Gumdrop Lane

The Best of Stars Playing Themselves

There is a point in a star’s life when they’re so famous that they’re invited into other folk’s creative works to play a version of themselves. When this happens, it’s like a star exploding inside a star. It’s magical and amazing. Not only are you seeing a beloved star with the cast of your favorite television show or in a great movie, you’re seeing them play a ridiculous version of themselves – a version that knows their life is completely absurd. Or a supremely true version of themselves that they’re able to share for the smallest of moments and pretend it’s all a joke, because really they are just a big horrible jerk.

I’m sure all these stars are great though. If they’re even half as great as the versions of themselves they play on screen, you can sign me up to fall in love with each and every one.

Kelsey Grammer on 30 Rock

Kelsey is a master con artist and a founding member of The Best Friends Gang, along with Kenneth and Jenna. Kelsey is truly a master of mischief, helping Jenna and Kenneth bilk the Carvel ice cream store out of tons of money and free ice cream cakes. He also puts on a mean one-man show as Abe Lincoln. I like to think Kelsey is just as cunning in real life and that Carvel gives him all the free ice cream he can eat.

Oprah on 30 Rock

“I’m snitting next to Borpo!” Liz excitedly proclaimed. And we were all jealous. Even though Oprah really just appeared as a hallucination of herself via Liz Lemon’s medicated imagination. The Oprah Liz thinks she sees, is in fact plucky tween superstar, Pam. Oprah does an amazing job playing both Liz’s version of Oprah and hybrid imaginary Oprah/Oprah-as-spunky-tween-Pam-as-Oprah. Way to GO-prah!

David Bowie in Zoolander

Nothing better than David Bowie popping into a movie out of the blue. And what better role could he ask for than that of a male model walk-off judge? Bowie is discerning and demanding, and just look at that frosted feathery hair! Beautiful, like a future robot male model walk-off judge angel.

Daniel Radcliffe in Extras – and Kate Winslet – and Ian McKellan and David Bowie – okay, just everyone who appeared Extras.

Extras is an amazing piece of television. A show where all stars play themselves and they’re all outstanding. Highlights for me include sex-crazed Daniel Radcliffe and his condom, and Kate Winslet, the naughty nun.

Patrick Stewart also deserves recognition. And Ian McKellan. All the stars on Extras do. Just go watch Extras and revel in the stars playing themselves. Just do us all a favor and watch it.

Carl Weathers on Arrested Development

He might not be the acting coach of whom Tobias dreamed, but he’s still a stud. What can I say? The man knows his stew.

Natalie Portman on Saturday Night Live

We met the true rapping Natalie Portman on SNL. You know, you might not know it from looking at her, but she really has a lot of personality.
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