While perhaps not every guest star who appeared on “30 Rock” made comedy gold, I find myself having to dig deep through all the treats to find a dud. Some guest stars made a one-off appearance on the NBC sitcom, and some did multiple episode arcs while others would appear at least once or twice a season.
It seemed like the writers found the perfect characters and wrote to each guest star’s particular strengths. They (mostly) managed to fit seamlessly into Liz Lemon’s personal universe populated by her rag-tag group of co-workers…whom she often had to treat as children.
So, while you may never see another new episode of “30 Rock” you can always look back and remember the good times. Or watch reruns. Heck, according to direct.tv you could even stream them from your DVR to your smartphone or tablet if you’re a DirecTV subscriber. Or log on to NBC.com or even Hulu.com.
Jon Hamm as Dr. Drew Baird
Who wouldn’t want to try to join Jon Hamm in the Bubble? Between Hamm’s stints on “Saturday Night Live” and “30 Rock,” he proved his versatility as an actor. Add “comedic” as a prefix to “actor,” forevermore. Don Draper, took temporary steps to the side, because Dr. Drew Baird brought the laughs. Thankfully, just because Liz Lemon couldn’t handle the pediatrician’s overwhelming handsomeness–and its subtly manipulative effects on everyone around him–didn’t mean we wouldn’t be treated to repeat appearances from Hamm; handless as he eventually became.
Will Arnett as Devon Banks
Arnett served as the perfect nemesis for Jack Donaghy. Arnett’s portrayal of Jack Donaghy’s formidable foe, whose equally deep voice really should have resulted in a low talker contest between the two moguls, was always fun with his plays for power, as well as his weakness for the ever-naive Kenneth Parcell. With plenty of smarmy charm, it was always a whiplash-inducing tennis match watching him and Donaghy make their respective plays for dominance.
Elaine Strich as Colleen Donaghy
Elaine Strich was perfectly cast as Jack Donaghy’s tough mom who carried general disdain for Jackie boy’s love interests, but she did have as soft a spot in her hard-coated heart as possible for Liz Lemon. Her relative affection didn’t prevent her from giving Liz as tough a time as she gave her son. From Jack backing up and hitting her, seeing only her tights-clad legs fly in the air, to her fantastic funeral, Strich was a classy and indispensable, albeit entirely shrewish, addition to the list of recurring guest stars.
Alan Alda as Milton Greene
Cast as Jack Donaghy’s deeply ironic biological father, Alan Alda is always a good idea. More a self-parody role for Alda since Milton Greene is a fairly accurate portrayal of the “MASH” actor himself. The added bonus of Alan Alda’s appearance was the cavalcade of guest stars his character’s need for a kidney inspired. “Kidney Now” brought together an impressive list that included Sheryl Crowe, the Beastie Boys (Ad Rock and Mike D), Mary J. Blige, Steve Earle, Wyclef Jean and so many other musical artists and actors.
The Honorable Mentions
Maybe this is a cheat, but here are a few more guest stars who deserve a mention. Chris Parnell‘s Dr. Leo Spacemen was always a creepy treat.
Brian Williams, the (real life) NBC Evening News anchor, was another surprise with his dry humor and good sportsmanship.
Guest post written by Scott. Cover photo from Flickr user Daniel P. Fleming.