Television has been graced with countless memorable cameos and guest appearances that have left an indelible mark on the medium. From A-list celebrities to iconic figures, these guest stars have brought their charisma, talent, and star power to enhance our favorite shows. Whether it’s a surprise appearance, a self-referential portrayal, or a hilarious parody, these cameo moments have become legendary.
From the likes of Michelle Obama in Black-ish to Danny DeVito in Friends and Liam Neeson in Life’s Too Short, these guest stars have added an extra layer of excitement, laughter, and authenticity to our beloved television series, solidifying their places as some of the best cameos and guest appearances in television history.
10 Michelle Obama in ‘Black-ish’
Season 8, Episode 1 (2022)
Michelle Obama‘s appearance in Black-ish is considered one of the best television cameos of all time because it brought both cultural significance and star power to the show. As the former First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama’s presence added a sense of authenticity and importance to the storyline.
Her cameo showcased her charisma, relatability, and advocacy for issues such as education and social equality, which aligned perfectly with the show’s themes. Moreover, her cameo helped raise awareness about the series and sparked important conversations about representation and diversity in television, making it a memorable and impactful moment.
9 Cher in ‘Will & Grace’
Season 3, Episode 7 (2000)
In the Will & Grace episode titled “Gypsies, Tramps, and Weed” of the third season, Jack’s (Sean Hayes) character, who idolizes Cher and has a Cher doll, brings her to a restaurant and treats her as if they were the real Cher. Unknowingly, the real Cher appears behind him, but he does not recognize her and mistakes her for a drag queen instead. In the fourth season, Cher makes another appearance as herself, only this time she arrives in Jack’s dream in heaven. As she descends from a staircase, Jack asks her if she is God, to which she responds, “It depends on which bathhouse you pray at,” and then proceeds to encourage Jack to follow his dreams of being in the entertainment industry.
Her cameo showcased her wit, charm, and musical talent, creating a memorable and enjoyable experience for viewers. Additionally, Cher’s cameo highlighted the cultural impact and enduring popularity of the show, solidifying its status as a beloved sitcom and reinforcing the significance of guest appearances in television history.
8 Matt Damon in ‘Entourage’
Season 6, Episode 12 (2009)
Matt Damon‘s appearance in Entourage is brilliantly played with his public image. Matt Damon portrayed a fictionalized version of himself, hilariously mocking his own persona as a serious actor. The cameo showcased his comedic skills and willingness to embrace self-deprecating humor. It also added a layer of authenticity to the show, blurring the lines between fiction and reality.
Damon’s cameo became a standout moment, creating buzz and leaving a lasting impression on viewers. It exemplified the power of a well-executed celebrity cameo to enhance the entertainment value and elevate the overall appeal of a television series.
7 Steve Wozniak in ‘The Big Bang Theory’
Season 4, Episode 2 (2010)
In an episode of The Big Bang Theory titled “The Cruciferous Vegetable Amplification,” Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak appears as a guest at a tech conference. The main characters, Sheldon (Jim Parsons), Leonard (Johnny Galecki), Howard (Simon Helberg), and Raj (Kunal Nayyar), are thrilled to meet him and seek his validation for their scientific work.
Wozniak engages in humorous exchanges with the characters, displaying his wit and charm. He ultimately agrees to take a picture with them, providing a memorable moment of geeky excitement. Wozniak’s role added an element of authenticity and celebrated his status as a technology icon within the show’s geek culture narrative.
6 Prince in ‘New Girl’
Season 3, Episode 14 (2014)
In the New Girl episode titled “Prince,” musical legend Prince played a fictionalized version of himself. The plot revolves around the main character, Jess (Zooey Deschanel), and her friends attending a star-studded party at Prince’s mansion. Prince interacts with the characters, offering them advice and serenading them with his music.
As an iconic musician and cultural icon, Prince’s cameo elevated the fan-favorite New Girl episode to legendary status. His enigmatic persona, combined with his mesmerizing musical performances, created an unforgettable experience for viewers. His cameo stands as a testament to the impact that a larger-than-life celebrity can have when they make a guest appearance on television.
