TV alerts: “Firefly” marathon, plus Jackie Hoffman on “Late Night”


Stay home tomorrow, or at least set your TiVo: The Sci Fi Channel is doing an all-day Firefly marathon, starting at 8:00 a.m. (do space cowboys even wake up that early?).

Meanwhile, Jackie Hoffman stops by Late Night With Conan O’Brien tonight. You might know Jackie as the piqued, pregnant friend in Kissing Jessica Stein. Or maybe you caught her side-splitting performance in the original Broadway run of Hairspray. Or maybe you’ve seen one of her uproarious cabaret shows, complete with Shamu impressions. Here she is with the costar of her recent show Jackie With a Z — yes, that’s a uterus, if you couldn’t tell.

If her name doesn’t ring a bell, you’re missing a lot. Hoffman is a rubber-faced, risk-it-all madwoman. She’s currently one of the “biggest laugh getters” (the other is Mary Testa) in Xanadu, the stage version of the 1980 Olivia Newton-John movie.

Many critics have hailed them for injecting a frothy blend of caustic humor and nuttiness to Douglas Carter Beane’s book. The New York Times called the duo “criminally funny” and the Associated Press labeled them “major giggle getters.”

“We were allowed more than anybody else in the cast to go more cartoony,” says Hoffman. “I was struggling with that. You know, ‘Could we go even further with this? Could we get even sillier?’ But I think we found a nice balance of keeping it real, keeping with the intentions of the story, but also having this delicious license.”

She recalls as a high school student in New York being forced to listen to Jewish choral music each week until her exasperated teacher asked the class what they wanted to hear. “We all launched into ‘Have You Never Been Mellow?’ I’ll never forget it,” she says, referring to Newton-John’s 1975 hit, which is also included in the show. (

I suddenly have the urge to put on some leg warmers and fire up some scented candles, or at least dig up my ELO’s Greatest Hits CD.

Late Night airs at 12:35/11:35c on NBC. And the Sci Fi Firefly marathon runs from 8:00 to 5:00.

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