The way the cookie crumbles
L.A.-based entertainer Jen Kober talks acting, stand-up and the power of Girl Scout cookies
Jen Kober is flying high right now. Whether she’s acting for television or doing the trapeze in Cancún, the Louisiana-raised comedian is throwing herself into the ring whenever she gets the chance. Lately, that means auditioning and landing roles in shows such as Dead to Me and The Purge.
“I like being a character actor,” she says. “I’m on six different TV shows right now, and all these parts are completely different. So it’s really fun to stretch myself like that.”
Kober studied acting in college, and while there was always pressure to take the craft seriously, she also felt an urge to do stand-up comedy.
“I was doing it on the side—like as a secret—because I had all these funny things to say,” she explains. “I was like, literally sneaking out of the dorm to get on the ’L’ to go to the Funny Farm—which is not even there anymore—in Chicago, to sign up for open-mics and, you know, tell jokes.”
Kober first started doing stand-up at age 16.
“I would lie about my age at bars in New Orleans,” she says. “I was 16 but I looked like I was 25. Nobody questioned it. I was talking like I was an adult.”
On stage, Kober captures audiences with tall tales from her own life. One of her more legendary stories details an intense childhood experience with several boxes of Girl Scout cookies. The way she tells it, you’re instantly transported back to a time when Tagalongs, Lorna Doones, Thin Mints and Samoas reigned supreme. All four types were delicious. And all four types were systematically decimated by 10-year-old Kober.
Since then, Girl Scout cookies have changed a lot. Names have been altered, packaging has been redesigned and new flavors have emerged. But have any of the newer cookies surpassed the Big Four in terms of deliciousness?
“No. Samoas are still the best,” Kober says, resolutely.
“There was one that was gluten-free, and I was like, ’Wow.’” Kober was not impressed.
“Whatever gluten does, it gives flavor to cookies. That was the most awful cookie I think I’ve ever had,” she says, laughing. “I’ve tried the other ones, and none of them stand up to the original four. None of them. Not even close.”
Kober went on to make a passionate case for Samoas and their close competitor, Thin Mints.
“No one can make a Samoa. No one’s at home making Samoa’s. Nobody’s at home making Thin Mints. You can’t do it! You can make a shortbread, you can make a peanut butter cookie—you’re not making a Samoa or a Thin Mint, it’s not happening. Those are such quintessential flavors of childhood for me, really. I don’t think anything could ever really top it.”
Looking to the future, Kober is excited. She has roles in a couple upcoming shows, including RuPaul’s new sitcom, AJ and the Queen. On the whole, she has big dreams for her career.
“I would like to have my own sitcom from a character that I create, and you know have it run for 10 years, that would be a lovely thing. Or you know, a nice major screenplay where some big, beautiful butch girl is the lead. I would love that.”