5 Stephen Hawking in ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’
Season 6, Episode 26 (1993)
Stephen Hawking made a memorable guest appearance on Star Trek: The Next Generation in the episode titled “The Descent, Part I.” In the episode, he played a holographic representation of himself playing a poker game with the ship’s crew, including Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart). Hawking’s character engages in intellectual banter and philosophical discussions, showcasing his renowned brilliance and scientific prowess.
His cameo emphasized the show’s commitment to celebrating knowledge and the exploration of ideas. Hawking’s appearance added a layer of authenticity and brought a real-world scientific luminary into the fictional universe of Star Trek, making it a remarkable and highly cherished television moment. Funnily enough, Stephen Hawking is also famously known for his cameo appearances on CBS’ The Big Bang Theory.
4 Danny DeVito in ‘Friends’
Season 10, Episode 11 (2004)
In an unforgettable episode of Friends, Danny DeVito played the character of Roy, a stripper hired by Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) for her bachelorette party. Roy arrives at the wrong location and ends up at Chandler (Matthew Perry) and Monica’s (Courteney Cox) apartment instead. DeVito’s character injected a burst of laughter and energy into the episode. DeVito’s cameo in Friends showcased his versatility as an actor and his ability to steal the scene with his larger-than-life personality.
Though many big-name celebrities have made guest appearances on the sitcom, DeVito’s distinctive presence, physical comedy, and impeccable timing created unforgettable comedic moments. His appearance added an extra layer of comedic brilliance to an already beloved sitcom, making it a standout and cherished television moment.
3 Ricky Gervais in ‘The Office’ (US Version)
Season 5, Episode 16 & 17 (2009)
In the episode titled “Lecture Circuit,” David Brent (Ricky Gervais), the regional manager of the Wernham Hogg Paper Merchants in the British series, visits Dunder Mifflin as a motivational speaker. Gervais’ role as David Brent brings a mix of awkwardness, cringe comedy, and deadpan humor to the episode. His interactions with the characters, especially with Michael Scott (Steve Carell), create comedic tension and highlight the stark contrast between the British and American styles of office management (and humor).
As the creator and star of the original British version, Gervais’ cameo as David Brent showcased his comedic brilliance and maintained a sense of continuity between the two versions. His presence not only paid homage to the original series but also added a meta and self-aware element to the American iteration. Gervais’ cameo exemplified the perfect blend of nostalgia, humor, and cultural significance, making it a standout moment for fans of both versions of The Office.
2 Liam Neeson in ‘Life’s Too Short’
Season 1, Episode 1 (2011)
Liam Neeson made a guest appearance on the series Life’s Too Short, in which he played a fictionalized version of himself. In a comedic twist, Neeson visits the office of the main character, Warwick Davis (as himself), who is an actor struggling to find work. Neeson offers his assistance by suggesting various ways to help Davis improve his career, all while hilariously referencing his intense and action-packed film roles.
Neeson’s willingness to parody his tough guy image and engage in hilarious banter with Warwick Davis showcased his impeccable comedic timing and versatility as an actor. His self-deprecating portrayal demonstrated an enthusiasm to embrace the unexpected and provided a delightful surprise for viewers.
Season 1, Episode 13 (2010)
Jack Black made a brief appearance as the character of Buddy in Community, a charismatic but manipulative individual who enrolls at Greendale Community College. Buddy quickly becomes popular among the students and starts a “Hipster Mafia” group. Jack Black’s portrayal of Buddy added a burst of energy and eccentricity to the episode. His comedic timing, over-the-top personality, and ability to command the screen created a memorable and entertaining presence.
Though Community has always made an effort to feature major guest stars such as Owen Wilson, Betty White, John Goodman, and Giancarlo Esposito, Black’s over-the-top portrayal and impeccable comedic timing generate laugh-out-loud moments and create a dynamic presence on screen. His guest role showcased his infectious comedic prowess and provided a standout moment in the series.