The 10 Funniest Women in Primetime
Whether they serve as the marquee name on a network show or edify an ensemble with fast-deployed zingers, these women of primetime substantiate 2010 as a golden age of comedy. In our countdown we embrace live performers, scripted superstars, supporting cast members, new talent, veterans, and cable outlaws. The No. 1 pick is also our candidate for the task of Uncontested Comic Dictator For Life.
10. Kaitlin Olson, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
It's difficult to remain a standout against the primed chops of Danny DeVito, but Kaitlin Olson is often the quickest, punchiest character on IASIP. We'll never forget her for validating the hilarity of women getting smacked in the face. Moe Howard laughs on from the cosmos.
9. Julie Bowen, Modern Family
While Sofia Vergara plays the more traditionally kooky Gloria, Bowen scintillates as Claire Dunphy, the un-whimsical wife and mother in Modern Family's nuclear unit. While her husband Phil Dunphy (Ty Burrell) wins more laughs, Claire's self-doubt ends up producing the series' most unexpected laugh-out-loud moments. Quoth Mrs. Dunphy: "You know how growing up we all had that voice inside our head that tells us we're not good enough? Well, mine was outside my head driving me to school."
8. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, The New Adventures of Old Christine
Julia Louis-Dreyfus makes standard sardonic scripting seem real -- even cool. As the titular character in CBS's over-the-hill comedy, she transforms the self-absorption we loved about Elaine Benes and amplifies it into one delirious fragment of Christine's existential woes.
7. Jane Lynch, Glee
Years as a regular in Christopher Guest films have prepared Lynch for her most boorishly authoritative role yet: the bullhorn-savvy Sue Sylvester. Whether she's donning a tracksuit, a cone bra, or a cone bra over a tracksuit, Lynch's callous delivery qualifies her as this generation's Eileen Brennan.
6. Courteney Cox, Cougar Town
Maligned from the start, Cougar Town seemed poised to give us just menopausal gags and clueless young hunks. It did that for a few episodes. But thanks to Courteney Cox's performance, the show has graduated to a fleshed-out, singular series. It takes the well-timed restraint and abandon of an improvisational performer to pull off Cox's character Jules, who can't quite decide if she should dress like "a farmer's daughter or a Whitesnake video" when hitting the town.
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