Cartoon and animated sitcoms are extremely fun to watch. But, while watching a particular show, have you ever been surprised by unexpectedly spotting someone famous? Well, films and shows have never shied away from the occasional celebrity cameo, but it is still rare in case of animated content. From one-off character appearances to hefty recurring roles, the celebrity appearances that we’ve listed made the series much more fun!
We’ve picked seven cartoons/animated sitcoms where you would want to know who’s voicing their characters. In some cases, the voice actors are the characters, while in the other examples the identities of the celebrity actors and the cartoon roles are so intrinsically linked, they are downright inseparable.
Let’s go through some funny, memorable and utterly insane celebrity appearances in animated sitcoms, cartoons, and some of the most popular series.
1) George Clooney – South Park
The disclaimer at the beginning of most South Park episodes reads “All celebrity voices are impersonated poorly.” There have been some rare exceptions where celebrities voiced themselves on the show (PewDiePie, Elon Musk, a number of musical guests), but for the most part creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone brought in outsiders to voice characters to add a fun element. So when actual celebrities want to be a part of South Park, the roles they end up in are quite interesting, to say the least.
George Clooney was a supporter of South Park back when it was just a viral Christmas video and wanted to get involved when Comedy Central picked it up for a series. What part did Clooney play? Sparky, the gay dog from Big Gay Al’s Big Gay Boat Ride. He later got to read actual lines other than “woof” as Doctor Gouache in the South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut, the 1999 film.
2) Michael Jackson – The Simpsons
Celebrity guest stars are so common on The Simpsons that they rarely come across as something unexpected. Michael Jackson’s appearance in the season three episode Stark Raving Dad was hilarious. He wasn’t playing himself, but he wasn’t entirely not playing himself either. He played Leon Kompowsky, a white mental patient who thought that he was Michael Jackson.
The episode itself is wild, but what makes this the craziest Simpsons guest appearance is the behind the scenes story. Firstly, Michael Jackson isn’t credited as himself but as “John Jay Smith.” Secondly, while Jackson read all of his character’s dialogue, he didn’t actually sing the songs in the episode. However, he did sing backing vocals for The Simpsons’ single Do the Bartman.
3) Al Gore – Futurama
As a physics-bending science-fiction comedy, Futurama has always had a fun and exciting premise. Making things even more confusing was constant appearances of famous figures from the present, such as former VP Al Gore.
The famous climate research advocate and politician appeared on the show for the first time in season two’s Anthology of Interest 1, when Professor Farnsworth explores what might have happened if Philip J. Fry was never frozen. In that episode, Gore plays himself as the leader of the vice-presidential Action Rangers, who pledge to return Fry to the future, although things go amiss creating an unending time paradox.
Gore appeared once again in season four to utter his most famous line on the show, “I have ridden the mighty Moon Worm!” and two more times, once in the 2007 film Bender’s Big Score and again in season six. Gore’s brief appearances were popular and hilarious.
4) Neil Gaiman – Arthur
PBS’ animated educational television series Arthur has included many guests over the years from Fred Rogers to Lance Armstrong. These guests are always drawn as some sort of animal. Neil Gaiman, the acclaimed writer of Sandman and American Gods, chose to be a cat. But that’s the least strange part of his appearance in the episode Falafelosophy.
Can there be a dialogue more absurd than “Neil Gaiman, what are you doing in my falafel?” Without a doubt, it looked hilarious on-screen. In the same episode, Gaiman later goes snorkeling in a smoothie. Clearly, he had a lot of fun in this cartoon.
5) Harlan Ellison – Scooby Doo Mystery Incorporated
Scooby Doo has a history with celebrity guests. The 1972-73 series The New Scooby-Doo Movies had a different guest each week. The 2010-13 Scooby series, Mystery Incorporated, paid tribute to this tradition in a way that suited that particular season’s geeky sense of humour.
Harlan Ellison who is popular for his writing in works like Star Trek’s City on the Edge of Forever and for projects that are a blatant rip off of his work like the Terminator movies, was infamous for his fun yet sometimes grumpy attitude. That’s what the Scooby Doo series banked upon. Ellison’s guest appearance in the Mystery Incorporated episode The Shrieking Madness, displayed his notoriously grumpy side to the audiences and it was a delight to watch. In the same episode, he concludes a lecture saying, “And that’s why nothing good has been written since the 1970s.”
6) Margot Martindale – Bojack Horseman
Bojack Horseman’s setting makes it the perfect show for celebrity guests playing themselves. Of course, the versions of these celebrities in Bojack’s world are always offbeat and unpredictable. In this series, Daniel Radcliffe is a spoiled brat, Jessica Biel goes mad with power and Lance Bass is a sea fish. But no celebrity guest in Bojack Horseman makes the same impression as character actress Margo Martindale.
She’s always willing to help Bojack without any questions. However, she is only available to help when she’s not biting people’s fingers off in prison or fleeing from the police on a boat. In season four, Martindale was shown lost at sea and presumed dead. However, she did return in the other seasons as well to wreak havoc and add a quirky element to the animated comedy.
7) Rush Limbaugh – Family Guy
Rush Limbaugh is probably the most infamous Right Wing radio personality in America. The creator of Family Guy, Seth McFarlane, has always been open about liberal politics. Due to their different political stands, one wouldn’t expect these two men to be working together. Yet McFarlane and Limbaugh have voiced their respect for each other, as Limbaugh has guest starred on Family Guy thrice.
Two of his appearances were brief cameos in the Star Wars parody episodes. His role in the episode Excellence in Broadcasting was more significant, where he temporarily convinces the outspoken liberal Brian to become a Republican. The episode got mixed reviews.
~ Hope you enjoyed the list!