10 Stars Who Guest-Starred as Themselves on Sitcoms
Sometimes a star from the real world enters the sitcom world, because networks are hungry for audiences, and nothing draws folks in quite like the promise of The Doobie Brothers making an appearance. The result is sometimes hilarious, mostly confusing, but always memorable. Who doesn’t remember that time the Doobie Brothers were on ‘What’s Happening!!,’ amirite???
Pee-wee Herman, ‘227’
Not only does Pee-wee Herman fall for Sondra’s flirty one-liners while trying to get her, Mary and Lester out of a locked toy store bathroom while it was being robbed, but he ends up climbing up into and falling out of an air duct vent. After Pee-wee saves the day, the whole family is shown back at home dancing the “Pee-wee” because it was the mid ’80s and that’s what we all did back then.
Muhammad Ali, ‘Diff’rent Strokes’
Ali might’ve had a serious height advantage, but he couldn’t counterpunch the wise-cracking cuteness of Gary Coleman. In this episode, Kimberly and Willis bail out Arnold’s lies about knowing “The Champ” and get Ali to visit by telling him Arnold is gravely ill.
If this sounds familiar to ‘Brady Bunch’ fans, it should, because that’s exactly how Joe Namath was tricked into visiting Peter. Ali bested Namath’s cameo by putting a scare into “The Gooch,” Arnold’s nemesis on the playground.
DeBarge, ‘Punky Brewster’
Only on a sitcom does a band visit a young girl to talk to her about the importance of reading. R&B sensation DeBarge makes Punky look like an Amish preteen — they look part Prince, part Flock of Seagulls and totally ’80s.
Unlike Punky, you probably don’t remember the names of all the brothers in DeBarge but you might remember their hit, ‘Rhythm of the Night.’ DeBarge taught Punky that reading, like rock ‘n’ roll, is fundamental.
Bette Midler, ‘Seinfeld’
“Well, you’ve made a long journey from Milan to Minsk, Rochelle, Rochelle.” The show’s long-running reference to the (fictional) erotic movie ‘Rochelle, Rochelle’ reaches its perfect climax in the episode featuring Bette Midler as Rochelle on Broadway.
Jerry is dating Bette’s understudy when Midler is injured during a softball game, setting Jerry up as the Jeff Gillooly to the understudy’s Nancy Kerrigan. (‘Seinfeld’ fans and anyone who remembers the ’90s will get that reference.)
Billy Dee Williams, ‘Modern Family’
Nobody is cooler than Billy Dee, even when he’s appearing on ABC sitcom. When Jay’s plan for the family to spend New Year’s Eve at a hotel in Palm Springs leaves him feeling down, only a chance meeting at a poker game with Billy Dee Wiliams saves the day. Billy Dee is so cool, he namedrops Charo and even wins Gloria’s approval by letting her drive his Rolls Corniche, which was basically the Millennium Falcon of cars in her village.
Alice Cooper, ‘That ’70s Show’
What’s more ’70s than Alice Cooper? Alice Cooper playing Dungeons and Dragons with Howard Hesseman, aka Dr. Johnny Fever from ‘WKRP’!
Sammy Davis, Jr., ‘All in the Family’
When America’s most famous bigot Archie Bunker met beloved African American and Jewish entertainer Sammy Davis, Jr., it provided one of the greatest moments in TV history. Only Archie Bunker would offer Sammy Davis Jr. a Twinkie and only Edith Bunker would serve it to him on a plate.
Archie goes out of his way to make Sammy feel at home, although he refuses to drink from the same glass as him. (It was a different time, kids.) But Sammy does leave an impression on Archie when he plants a kiss on his cheek for a photo.
The Doobie Brothers, ‘What’s Happening!!’
If you remember the sitcom ‘What’s Happening!!,’ then you definitely remember the two-part episode with the Doobie Brothers in which Rerun gets busted for trying to bootleg one of their concerts. But he’s no junior Sean Fanning — Rerun was forced into taping the concert by local criminal masterminds, who apparently thought a tape recorder hidden inside his jacket would provide quality concert sound. Of course Rerun can’t help but dance and the recorder falls out onto the floor in plain view of the Doobies, leaving them disappointed at Rerun’s dubious betrayal. To be fair, the song Rerun danced to is ‘Takin’ It to the Streets.’ We defy anyone to not feel the funk from the sheer power of Michael McDonald’s smooth vocals. It’s also the only sitcom in television history that features a sting operation involving some high school kids and a ’70s rock/funk band.
Jill Goodacre, ‘Friends’
The season one ‘Friends’ episode “The One with the Blackout,” could’ve easily been called “The One Where Chandler Experiences Every Man’s High School Fantasy.”
When the blackout hits and Chandler is stuck in an ATM vestibule with Victoria’s Secret model Jill Goodacre, he turns into a neurotic mess. The viewer gets to listen to his inner monologue as Chandler nervously overanalyzes every thought and almost chokes on used gum trying to start up a conversation with her. Jill Goodacre is probably now more remembered for this episode than for being a model.
Ralph Macchio, ‘How I Met Your Mother’
The moment where Ted finally meets “the mother” on ‘HIMYM’ might not live up to Barney’s worst bachelor party ever.
Barney’s nightmare of a night included hanging out with Ralph Macchio and a mute clown at a casino.
It was later revealed that Robin had pulled off “The Barney” in order to give him his “Bro Mitzvah.” The night was not complete until actor William Zabka took off his clown costume, revealing his Cobra Kai uniform and “the real” Karate Kid.