Melissa McCarthy: No longer the bridesmaid

Comedy Impact Report 2011: Tube Titans

Consider the following recent Judd Apatow tweet: “I think Melissa McCarthy in the office with the balloons on ‘SNL’ made me laugh harder than anything else this year or decade.” Then consider that McCarthy not only hosted “Saturday Night Live” this October but also starred in one of the year’s most commercially successful film comedies (“Bridesmaids”) and then won a lead actress Emmy for her work in the CBS comedy “Mike & Molly.” “And I think she has a hell of an encore ready for us,” says Paul Feig, who directed McCarthy in “Bridesmaids.” “She has worked so hard and is so deserving of all this.”

McCarthy hasn’t exactly come out of nowhere. The 42-year-old Groundlings alum did a seven-year stint on “The Gilmore Girls” and a couple of seasons on the ABC sitcom “Samantha Who?” But the combination of her growing “Mike & Molly” audience (the soph season pulls in an average 11.9 million viewers weekly) and her force-on-nature character in “Bridesmaids” has brought unexpected stardom. “What’s awesome is that she approaches characters so realistically that she can make anything work,” says Feig, who’s writing his next movie with McCarthy in mind to star.