Jane Lynch’s Career Journey, From Best In Show to The Weakest Link

Jane Lynch‘s career has evolved to encompass all different realms of entertainment — since 2010, she’s been nominated for 12 Emmys and won five of them for a range of projects including the role of Sue Sylvester in the Fox dramedy Glee and hosting Hollywood Game Night, and beginning this week she’ll be the face of the newest iteration of The Weakest Link.

The original host of The Weakest Link, Anne Robinson, was famous for her at-times cruel on-screen persona. But while Lynch is no stranger to playing less-than-nice characters (again, remember Glee?), she says the reason she feels drawn to hosting is because “ultimately, I’m kind of a caretaker — I like taking care of people, especially people that I can dismiss at the end of the hour and never have to see again and not have to have an ongoing relationship with.”

For this installment of Collider Connected, Lynch and I spoke the morning after this year’s Emmy Awards — while she didn’t watch the live show, she had since learned that the PopTV series Schitt’s Creek had swept the comedy awards that night, including trophies for Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara, with whom she appeared in the Christopher Guest classics Best In Show, A Mighty Wind, and For Your Consideration. After getting to know them, she said, “I continued to be a fan and continued to marvel at the two of them and their talent and their generosity. And it certainly shows in these roles and how they deal with each other.”


Image via NBC

As we discuss in the interview above, Lynch’s career began in Chicago, doing sketch comedy and theater roles and never saying no to anything. “I didn’t care what they were doing, whether I was going to be dancing in my underwear, which I’ve done, or if I’m singing a song with a bunch of people, or if I’m doing Shakespeare, or if I’m doing sketch comedy on the road with Second City, I just said yes to everything because I wanted to keep the party going,” she said.

Later, after moving to Los Angeles, she began to constantly book guest-starring roles on a wide range of ’90s television; while she was working a lot, she says her first really big breaks came with Best In Show, followed a few years later by The 40-Year-Old Virgin. While both films leaned heavily on her improv abilities, she explained that Guest’s character-focused approach is quite different from Judd Apatow‘s — something she explained in detail.

“[Apatow] would say, ‘Okay, now just forget the script and just do that scene again and forget the script.’ Or he would come over and he would whisper something in my ear and he would give me the best line in the world. Sometimes he’d throw you into a scene that you weren’t scripted in… You’re kind of like playing basketball and you’re sitting on the bench and he’ll say, ‘Get in there and get on the court and play,’” she said.

Watch the video interview above for more on all of this, as well as:

  • Everything she can tease about an in-the-works sitcom for Netflix about four women of “a certain age,” which she and Cyndi Lauper are currently set to star in.
  • What it was like being a part of the Glee phenomenon, and what she remembers about that wild series finale.
  • Her memories of working with Harrison Ford on The Fugitive.
  • And, of course, why she’s excited to be taking over The Weakest Link and why you should be watching.

The Weakest Link premieres Tuesday, Sept. 29 at 8 PM. Check out our past Collider Connected interviews with folks like The RZA, Dakota Fanning, and Gina Prince-Bythewood and more.

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