Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Image is Nothing. Humor is Everything.

I've found that I tend to have more respect for an actor when he makes a guest appearance on a TV show and totally makes fun of himself. The Simpsons have had numerous examples of this over the years from English Prime Minister Tony Blair to skate boarding legend Tony Hawk (I admit neither of them are actors, so I'll give Mel Gibson, Mark Hamill and Sideshow Luke Perry as further examples). Another show that was able to convince actors to be good sports was Arrested Development. Besides Carl Weathers and the parade of actors, including Richard Belzer and John Larroquette, that came to the charity dinner to save the the Bluthes, the show also featured hilarious cameos from Andy Richter, Thomas Jane, Harry Hamlin and Hollywood Icon Ron Howard—all playing themselves (and other characters as was the case with Richter, who played himself and his four identical quintuplet brothers). However, my favorite appearance on the show was Judge Reinhold playing a TV show judge complete with William Hung & His Hung Jury. Below is the clip (4:23).

Another good example of someone willing to make fun of himself is Topher Grace (of That 70's Show) in Ocean's 12. Grace had previously appeared as himself in Ocean's 11 along with a few other celebrities who were learning to play poker from Brad Pitt's character. Grace followed that up with his cameo in the sequel which can be seen below (0:59).

Incidentally, "that Dennis Quaid movie" that he "totally phoned in" was In Good Company which earned Grace positive reviews. Newsweek went as far as to suggest he might "inherit American cinema's Everyman throne passed down from Jimmy Stewart to Jack Lemmon to Tom Hanks." But that's a topic for another post.

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