Comedienne Dawn French has been showing some serious weight loss lately. Fans were shocked to that the "Vicar of Dibley" star is the same actress in "Delicious." After shedding obesity, she's almost unrecognizable from the early "French and Saunders" days. What's up with the Brit funny woman? French has shared what prompted her to lose weight and it may be more shocking than the weight loss itself.

Dawn French's weight was no joke

The 59-year-old French is one of the United Kingdom's funniest and also most influential women. She's been nominated for dozens of awards and won a BAFTA (British Academy Television Award) for the comedy/variety show "French and Saunders" (with long-time working partner Jennifer Saunders).

With her sharp wit, energy and confidence, it might have seemed that weight didn't bother the Wales native. But body image issues manifested in her ironic nickname "fatty" for the more slender Saunders. French's book "Dear Fatty" gave further proof that obesity was no laughing matter.

'Lark Rise to Candleford' star's obesity-related typecasting

As a comedian, French can and does poke fun at her weight. But she also found, as so many overweight Celebrities have, that body size typecasts an actor in certain roles. Chrissy Metz of "This Is Us", Melissa McCarthy of "Mike and Molly" Rebel Wilson of "Bridesmaids", Matt Lucas of "Doctor Who" and other plus-size performers have been relegated to playing the token fat person.

They are featured as fat first and people second and usually the butt of jokes.

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Many actors have lost weight in order to take roles that center on character not body size. Interestingly, Melissa McCarthy lost the "Mike and Molly" role because she was too thin after weight loss

'French and Saunders' actor's cancer scare

As a British actress, Dawn French may have been less caricaturized than American counterparts. Her immense talent enabled her to craft roles irrespective of body size, such as Geraldine Kennedy, "The Vicar of Dibley." Her reason for wanting to slim down wasn't professional as much as personal.

After a cancer scare, she needed a hysterectomy via "keyhole surgery." To ensure a safe laparoscopy she had to lose seven stone (98 pounds). This may seem like a lot. but "My 600-lb Life" shows that even gastric bypass surgery requires weight loss.

Irony of French's 'Delicious' role

French says losing weight wasn't miraculous, no bariatric surgery or fancy diets, just a lot of tedious calorie counting and boring meals. For her to star in "Delicious" — a "comedy about cooking, love and infidelity in Cornwall" — is a tasty turn of events. French plays a chef caught in a love triangle with the dashing Iain Glen and the svelte Emilia Fox. Fun ensues as the trio vies for top chef and each other's affections. Instead of a comic figure, viewers are surprised to see French as the glamorous aging femme fatale. And they are asked the tantalizing question: can you trust a skinny cook?