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Jennifer Coolidge Accepts Comedic Genius Award at 2023 MTV Movie and TV Awards: ‘All Great Comedy Starts With Great Writers’

Jennifer Coolidge Accepts Comedic Genius Award at 2023 MTV Movie and TV Awards
Jennifer Coolidge MTV

Icon alert! Jennifer Coolidge was awarded the Comedic Genius Award at the 2023 MTV Movie and TV Awards.

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“Thank you, MTV. Thank you for honoring me with this incredible Comedic Genius Award,” the White Lotus alum, 61, said while accepting the distinction during the Sunday, May 7, show at the Barker Hanger in Los Angeles. “It’s even more special because I was in The Groundlings with Melissa McCarthy and Will Ferrell, and so now I get to be in the club with them and Sascha Baron Cohen and Kevin Hart and Jack Black. My god, what a fun night.”

The Massachusetts native is the sixth person to receive the special prize and quipped that the award was the perfect shape for her. “I’m sure you know this — well, actually, you probably don’t. The reason why I’m so thrilled — it’s just ironic that this award would be made of my favorite food: popcorn.”

Coolidge turned the subject to the Writers Guild of America strike. Because of the labor stoppage, the WGA was to picket the live show at Santa Barbara Hanger in California. MTV canceled the red carpet and made the ceremony pre-taped instead of live after host Drew Barrymore dropped out (she is set to return in 2024).

“Almost all great comedy starts with great writers, and I just think that as a proud member of SAG, I stand here before you tonight side-by-side with my sisters and brothers in the WGA that are fighting right now. Fighting for the rights of artists everywhere,” Coolidge said in her speech, which was taped from her home.

“I think of the words of Shakespeare where he once said, ‘The play is the thing.’ Well, I don’t wanna put words in his mouth or anything, but I think what he really meant was, it’s everything,” she concluded. The star danced with her golden popcorn to conclude her segment.

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According to MTV’s website, the award honors “actors who have made incomparable contributions to the world of comedy, providing a major influence through their work and transforming the genre at large.”

In addition to the accolade, Coolidge earned two other nominations ahead of Sunday’s show: Most Frightened Performance (The White Lotus) and Best Comedic Performance (Shotgun Wedding). The 2 Broke Girls alum has been going strong on the awards show circuit since winning her first ever Emmy in September 2022.

“I just want to say I took a lavender bath tonight — right before the show — and it made me swell up inside my dress and I’m having a hard time speaking. I’m not kidding,” she said while accepting the prize for her work on season 2 of The White Lotus.

When the Emmy production team attempted to play Coolidge off with wrap-up music, she began dancing and lip-syncing to the track, prompting laughter from the audience.

The Legally Blonde actress went on to win a Critics’ Choice Award, a Screen Actors Guild award and a Golden Globe for the role.

“I had such big dreams and expectations as a younger person, but what happened is they get sort of fizzled by life. I thought I was going to be queen of Monaco even though someone else did it,” she said during her Golden Globes acceptance speech in January. “And then you get older and think, ‘Oh, what the f—k is going to happen?’ And [White Lotus creator] Mike White, you have given me hope. You’ve given me a new beginning. … You changed my life in a million different ways.”

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In February, a source exclusively told Us Weekly that Coolidge’s career “transformed in the blink of an eye” amid the critical acclaim.

“She’s still the same person she always was but the fame and recognition has made things different,” the insider shared, adding that the Joey alum was “living way more comfortably now” thanks to the success of the HBO series. “She’s got a lot more opportunities coming her way and her days are way busier than they used to be.”

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