15 Long-Forgotten Acting Roles Of Fav Comedians
Comedic actors don’t just fall into their big breaks, they almost always have been grinding it out on the acting scene and auditioning for years before landing life-changing roles. For this list, we’re scouring the nooks and crannies of IMDB to find the roles comedians played before they played ‘THE' role that would change their lives.
Zach Galifinakis in Apartment 2F
Zach appeared in the short-lived 1997 Sklar Brothers show on MTV called Apartment 2F. This show had plenty of early stars like Amy Poehler, Patrice O’Neal, Stephen Colbert, and Matt Besser. The show only lasted a single 13-episode season, but Zach still shines like the star he is.
Related: 15 More Jokes For The Hall Of Fame
Will Ferrell In Grace Under Fire
Right before Will Ferrell became a feature on SNL he landed a spot as an extra in an AA meeting in the episode “When It Rains They Poor” on the sitcom Grace Under Fire. Spotting Will in the episode is like solving a Where’s Waldo puzzle, but if you pause at just the right moment; you can spot him in all his no-speaking-line glory.
Tina Fey For Mutual Savings Bank
The year is 1995 and Tina Fey looks like she’s Ellen DeGeneres cosplaying for this Mutual Savings Bank commercial. We all have to start somewhere and this bank advertisement really let Fey spread her comedy wings with all the different iterations of the word “hi.” Alright, it’s not actually funny, but Tina does what she can with what she’s given.
Kristen Wiig on The Joe Schmo Show
Do you remember the Joe Schmo Show? The premise was a reality show where only one contestant is actually participating, but all the other contestants were paid actors intent on tricking the real subject into thinking the show was real. Basically a Truman Show reality show. Not only did the cast of actors include Kristen Wiig who played “Dr. Pat,” but also David Hornsby who plays Cricket on Always Sunny, and Natasha Leggero.
Related: Why Comedy Needs Joe Pera
Jason Alexander For The McDLT
Jason Alexander…with hair?! Seinfeld’s Jason Alexander starred in a McDonald’s commercial from 1985, flaunting his acting chops by pretending the McDLT was a great idea. Alexander was 26 when he landed the role, the perfect age to lead a dancing hamburger mob through the streets.
Melissa McCarthy In Charlie’s Angles
A full 11 years before her big break in Bridesmaids, Melissa McCarthy makes a quick appearance as Doris in the Charlie’s Angels movie from 2000. It’s a quick part but McCarthy does squeeze some genuine comedy out of her short screen time.
Jason Segal In Can’t Hardly Wait
Jason Segal can be spotted gently caressing a watermelon husk in the film Can’t Hardly Wait, which was released a year before Segal's breakout performance in Freaks and Geeks. Segal is so good at playing a young stoned guy, it’s easy to see why Judd Apatow gravitated toward him.
Paul Rudd For Super Nintendo
Paul Rudd starred in this badass Super Nintendo commercial from the early ’90s, sporting a duster and some floppy hair. Rudd falls prey to the same activity ensnaring a lot of children nowadays; sneaking off to play Super Nintendo alone on a drive-in movie theater screen during a windstorm.
Rainn Wilson In Galaxy Quest
OK crazy fan theory: what if Dwight and the alien from Galaxy Quest are actually one and the same, explaining why Dwight is so different from any other person on the planet? While we mull this idea over and get the patents for it, take a minute to honor Rainn Wilson’s role as “Lahnk,” one of the space visitors, in this film that came out six years before The Office.
Craig Robinson In Friends
Craig Robinson does make a quick cameo appearance in Friends as a clerk who helps Phoebe legally change her name in the episode “The One With Princess Consuela.”
Steve Carrell For Browns Chicken
Steve Carrell starred in a commercial for “Brown’s Chicken" in the ‘90s, promoting their new cholesterol-free fried chicken. That’s right, in the 90’s they invented fried chicken that could make you skinny (I guess). Could this be the fast-food restaurant Michael was saying he worked at when he was Ryan’s age?
Bill Hader On Punk’d
In Bill Hader’s first television appearance, he played the brother of a dead painter in MTV’s Punk’d. Ashlee Simpson and her crew are tricked into thinking they set off the fire alarms and sprinklers, destroying all of Bill Hader’s brother’s artwork. If there is one thing I know, it’s that I would never recover from Bill Hader giving me a disappointed dad look.
John C. Reilly As Sasquatch
In their short-lived three-episode show Tenacious D on HBO, Jack Black and Kyle Gas began assembling their cult following as the greatest band on earth. A fun cameo in the show (and later reprised in Tenacious D And The Pick Of Destiny) is John C. Reilly as Sasquatch. It can be hard to tell it’s him under all that makeup and hair, but this had to have been one of Reilly’s first forays into the alt-comedy world.
Adam Sandler In The Cosby Show
Adam Sandler appeared in four separate episodes of The Cosby Show from 1987 to 1988. Sandler over-acts his heart out (in a good way) as one of Theodore's high school classmates three years before he joined the SNL cast.
Related: Is Adam Sandler The New Ernest?
Jack Black In A Pit Fall Commercial
Jack Black’s first-ever commercial role was this commercial for Pitfall from 1982 when he was just 13. It’s awesome to see such a young Jack Black, but it is a bummer they didn’t let him scat or play his saxoboom.
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Top Image: Dreamworks