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The next big names in comedy

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These stand-up and improv vets are poised to make the leap to screen successBy James RocchiSpecial to MSN MoviesIn "Identity Thief," Jason Bateman gets his life, credit rating and sanity taken away by a con artist extraordinaire whose appearance belies her cunning and gall. The fact that the con artist is played by Melissa McCarthy ("Bridesmaids," "Mike & Molly") is only part of the joke. (At one point, Bateman explains that his plan to catch McCarthy can't possibly be dangerous: "She's like a Hobbit. I'm going after Bilbo.") Once upon a time, McCarthy was a starring standout player in the Groundlings, the famous L.A. comedy troupe that also gave us Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig, and followed the same stage-and-improv to script-and-camera success path that all comedians hope to have happen and so few actually make happen. McCarthy's transition happened both fast and well, and she's made good use of her improvisational skills in both her films and TV appearances. In fact, two separate sketches the night she hosted "Saturday Night Live" were simply taken whole and complete from her Groundlings work. In honor of McCarthy's big-screen lead role, here's a list of similar comics and improv stars who have made -- or are about to make -- the always-tricky shift from tours and live shows to cameras on the set and their name on the poster.Bing:More about Melissa McCarthy | More about 'Identity Thief'For more movie news, follow MSN Movies on Facebook and Twitter. (Universal Pictures)
© Universal Pictures
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