"Penny is not here, baby," says Kaley Cuoco, seeking -- apparently -- to distance herself from The Big Bang Theory character that brings her about $1 million an episode. (You'd think she'd be more respectful!) Cuoco didn't need to say it: anybody who had just watched her Lip Sync and slither her way through Ludacris in an outfit JLo might steal for her Vegas shows knew that Penny wasn't on the premises. If the Ludacris didn't prove it, a gyrating early Britney Spears follow-up quashed all memory of Penny. (Except the reminder that we're in the presence of a great comedienne.)
Cuoco may just be feeling a little hemmed in by her sweet Big Bang character: she telling fans I'm more -- a lot more. Penny may not even be Cuoco's best character so far. She made an indelible mark in 8 Simple Rules, and her indie film role in Burning Bodhi is also about as far from Penny as Ludacris is. In Burning Bodhi Cuoco delivers a triple-take kind of performance that will jam up any preconceived notions you bring to Cuoco as an actress. That's good news, and so is this: Cuoco is still a sweetheart, not a gangsta. Her work on behalf of conservation and animal rights continues to stand out and make a difference.
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