Teaching Students About Jan Hooks


Jan Hooks was an American actress and comedienne, best known for her work on the sketch comedy television show “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) from 1986 to 1991. Known for her diverse array of characters and impeccable comedic timing, Hooks left a lasting legacy in the world of comedy. Educating students about Jan Hooks not only exposes them to a trailblazer in the entertainment industry but also encourages the development of various skills such as critical thinking, creativity, and teamwork. This article aims to provide educators with an outline on how to teach students about Jan Hooks and integrate her work into a successful lesson plan.

Lesson Objectives

To introduce students to Jan Hooks, her career, and her impact on the entertainment industry.

To analyze and discuss Jan Hooks’ performances and characters on SNL.

To inspire students to explore their creative talents through acting, writing, and improvisation.

To examine the role of women in comedy during Jan Hooks’ time and compare it to the present day.


Research Jan Hooks’ personal life, career milestones, and contributions to SNL.

Select sketches from her time on SNL that showcase her talents and exemplify her impact on the show.

Prepare supplementary materials for class discussion, such as video clips, articles, or interviews featuring Jan Hooks.

Optional: Invite a guest speaker from the comedy community or an experienced improv performer who can provide insights into Jan Hooks’ impact.

Lesson Plan Outline


Present a brief overview of Jan Hooks’ life and career achievements.

Explain why learning about Jan Hooks is relevant today.

Discuss Selected Sketches & Performances

Show video clips from SNL that feature Jan Hooks in both memorable characters and iconic moments.

Analyze and discuss her performances and distinctive comedic timing.

Engage students in a conversation surrounding her sketches, focusing on her versatility and talent.

III. Improvisation Activity: Emulating Jan Hooks

Connect the lesson to the students’ own creativity by organizing an acting or improv exercise inspired by Hooks.

Encourage students to think critically about how Hooks would approach different characters or situations.

Debrief the activity, discussing what worked well and what could be improved.

Women in Comedy: Past & Present

Reflect on how women’s roles in comedy have evolved over time, starting with Jan Hooks’ era.

Open a discussion about prominent contemporary female comedians and how they build upon the legacy left by Hooks.


Summarize key points discussed throughout the lesson.

Encourage students to conduct further research on Jan Hooks and other comedians from her SNL tenure.

By integrating Jan Hooks’ work into the classroom, educators can inspire students to delve deeper into the world of entertainment, develop their creative talents, and analyze how comedy has evolved over time. Using this comprehensive guide to teach about Jan Hooks will surely leave a lasting impression on your students’ artistic growth and appreciation for trailblazing talents like hers.

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