In television, she's known for playing Nicky Nichols, recovering addict and charismatic lesbian, in Orange Is the New Black. She also plays Smoky Quartz in Steven Universe, where she holds the distinction of being the only actor for a Fusion character who's not a singer. She also plays leading character Gaz on Ballmastrz: 9009. Since 2019, she's starred in Russian Doll, a Netflix original Lyonne also writes for, executive produces and co-created.
- Pee-wee's Playhouse (1986) as Opal
- Slums of Beverly Hills (1998) as Vivian Abromowitz
- American Pie (1999-2012) as Jessica
- But I'm a Cheerleader (1999) as Megan Bloomfield
- Scary Movie 2 (2001) as Megan Voorhees
- Kate & Leopold (2001) as Darci
- Party Monster (2003) as Brooke
- Orange Is the New Black (2013) as Nicky Nicholz
- GBF (2013) as Ms. Hogel
- Steven Universe (2016) as Smoky Quartz
- Russian Doll (2020) as Nadia Vulvokov
- Irresistible (2020) as Tila de Tessant
Tropes associated with her roles:
- Actor-Shared Background: Like her character Nicky Nichols, Lyonne has struggled with addiction. The show also utilizes the chest scar she was left with after a heart infection, something written in as Nicky having undergone too. Also, they're both Jewish (culturally at least).
- Brooklyn Rage / Smoky Voice: She is known for her distinctly hoarse voice and strong New York accent, both of which suits her "tough girl" typecasting extremely well.
- But I Play One on TV: OITNB fans who held her as a queer icon due to her character in the show being one tend to be surprised to find out that she's in a steady relationship with Fred Armisen, although there are conflicting interviews and reports about whether she's straight or bi.
- Dyeing for Your Art: While her hair is normally dark blonde, she has gone platinum and other colors for roles. Somewhat averted with her role in Party Monster, wherein she wore a Fat Suit to play the chubby girl.
- Former Child Star: She began as a child actor (her first film was Heartburn, at the age of 7), working steadily through her teens and twenties. She seemed to be an aversion until she ran into health and legal troubles in the 2000s.