TV's Best Scene Stealers, From Insecure to AHS: Apocalypse

These actors can capture audience's attention with a simple line or a smile.

By Chris Harnick Oct 02, 2018 7:00 PMTags
Insecure, Natasha RothwellHBO

Something strange happened after watching the Insecure season three finale. Yes, we were going to miss Issa Rae's heroine Issa Dee, but a realization suddenly hit—we're going to miss Natasha Rothwell's Kelli even more.

Writer and actress Natasha Rothwell hit new comedic heights as Issa's and Molly's (Yvonne Orji) pal Kelli, a fearless accountant who is not afraid to partake in a good party drug or call out a past fling in public. Rothwell is the definition of a stellar TV scene stealer—one who should be celebrated. And she's not alone! Recently wrapped and new seasons of your favorite shows feature so many fresh and soon-to-be iconic scene stealers.

The below 10 are some of the best.

Manny Jacinto, The Good Place

An argument could be made for virtually every cast member of The Good Place to be on this list of scene stealers, but Manny Jacinto as Jason is just so lovable, so simple and so funny. That's saying a lot for a show filled with so many forking great comedic performances, but Jacinto can slide in, say a line, smile, and steal the show.

Leslie Grossman, American Horror Story: Apocalypse

The reunion of Ryan Murphy and Leslie Grossman has yielded so many wonderful jokes and scenes. The two previously worked together on Popular, and Murphy brought Grossman back into his orbit with American Horror Story: Cult. She's now lamenting the lack of Pirate's Booty during the apocalypse on AHS: Apocalypse and we're all about it. Her over-the-top hair is just icing on the cake. Grossman and Murphy go together perfectly.

Donna Lynne Champlin, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

As Paula, Donna Lynne Champlin often is the emotional core of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Her performance—and don't forget that voice!—often stops us in our tracks. She handles drama and comedy like a pro. This is the last season of Crazy Ex, so casting directors, snap her up!

Cole Allen, Kidding

Kidding features an adult cast of some of the best of the best. We're talking Jim Carrey, Catherine Keener and Judy Greer, yet Cole Allen is able to go toe-to-toe with his costars with ease. Almost too much ease...

Sonoya Mizuno, Maniac

You may know her from Crazy Rich Asians or Ex Machina, but Sonoya Mizuno shines so bright in Maniac, which is a feat considering she's in scenes with the likes of Justin Theroux, Jonah Hill and Emma Stone.

Lyric Ross, This Is Us

Lyric Ross took Deja, who could've been a one-note (and irritating) character, and transformed her into one of the most-compelling figures on This Is Us, a show full of praise-worthy performances. When Ross' Deja is on the screen, we're paying attention.

Rhea Seehorn, Better Call Saul

Rhea Seehorn does such nuanced work as Kim Wexler on the AMC drama. Her calm and composed character underwent a subtle transformation that made for fascinating television over the years. The show is named Better Call Saul, but we're tuning in each week to see what's going on with Kim.

Natasha Rothwell, Insecure

Natasha Rothwell is a straight up gift as Kelli on HBO's Insecure. She's a catchphrase queen who is able to straddle zingers, physical comedy and emotional moments to ease. Rothwell is also a writer on the show, so you know she's that funny in real life too. If she doesn't get an Emmy nomination for this season, specifically her work in "High-Like," which contained edible drugs, an encounter with a taser and wet pants, there is no justice in this world.

Megan Mullally, Sean Hayes, Will & Grace

Megan Mullally and Sean Hayes basically invented the term "scene stealers." As Karen and Jack, these two continually deliver some of the best lines with timing unlike no other.

For a little more context on Grossman and Murphy's partnership, this is what she previously had to say: "I can say this: Coco has Ryan Murphy's hands all over that dialogue. I think it's really where Ryan gets to have fun and I adore that because I love Ryan's voice. I've been lucky enough to collaborate with him for almost 20 years now," Grossman previously told E! News. "So, I think that there's a simpatico there of what we find really funny and I think he trusts me to relay it in the spirit that he's writing it in. To me, when I'm doing Coco, I draw from lots of different things, but there's a lot—I don't know if you watch The Real Housewives, but there's a lot of Tinsley Mortimer in her…I find Tinsley to actually be really sweet, but that was sort of my first place that I went to with my inspiration for Coco, with other things thrown in. But, yes, at this point Coco will do anything to survive and doesn't care about anyone but herself. She only cares about [Evan Peters'] character because she needs her hair to be done. [Laughs.] Because even though we're in the apocalypse, we can still have good hair. But yes, Coco would do anything to survive."

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