Sometimes a cameo appearance can put a movie over the top. Using this definition of cameo “a minor part played by a prominent performer in a single scene of a motion picture”, I’ve developed a list of the most memorable ones that I’ve seen in a comedy.
My Criteria: Actor can’t play themselves in the role (sorry Harold & Kumar fans)
Scene: Jake catches Janey as she about to board a plane to France. He pours out the typical crap any guy would say to girl to get her to stay. Ms. Ringwald, who is working as a flight attendant, turns around and begins poking holes through all the lines Jake is laying out. It is a classic scene since she (and John Hughes) is responsible for most of these types movies being made and by her making fun it them, she closes the chapter on them.
Scene: Dave Chappelle is confessing his pot addiction at a Narcotics Anonymous meeting. Out of the audience pops up America’s Mr. Wholesome (recall Saget was in Full House) who brazenly declares, “Marijuana is not a drug. I used to suck dick for coke. Now that’s an addiction. You ever suck some dick for marijuana?” It’s classic because he pokes fun at his clean cut image and because hearing someone admit that they sucked dick for drugs is funny.
Scene: Charlie Sheen is on a PT boat recounting the horrors of war. He looks up as another voice drowns his dialogue out. Standing up he sees his dad Martin Sheen (reprising his Apocalypse Now role of Capt. Benjamin L. Willard) approaching. Simultaneously they state, “I loved you in Wall Street” as their boats pass each other in the river. It’s classic because it commemorates the fact that they both starred in Oliver Stone’s ode to greed and having the star of one the most vivid war movies make fun of the genre is cool too.
Scene: Damon is the pierced, tattooed, shaven headed lead singer of a punk band that plays at Scotty’s graduation party. What Scotty doesn’t know, is the song being performed titled “Scotty Doesn’t Know” is about the fact that Damon is screwing Scotty’s soon to be ex-girlfriend. It’s a classic scene because Damon is really making fun of his straight-laced image by taking on the role of the out of control punk rocker. Having Kristin Kreuk gyrating next to him on stage doesn’t hurt either.
Scene: Zoolander and crew, on a search for answers, meet up with a cemetery caretaker who claims he can help them. He turns out to be Duchovny, who looks absolutely disheveled, save for the fact his hand is thermatically sealed in a fish bowl (he was a hand model). It’s classic because like his role on the X-Files, he’s got conspiracies theories on such things as the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Did I mention he has his hand in fish bowl and looks absolutely ridiculous?
Scene: Jay and Silent Bob run into Carlin as a hitchhiker on the side of the highway. Wondering why they can’t hitch a ride, Carlin explains the Book of the Road to them and proudly holds up a cardboard sign that reads “Will Give Head For A Ride”. He then proceeds to do it after a trucker picks him up. It’s classic because Carlin is Carlin — is another reason really needed?
Scene: Back alley brawl involving Burgundy’s news team and other rival news channels’ teams. It has memorable cameos involving Luke Wilson and Ben Stiller (como estas bitches) but there was no expecting Tim Robbins to show up as the anchor of the Public News team with a smoking pipe in one hand and bat with a claw on it in the other. It’s classic because there is no rhyme or reason for Tim Robbins to be involved in a outlandish gang fight. Plus watching him hack off Wilson’s arm and immediately take a puff from his pipe is about as cool as it gets.
Scene: Hackman plays a lonely blindman who prays for a visitor. His wish is answered when Frankenstein’s monster barges through his door. Not knowing any better he offers him some soup and pours the scalding liquid into his lap. He then sets the monster’s hand on fire when trying to light a cigar. It’s a classic scene because Hackman was known as a dramatic actor and had just recently won an Oscar — so his cameo was purely out of character. It’s also great to watch him and Peter Boyle try and suppress their laughs as he’s going through the scene.
Scene: After asking for directions from a mechanic and having the guy pontificate, Wayne (Mike Myers) stops the scene in mid-sentence and asks the director for a better actor to read the lines. Out goes Al Hansen and in comes Charlton Heston. “Gordon Street? Ah…yes”, Heston begins, “Gordon Street…” It’s classic because Heston was one of the most accomplished actors ever and having him step out to recite a few lines in a crappy sequel showed he had a great sense of self.
Scene: John Beckwith (Owen Wilson) reeling from his best friend’s engagement visits Chazz Reinhold, the man who wrote the book on wedding crashing. We expect to see a suave cat but after a brief buildup, out slinks Will Ferrell in a polka dot bathrobe holding a pair of nunchaku. What a huge payoff! It’s classic because Ferrell is about as far away from being cool as the fires in hell are. The fact he came up with preying on women at weddings and later at funerals is pure genius.
Yes, I know I didn’t add your favorite one. Chime in, tell me what I’ve missed and why.