30 Rock had some of the best characters in television history. Liz Lemon, Jack Donaghy, Tracy Jordan and so many more from the main cast consistently made the show hilarious. But another thing that made the show great were the guest stars. Whether they played themselves or other fictional characters, 30 Rock often featured major stars in small roles.
Here are 12 of the best guest stars from 30 Rock:
12. Octavia Spencer (herself)
Many famous actors appeared on the show as themselves. Or, more appropriately, exaggerated versions of themselves. One of the best was Octavia Spencer, who caused havoc on-set of a Harriet Tubman biopic directed by Tracy Jordan.
11. Jim Carrey (Dave Williams)
30 Rock mocked the trend of holiday-themed romantic comedy movies by creating a fake one called Leap Dave Williams. The titular character was played by comedy star Jim Carrey. And honestly, we’d actually probably go see that movie.
10. Buzz Aldrin (himself)
The second man on the moon became the first astronaut to appear on 30 Rock. In a hilarious scene, Aldrin actually yells and heckles at the moon, implying that he actually went there as a personal beef.
9. Don Cheadle (himself)
During the 2012 election, Don Cheadle appeared on 30 Rock in a fictional ad called “Black Americans for Romney.” Let’s just say, the ad probably wouldn’t help the campaign much.
8. Amy Poehler (Liz Lemon)
30 Rock aired a live episode during the show’s fifth season. It is perhaps one of the best episodes of television ever. But one of the most amusing moments is when Amy Poehler showed up portraying a young Liz Lemon during a flashback scene. If only they had made more live episodes.
7. Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Liz Lemon)
Speaking of that live episode, there were scenes on that show where Liz Lemon was required to be in a different scene immediately after her current one. But it would’ve been impossible for Tina Fey to make it to the next set in time. So the show decided to cast Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Liz Lemon in the scenes Fey couldn’t get to. You have to wonder how 30 Rock would’ve been different if Louis-Dreyfus had played Liz the entire run…
6. Oprah Winfrey (herself)
Oprah portrayed herself on an episode of 30 Rock in which she shares flight with Liz Lemon. The two have a wonderful chat before Lemon realizes she hallucinated the whole thing after taking drugs before getting on the plane. But it’s one of the rare times Oprah seemed willing to poke fun at herself.
5. Florence Henderson (herself)
In one episode of the show, Tracy Jordan brings Florence Henderson to NBC to try and cheer up Kenneth. Unfortunately, Henderson turns out to be a raging alcoholic with inappropriate relationships with men. She probably gets more laughs in this episode than all the characters in the entire run of The Brady Bunch get.
4. Matt Damon (Carol)
Matt Damon had a brief stint on 30 Rock as Liz Lemon’s boyfriend Carol. Despite being the star of the Bourne franchise, Damon was hilarious as a more meek and emotional pilot on the show.
3. Julianne Moore (Nancy Donovan)
Oscar-winner Julianne Moore played Jack Donaghy’s ex-girlfriend Nancy Donovan for six episodes of 30 Rock. She particularly showed off her acting chops with a wicked awesome Boston accent.
2. Carrie Fisher (Rosemary Howard)
Near the beginning of 30 Rock, Carrie Fisher appeared on the show as one of Liz Lemon’s comedy idols. However, when Lemon finally meets her, she realizes she’s actually incredibly bitter and didn’t have such a great life. Once again, Fisher showed how the glamor of Hollywood isn’t all that…well…glamorous.
1. Jon Hamm (Dr. Drew Baird, Abner)
Jon Hamm actually had multiple roles on 30 Rock. He originally played Liz Lemon’s boyfriend Dr. Drew Baird, but his most memorable appearance is when he played a caricature of a black TV character, Abner, which was meant to satirize how racist television was back in the 1950’s.