Brooke Hoover’s first acting gig, a TV commercial, never saw the light of day.
No worries — it got her a SAG (Screen Actors Guild) card, that first rite of passage for any actor.
“It was a commercial for Comcast,” Baton Rouge native Hoover said from her home in New York. “I was a drunken bridesmaid, but the commercial never aired. So even though I got my SAG card from it, I never saw a residual.”
That was 2006. Since then, she has seen more work come her way.
The actress, standup comedienne and web series creator, has nabbed guest spots on NBC’s “Law and Order: SVU” and ABC’s “What Would You Do?”.
This year, you’ll see even more of her on the big and small screens.
She came home to New Orleans last summer to play a reporter in “The Runner,” a movie starring Nicolas Cage that revolves around a politician’s downfall in the aftermath of the 2010 BP oil spill. Although Hoover didn’t share screen time with Cage, her role figures into Cage’s character’s unraveling.
Hoover’s reporter, Maryellen Briggs, works for the fictitious “The Gazette” in Lafitte.
“She basically uncovers some would-be information about Nicolas Cage’s character and another character, and I don’t think I can elaborate any more,” she said. “Basically, Maryellen Briggs, small town little reporter, has finally landed a really, really, really big story.”
Hoover shot her scenes over a couple days in June and July 2014 at a park in Harahan and a fishing camp in Slidell.
“I think they are really doing Louisiana justice,” Hoover said of “The Runner.” “The writer/director Austin (Stark), he knows his stuff. He might not be a Louisiana boy, but he’s done his research. He’s really impassioned by this BP oil spill and our culture.”
The film also starring Sarah Paulson (“American Horror Story”), which played in New Orleans, is now available on VOD and iTunes.
Hoover has also been shooting scenes in Memphis, Tennessee, for her guest-starring role in episode 4 of Cinemax’s upcoming series, “The Quarry.”
The post-Vietnam War era drama, that’s shooting in New Orleans as well, stars Logan Marshall-Green. Hoover plays Lucynell, who’s been involved with one of the series’ principal characters.
These new roles are far removed from her early stints in off-off-Broadway plays and student films. In those first years in New York, she also taught acting to children and pursued improv and standup gigs.
In the latter case, she learned first-hand that one never knows who’ll turn up in a Big Apple comedy club.
“Sometimes these A-list celebrities, these headliners, will just show up at various comedy clubs and they’ll say to their buddies, ‘Hey, I want to do a set,’” she said. “So I’m waiting to go on, I’m waiting to go on, and they tell me, ‘You’re going to have to wait a little bit.’ And then I see Tig (Notaro) go up, who’s Sarah Silverman’s buddy, they were on a show together, Tig’s a great comedian herself, and then Sarah Silverman goes up and I said, ‘Oh God, I’m going up after Sarah Silverman, you’ve got to be kidding me!’ And I was new in the business, and my comedy is so different than hers, so I said, ‘Just be yourself, don’t worry.’ So, I just like sucked it up and I did it.”
A lot of Hoover’s act is centered around her father, Baton Rouge lawyer Bob Hoover, who’s “like a John Grisham novel and he talks like one too”; her “crazy” family; making fun of herself; and making fun of situations about being a native Louisianian in New York. Her mom, Anne Olivier Hoover, lives with her in Jersey City, two minutes from the Statue of Liberty. Sharing the space are the actress’ senior rescue dogs, Precious and Kibbles, who are stars in her new web series, “Pageant Pom Mom.”
“I wrote, directed, and starred in it, along with my rescue dogs, and a lot of my improv actor friends,” she said, describing the series as a comedy with heartfelt moments.
“My goal is to make people feel good, and to laugh.”