long-suffering wife on Primetime Glick and the star of a memorable scene in Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure:

She had a wonderful chemistry with Phil Hartman, another versatile “glue” cast member, no matter which sketch they were in. Even playing Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker. Or Frank Sinatra and Sinead O’Connor.

Hartman left us far too soon. He was just beginning to enjoy his post-SNL career on NewsRadio. And now Hooks has gone as well.

You and me both.

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