When done correctly, a celebrity cameo on a TV show can be the perfect little Easter Egg for viewers. It can give actors who have fallen into typecasting an opportunity to explore a new character in a low risk and fun way. It can also be a way for celebs to work with a spouse or good friend they don’t normally get to share the screen with.
Cameos for the sake of cameos, like when a show is losing viewers and looking to remain relevant, can come off as plain pathetic. While it’s fun to spot a favourite celeb out of their usual spot, some cameos are boring, predictable, and are even forgettable. Here are 10 useless celebrity cameos as seen on TV and five that truly stole the show.
15 Useless Cameo - Paris Hilton On Veronica Mars
Known more for her reality TV than her acting chops, putting Paris Hilton beside someone who can really act, like Kristen Bell, really emphasizes her shortcomings. It seems the producers also realized this on Veronica Mars because despite getting in the big name, her character didn’t really do much on the show with a meh storyline to match her ability.
14 Useless Cameo - Oprah On 30 Rock
Dream sequences are about as boring as they come on TV, and audiences just expected better from Tina Fey and her team of writers. Watching Oprah just ‘be Oprah’ with Liz Lemon just seemed lazy. Pairing up Oprah and her no-nonsense attitude with one of the odder characters like Jenna or Tracy would have made for some very interesting TV. It was a missed opportunity!
13 Useless Cameo - Brad Pitt On Friends
You can’t blame Friends producers for wanting to cash in on Jennifer Aniston’s marriage to heartthrob Brad Pitt. An episode that was cute at the time, focused on Brad’s character and Ross being members of a ‘we hate Rachel’ club in High School, doesn’t age well in light of the real-life divorce of the couple.
12 Stole The Show - Carrie Fisher On Big Bang Theory
Star Wars Fanboys tuned in to witness the first time that Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) and James Earl Jones (Darth Vader) ever faced off in real life (they never filmed together on the set of Star Wars). Who doesn’t love Carrie calling after the voice of Vader, “It’s not funny anymore, James” of his repeated game of ding dong ditch?
11 Useless Cameo - Larry David On Hannah Montana
Odds are the fans of Larry David aren’t going to be tuning into Hannah Montana with their tween children. This one missed the mark mostly because it’s unlikely that anyone watching the show would even understand who David was. It was said he made his cameo because his children loved the show and wanted him to do it.
10 Useless Cameo - Justin Bieber On CSI
Justin Bieber played a troubled young man on CSI. Although his performance was okay for someone who had never acted, the way that he acted behind the scenes really stunk. He reportedly locked one of the producers in a closet and punched a cake that was on the table for the cast and crew to enjoy. Turns out the Biebs was just as bratty then as he is today.
9 Stole The Show - Shannen Doherty on Heathers Reboot
Cult Classic movie Heathers starring Christian Slater, Winona Ryder, and Shannen Doherty is a clever, dark comedy. When they decided to bring it back for TV, who better to portray JD’s mom who meets a bad end, complete with red scrunchy, but the original Heather Duke herself! Doherty said once she read the script for the revival, she was in for the small but noteworthy cameo!
8 Useless Cameo - Chris Brown On Blackish
Blackish is a family focused show. Bringing in a famous person known for being abusive towards women into prime time, isn’t sending the right message. He’s known as a bad boy who clearly has some issues he needs to work out. Why not give a celeb cameo to someone who is going to be a positive role model instead?
7 Stole The Show - Prince On New Girl
It’s hard to imagine the literal Prince of pop watching TV, but Prince was a huge fan of New Girl. So much so that he wrote to the show and asked to be on an episode. His performance was strange, eccentric, and everything fans loved about him. Prince was said to contribute to the script, making his appearance even better!
6 Useless Cameo - Lisa Loeb On Gossip Girl
Writers on Gossip Girl constantly wanted to remind viewers that Rufus Humphrey was a big deal in the 1990’s alternative music scene. To help legitimize this claim they brought in 1990’s sweetheart Lisa Loeb. Her cameo had no other purpose. Oh, and that (spoiler alert) Loeb is who he ended up with romantically in another odd cameo on the last episode.
5 Useless Cameo - The Beach Boys on Full House
It wasn’t hard for Uncle Jesse to be the cool guy in a Full House of dorks. Uncle Jesse truly was the Andy Bernard of Full House, but instead of talking about his time at Cornell, he’d name drop or make the Beach Boys do a random cameo. And that time he played the bongos on a Full House version of Kokomo - awkward.
4 Stole The Show - Robert Smith On South Park
South Park is known for being raunchy, pushing the limits, and providing random slices of pop culture. Robert Smith coming into a Godzilla themed fight to beat out ‘Mecha Barbara Streisand’ was surprising and entertaining in all the right ways. And Kyle Broflovski is correct, Disintegration is the best album ever!
3 Useless Cameo - Johnny Depp On SpongeBob Squarepants
In season six of SpongeBob SquarePants they brought in Johnny Depp as the voice of Jack Kahuna Laguna, in an episode where SpongeBob and Patrick learn to surf from a chill surf god, voiced by Depp. While the episode brought in 5.8 million viewers, the only reason you’d ever know it's Depp’s voice is in the show’s credits, and his role is fairly forgettable and boring.
2 Useless Cameo - Ed Sheeran On Game Of Thrones
Game of Thrones had enough momentum and fandom without clogging up plotlines with a celeb musical cameo. Making it very obvious why they brought him in, they even had him sing a tune. While his look fit the show, his acting was acceptable, and the song itself wasn’t bad, it just left fans asking ‘why’?
1 Stole The Show - Snoop Dogg Becomes A Regular Partner In Crime For Martha Stewart
The new ‘Odd Couple’ is Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg. In 2009, Dogg guested on Stewart’s show and they baked brownies. When Snoop asked, “When do we add the, ummm...?" Stewart quickly and cleverly replied "Later, that's a secret.” The duo has worked together so well fans literally ate it up with a spoon. In 2016 they launched the series Martha & Snoop's Potluck Dinner Party.
Sources: Insider, Oprah Magazine, E-Online, Complex, Screen Rant, The Loop