For the ten years that Friends dominated the sitcom arena, it had it’s fair share of famous faces, particularly from the world of movies. Plenty of movie stars shared the screen with the famous friends, some playing against type and others stealing the screen or even the whole episode. I have rated the ten best here;
10. Alec Baldwin
Alec Baldwin played a character who dated Lisa Kudrow’s Pheobe and attended a wedding with her. At first she loved his enthusiasm but eventually it became very annoying, with Baldwin successfully upping the ante, finding everything amazing and stealing the scene with how much he loved bouncy plate dispensers and taking mental pictures.
9. Jon Favreau
It is slightly unfair to call Favreau’s appearance in Friends a cameo as he managed to stick around for a few episodes. His character, who finally got Courtney Cox’s Monica to cave and date him, tried his had at UFC with hilariously poor results. The cage fighting scene itself is a great showcase for his comic talents.
8. George Clooney
The best aspect of Clooney’s role in friends is the reaction he is giving to the events he is involved in. Jennifer Aniston’s Rachel is pretending to be Monica and vice-versa (with classic sitcom results) and it is up to Clooney (and ER co-star, also cameoing Noah Wyle) to offer the reactions. Clooney oozes charm, even in a relatively small role.
7. Kathleen Turner
Again, this is a recurring role but one that steals the show. Kathleen Turner plays Father to Matthew Perry’s Chandler. The awkwardness that Perry demonstrates while Turner plays it so “straight” is great. In episodes like Chandler and Monica’s wedding, Turner manages to shine above plenty of other guest stars.
6. Ben Stiller
Ben Stiller was famous but not uber-famous when he played the role of an angry-man in Friends. The way everyone else except Rachel managed to see it, was a good storyline and when he verbally attacks Ross it feels so un-Stiller it makes it a much funnier watch in retrospect, knowing the kind of roles he is now known for.
5. Danny Devito
The show was coming to an end when Danny Devito made his cameo but it is a great one. He plays an overweight, under-height stripper. The pathetic attempts to strip are initially great, with all the female friends reacting well, but he comes into his own when he performs the dance properly, showing Devito still has the comedy timing and talent.
4. Gary Oldman
Gary Oldman plays an old-fashioned, classically trained actor alongside the opposite in everyway Matt Le Blanc as Joey. The real success to the role is in two different storylines, the first being Oldman teaching Joey about “spit-acting” culminating in a disgusting scene and the other is Oldman acting drunk. He manages to be the funniest thing in two separate episodes.
3. Robin Williams and Billy Crystal
This works so well because it is so random. The actors have nothing to do with any episode plot or storyline at all. They just perch themselves at the end of the famous coffee shop sofa and have a conversation. A very funny conversation. Williams plays it up for laughs while Crystal perfectly dead-pans like a classic straight-man. As quick as they arrive they disappear, but make a very funny mark doing it.
2. Bruce Willis
A recurring role again but a great one. Bruce Willis would play the father of a student David Schwimmer’s Ross was dating. Through the episodes he would play a scary, intimidating, classic Willis role. It comes to a head when Ross catches Willis talking to himself in a mirror, with a great rendition of “sex machine” to top it all off.
1. Brad Pitt
This is slightly tinged with bittersweet sadness considering Pitt and Aniston split but it doesn’t stop the role working so well. The comedy isn’t just in how Pitt plays it, goofy and obnoxious and clearly enjoying himself, but it is because he is playing the role of a man who hates Rachel. The way he interacts with her and Ross make the scene and it becomes one of the most memorable cameos, in TV as well as Friends generally.
Overall, here are ten of the best cameos by movie stars but there are many more I could have mentioned. In it’s ten year run it successfully included plenty of major stars, both after and before they were famous. If there were any you think I should have included then let me know below…