Honestly, probably the Jane Lynch performance I’m fondest of is one that violates my rules for choosing an article image. She’s so good in Wreck-It Ralph in a role that could be an absolute mockery and somehow isn’t. (If I did use animated images, I would’ve used one with her wedding dress if I could, because man I love her wedding dress in the flashback scene.) And the thing I like is that Felix is a ’50s-style gentleman who loves her because of how tough she is. And she doesn’t secretly have a desire to be soft and girly; she really is that tough, and she likes it and is good at it. It’s a good role.
Still, Jane Lynch’s career has been steady for decades now. Even if she doesn’t have a lot of starring roles, she’s been working consistently decades. Her first TV appearance was in a 1992 fact-based made-for-TV movie starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Sally Struthers that sounds absolutely wild. Meanwhile, her first feature appearance was the 1988 body-switch comedy Vice Versa starring Judge Reinhold and Fred Savage as a father and son who switch bodies after they, and here I must quote the IMDb description, “casually touch a magical Tibetan skull.” Both of these have astounding casts and I cannot even begin to deal with the existence of either.
But back to Jane Lynch. At the time, she was also working onstage; she’s been a member of both Steppenwolf and Second City, in Chicago. She still does some stage, but she’s she’s not as active in it anymore as far as I can tell. But it does seem to be the case that she does both comedy and drama, which I suppose made her ideal for Calhoun. In part because one of the secrets of that character is—as is so often true of comedy—that she doesn’t know she’s funny. In her world, she’s not, and we only laugh because her world is funny to us.
As with so many other performers, she also paid her bills by doing commercials. One of them was—and this is available on YouTube in very poor quality if you don’t believe me—a Frosted Flakes commercial directed by Christopher Guest wherein she is playing a woman trying to see the “real” Tony the Tiger at the Kellogg’s headquarters. Christopher Guest would remember her from the spot and cast her in Best in Show, which probably helped lift her out of the ranks of TV character actors, where she’d been for years. Not that she was bad at it, of course.
It turns out she’s also deaf in her right ear, which she says is due to a high fever she had as a child. I can’t help wondering if it was a vaccine-preventable disease; she’s of an age where a lot of diseases she would have been exposed to as a matter of course are preventable in children and rare because of vaccination. Now, there are other causes of high fever that aren’t from vaccine-preventable diseases; kids get sick a lot. But still. It’s worth noting that she’s three years older than the measles vaccine.