5 Early Actor Roles That Look What? In Retrospect

We all had to start somewhere, even if it was somewhere stupid.
5 Early Actor Roles That Look What? In Retrospect

Nobody said that acting was easy; it can take a lot of blood, sweat, tears, and taking crappy jobs acting opposite Kirk Cameron. Unless you’re one of the many stars who got into the business because their parents were already famous and you just needed to get out of the house from time to time, the acting industry sure is a tough nut to crack. Even some of the world’s biggest stars got their starts in roles that seem downright hilarious in retrospect, such as …

Emma Stone Guest-Starred On a Canceled Louis CK Sitcom

Is there any part Emma Stone can’t play? She’s done it all from a dalmatian-hating fashion designer, to an aspiring actress whose boyfriend won’t shut-up the hell up about jazz, to, regrettably, a half-Asian Air Force Captain. But one of Stone’s earliest roles was on an HBO sitcom that has aged about as well as those Nazis from the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. It doesn’t help that the show, Lucky Louie, was created by and starring stand-up comedian/sit-down creep Louis CK. The series was basically a traditional three camera sitcom, but with dirty jokes and F-bombs. Think Everybody Loves Raymond if Raymond was allowed to curse and talk about his dick incessantly. 

While the show only lasted for one season, it does feature an early appearance from Stone as Shannon, the Louie character’s babysitter. Only seventeen when the show aired, Stone played a rebellious sixteen-year-old who, in what must have been positively side-splitting to the middle-aged men writing this series, kept hooking up with middle-aged men. If that wasn’t bad enough, she ends up having to stay with Louie’s family, and as a thank you offers to “blow” him.

Perhaps this is not too surprising, considering it all came from the future director of I Love You, Daddy. 

Long Before He Was Gus Fring, Giancarlo Esposito Took Big Bird to Summer Camp

In this, the 21st century, Giancarlo Esposito has become famous for playing some of the most terrifying villains on TV; like Gus Fring on Breaking Bad, manager of the Los Pollos Hermanos restaurant and underworld meth kingpin. Recently he also made an impression as Moff Gideon from The Mandalorian, leader of the remaining Imperial forces who presumably sells fried Porgs on the side.

Of course, Esposito has been working in film and television for decades, and has appeared in acclaimed movies like Malcolm X and Do the Right Thing -- as well as less acclaimed ones like Maximum Overdrive.

Surprisingly, the creepiest fast food employee not named “Ronald” got his start working in the most family friendly program in TV history: Sesame Street. Back in the early ‘80s, Esposito played counselor Mickey, who insisted that Big Bird go off to summer camp despite the fact that he was basically a giant homeless animal, and not a small human child. Looking back it is more than a little weird to see the same dude who casually slit his buddy’s throat with a boxcutter roasting hot dogs over a campfire with Mr. Snuffleupagus’ best friend.

Apparently the Sesame Street gig actually helped him to be a better Star Wars villain because, according to Esposito: “Big Bird taught me how to play with someone who was inside the suit, who was a real human being, which all led me to being able to work with Baby Yoda.” Presumably there was no part of taking a giant Muppet on vacation that informed his ability to convincingly get half his face blown off by a vengeful paraplegic drug lord. 

Larry King Got Murdered By Goons in a ‘60s Detective Show

We know that the late Larry King isn’t exactly regarded as one of cinema’s great thespians -- to be honest, his job usually began and ended with showing up in a pair of suspenders and pretending to be Larry King. Still, the broadcasting legend’s presence often bestowed otherwise ludicrous scenarios with a sense of realism, like the time he pretended to devote an episode of his radio show to the topic of “ghosts and ghostbusting.”

But decades earlier, King had cut his acting teeth in the short-lived ‘60s crime series Miami Undercover. In a scene that has since surfaced online, King, who was a Florida DJ at the time, plays … a Florida DJ. But his name isn’t Larry King, it’s “Sleepy Sam” which is A) an amazingly crappy DJ name, and B) totally fitting for Larry King -- presumably “DJ Cozy Slippers” or “DJ Warm Cup of Milk and a Piece of Dry Whole Grain Toast” also would have killed back in 1961. Poor Sam is in the middle of his show when two goons burst into the studio and start waving a gun around. It’s all part of a payola scheme that King wants no part of and he ends up getting murdered as a result.

It’s undeniably funny to see friggin’ Larry King playing notes of noir melodrama, not to mention the fact that, at the age of 27, King still somehow looks like he’s in his mid-to-late seventies.

Wee Ryan Reynolds Was In a Deadly Serious Canadian Teen Drama

As Canada’s second-most talented Ryan, Ryan Reynolds has had quite the impressive career; he’s played characters ranging from Deadpool, to Green Lantern, to a way crappier version of Deadpool we’ve all tried our best to forget all about. But long before he even moved in above a pizza place and couldn’t stop talking about it, Reynolds was a child actor starring as “Billy Simpson” in Nickelodeon’s early ‘90s Canadian co-production Fifteen. It was basically your average teen soap opera, but full of intense awkwardness and prolonged moments of silence that could rival Twin Peaks.

It was also crazy dramatic; while the series occasionally touched on heavy topics like alcoholism and divorce, even when they addressed relatively innocuous storylines like, say, getting kicked out of a teen garage band, it was done with soul-crushing levels of seriousness.

Seriously, The Incredible Hulk is less heavy-handed than this scene.

Tupac is Briefly in Dan Aykroyd’s Extremely Confusing Vanity Project

Rap legend Tupac Shakur only appeared in a handful of acting roles before his tragic death, but definitely showed a lot of promise in movies like Gridlock’d and Gang Related, a gritty police drama that starred Jim Belushi for some reason. But Tupac’s screen debut came in one of the most flat-out insanely bad movies of all-time -- to call it a trainwreck is an insult to trainwrecks, which at least had to involve some degree of competency to get the train going in the first place. 

We’re talking about Nothing But Trouble, the 1991 “comedy” starring Chevy Chase, Demi Moore, and John Candy. It was written and directed by Dan Ayrkoyd, who also co-stars as a crazed 106-year-old judge who abducts and tries wealthy motorists who have been caught speeding. And, to the amusement of Dan Aykroyd and Dan Aykroyd only, his nose is shaped like a dick. Oh, and Aykroyd also stars as one of the judge’s grotesquely deformed children, because, if it isn’t already clear, this movie is comedy’s Kryptonite. 

Randomly, in the middle of the movie there’s a musical interlude from Digital Underground, the hip hop group that gave us “The Humpty Dance” seemingly playing themselves. Tupac joined the group just in time to be included in the major motion picture equivalent of a rectal exam.

This movie is so bad, we don’t just feel embarrassed for Tupac, we actually feel bad for Chevy Chase. That’s saying something. 

You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter! And check out the podcast Rewatchability.

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