Celebrity cameos in film and TV have been a frequent occurrence forever. We don’t expect that they’ll ever fully disappear completely, but we wouldn’t mind if they slowed down a little. Acting is a profession. It’s an art that people train many years for and take very seriously. While many people, both regular and celebrities from other worlds, like to imagine that they could do it if given the chance, they almost certainly can not. Even when a celebrity does a short cameo, meaning they’re playing themselves in a film or a TV show, they are still acting a part. For this reason, it’s not as simple as “acting normal.” It doesn’t quite work like that. That’s why we always get such terrible celebrity cameos. We’re asking people who aren’t actors and can’t act to act.
Whenever people talk about the worst celebrity cameos, they often point to moments when famous people played characters on TV shows or movies. Paris Hilton on Supernatural, Kevin Federline on CSI, Busta Rhymes on Halloween: Resurrection are examples that pop up a lot. Those aren’t cameos, folks. Those are terrible attempts by celebrities at playing a character other than themselves. What we’ve done is gone out and collected the worst and most embarrassing actual cameos. These are the ones that everyone is familiar with. These are cameos that people missed. You won’t find any massive movies here, but you will find huge celebrities awkwardly playing themselves when they shouldn’t have. Some of the examples might have even been well known at the time, but we’ve forgotten about them over the years. We’re here to help you remember.
15. Sly Stallone – Taxi 3
In the intro to the French film, Taxi 3, Sylvester Stallone makes a surprising cameo as a passenger in the taxi. Now Stallone can act, but since he doesn’t speak a lick of French, they had his voice dubbed over using someone who was essentially doing a Stallone impression whilst speaking French. It’s ridiculous. Sly needs to get to the airport, so the taxi driver races there, getting the attention of the police in the process. After a chase sequence and the use of the taxi’s nitrous oxide system, the cops are left behind. When Stallone gets to the airport, a helicopter comes to pick him up, but, rather than land on the ground, it drops a harness down for the action hero to latch onto. If it seems like a strange movie for Stallone do, it is. The film did well in France, but Stallone must have been searching for roles at the bottom of barrel to take this one.
14. Michael Phelps – Entourage
Michael Phelps may seem like the most straight-laced guy there is, born and raised in the suburbs, training at an elite swimming school from a very young age, son of a state trooper. But when Phelps does cameos in TV shows, like the one he did in Entourage, he’s a thug. Maybe it’s the influence of rap music he listens to or maybe he plays himself on camera as the person he wants to be. Whatever the explanation is, Phelps’ cameo in Entourage, a show that has had more than its fair share of embarrassing cameos, was quite simply the worst. It was a blink and you’ll miss it appearance, but it leaves a mark. As Eric (Kevin Connolly) walks down the street talking on the phone to the always-yelling Ari (Jeremy Piven), he bumps into a passing pedestrian. The man, who turns around and reveals himself to be Phelps, says in the most uncomfortably wannabe-thug voice, “Yo. Watch out man. Wassup.”
13. Redman – Seed of Chucky
In the Child’s Play sequel that never should have happened, Seed of Chucky, Redman plays Redman. In the film, Redman is preparing for his directorial debut and Jennifer Tilley wants the starring role. In an attempt to mock Hollywood’s structure, Tilley sleeps with Redman and lands the part. Eventually she gets cut from the movie because she’s pregnant and Redman is killed, but none of that is important. What’s important is that Redman chose the wrong movie to cameo in. Having said that, he doesn’t do himself or the film any favors with some truly brutal acting. Redman is known for having at least a shred of comedic talent, having done a serviceable job in How High, but this is low brow at its worst. Redman obviously plays an exaggerated version of himself, but all his attempts at humor hit the audience like a sucker punch to the jaw. It is shameful really.
12. Charles Barkley – Look Who’s Talking Now
The film Look Who’s Talking Now is the third in the Look Who’s Talking franchise and the most interesting of them all. In one of the best and worst scenes in the film, the little girl, Julie (Tabitha Lupien), watches a Phoenix Suns game with her Charles Barkley doll in hand. As she watches Barkley dunk, she gets pulled into a daydream. We’re transported to a horribly lit basketball court and there stands Barkley. After he performs a series of elementary dunks, the little girl approaches and snarls, “let’s get busy.” She and Barkley then perform a sequence of dribbles before she absolutely posterizes him. Since Barkley’s acting is a serious liability, his lines consisted of only “me?” and several grunts. Overall, this has to be high on his list of most embarrassing moments, and that list has a lot of entries.
