Right now you know her as "that woman who does the awesome Sarah Palin impersonation," but people forget Fey has been making us laugh for a good while now. One of three four women on this list who began their career on Saturday Night Live, Fey brings hilarity from multiple directions. Whether she's producing, writing or starring, anything with her name on it is guaranteed to bring in more than a few laughs ... and then some. (See: Mean Girls, 30 Rock, Baby Mama)
Four words: "I'm f**king Matt Damon." Okay, so she's not a big time movie star -- but Sarah Silverman had me laughing harder in 2008 than some of today's leading funnymen. She's smart, cute, talented, timely and foul-mouthed -- what's not to love? Oh, and did I mention she's Jewish?
Those who know me are probably tired of my championing of Anna Faris over the past couple years as the female answer to Judd Apatow. Faris is currently one of the best at starring in "character movies," like Smiley Face and The House Bunny -- films that require her to completely transform and lose herself in the role. Faris recently told Cinematical that she's looking to write, produce and star in a few female-driven comedies that are closer to the Apatow brand of humor -- laid back, familiar and funny, but female focused. She's popped her producer's cherry, so definitely keep an eye out for this one in the future.
Say what you want about the quality of SNL these past few years, but there's no way in hell you can knock their current cast. (But feel free to knock the crappy writing -- does anyone on that writing staff know how to properly end a skit?) Poehler, who's crazy preggers right now, has been shoveling out the funny on the big screen in smaller parts for awhile, but she really tossed on her game face opposite Tine Fey in Baby Mama this past May. We expect nothing but hilarity from this one in the coming years.
After her cutesy role in The Devil Wears Prada officially put this gal on the map, Anne Hathaway has managed to surprise lots with her quick-witted comedic skills. She's remained relatively tame in 2008, even though the lady has churned out two worthwhile performances (Get Smart, Rachel Getting Married), but look for this soon-to-be-A-lister to really let her hair down in the upcoming Bride Wars.
Our fourth and final SNL star has been flying under the radar, but she's oh-so due for a break-out anything. I first noticed her in Knocked Up where she played the negative nancy who worked with Heigl's character at the E! network. Since then, however, I've paid close attention to Wiig and she hasn't let me (or her audience) down -- turning in one funny performance after the other in films like Walk Hard, Semi-Pro and Ghost Town. (And did you see her on SNL's Weekend Update two weeks ago? An absolute riot.)
Though it doesn't arrive in theaters until October 31st, Kevin Smith's Zack and Miri Make a Porno wouldn't be half as good without the comedic talents of Elizabeth Banks. She's this generation's Elisabeth Shue; the kind of girl you want to marry five minutes after you meet her -- kind, warm, instantly likable ... and, honestly, pretty damn funny. This fall alone you can see her making porno with Seth Rogen, playing Laura Bush in Oliver Stone's W. and clowning around with Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott in the very funny Role Models.