11. Kim Kardashian – 2 Broke Girls
Before the premiere of the fourth season of 2 Broke Girls, it was announced that Kim Kardashian would have a cameo in the episode. Like most of her appearances on television, Kim plays herself in the episode in another feeble attempt to tell the world that she knows she’s made fun of, but she doesn’t care. She’s in on the joke. Like everything she does, the cameo is self-indulgent and embarrassing. Sounding more and more like Paris Hilton everyday, Kim ‘valley girls’ her way through the lines and spouts off some garbage about how hard “us” women work. Kim, you’re not fooling anyone.
10. Macy Gray – Spider-Man 2
In Spider-Man 2, New York City throws a Festival celebrating Unity Day and Spider-Man does his usual heroics. But, before all that, at the beginning of the festival, musician Macy Gray is announced on stage as the performer. We’ll admit that in 2002, when Spider-Man 2 came out, Macy Gray was still a little popular. It would have been more timely if the film came out a couple of years earlier, like 1999 when her biggest hits were still hits, but, since she did win a Grammy in 2001, we can’t be too mad. But the cameo feels awkward because it’s so small and insignificant. It’s like the filmmakers wanted to keep Gray in the background because they knew how little impact it would have on audiences. Oh, Macy Gray. I’ve heard that one song. Were they too cheap to get a real star? And it’s not like this is NYC showing love to one of their own either. Gray is from Ohio.
9. Larry David – Hannah Montana
Alright, so Larry David’s cameo on Hannah Montana was done because his daughters loved the show and wanted to be on it. That’s a really sweet reason for him to set this up, but you’ve got to wonder why he did his regular Larry David shtick. Watching it as an adult who loves David’s comedy, it seems like a great cameo, but how many actual Hannah Montana fans appreciated or even understood what was happening. Great parenting aside, you have to wonder if David was a bit embarrassed to be there. Now we’re not saying that Hannah Montana is some terrible show, it’s just that the demographics of that Disney channel show and that of Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm couldn’t be more opposite. It had to have crossed his mind if anyone watching would even recognize him, aside from the parents and the odd adult watching a children’s television show.
8. Pete Wentz – One Tree Hill
Pete Wentz is one of those names that sounds familiar, but you’re not sure why. Even back during the height of Fall Out Boy’s success, Wentz, the bassist and backup vocalist in the band, had a three-episode cameo in One Tree Hill and the show-runners were clearly aware that Wentz is a bit of an unknown. Now One Tree Hill had several celebrities cameo on the show, but Wentz was the worst of all. The reason it was so bad, aside from the horrible acting, was that they continuously had to remind the audience who he was. Each time he showed up on camera, someone would say, Oh, hi Pete Wentz from Fall Out Boy. In the episodes, Wentz gets to make-out with a couple of the women on set, so we know why he took the cameo, but why would the show-runners want a cameo if they knew no one would recognize it?
7. Vanilla Ice – Ninja Turtles
Is Vanilla Ice’s cameo in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 the best cameo of all time or the worst? It’s getting harder and harder to tell. Even though many people have seen this cameo, we wanted to trigger some memories for all those who forgot about this gem. As Vanilla Ice performs on stage, the mutant turtles bust in and the song shifts to “Go Ninja Go.” At first, there’s nothing too weird. Sure, the crowd seems perfectly at ease that these mutants have joined the party, but, when the Foot Clan break in and an all-out brawl starts on the dance floor, Mr. Ice starts rapping about what he’s seeing, about the turtles and the fight. Then you clue in. Vanilla Ice is freestyling. You’re witnessing history. It’s remarkable. What’s even better is that, as the crowd cheers on the ruthless beat down of the Foot Clan, Ice and his bandmates continue dancing away on stage, even though not a person in the building is watching them.
6. Kanye West – The Love Guru
You would think that Kanye West doesn’t need a lot of room to embarrass himself. Almost everything this guy says and does should be humiliating, but West’s ego is simply too well-fortified to suffer any form of embarrassment. Yet, even West is probably embarrassed by his cameo in The Love Guru. At the end of this truly miserable film, West and Mike Myers are shown to be celebrating the victory of the greatest hockey team on Earth, the Toronto Maple Leafs. They’re both shown in the blue and white and West is screaming “I love hockey.” It’s supposed to be funny because West doesn’t really like hockey? Maybe they thought there’s no way that West could like hockey, so this will get the audience giggling. It could be because West never shows any emotion and he does in the clip. We don’t know. Whatever they were trying to do, it wasn’t funny in the least.
5. Snoop Dogg – 90210
Leading up to the release of the 90210 remade television show, fans were excited. Then, after the first episode aired, the excitement evaporated. There is one episode worth watching though. It came in the third season and Dixon (Tristan Wilds) bumps into Snoop Dogg at a car wash. Rather than introduce himself, like a normal person, Dixon begins to rap “Gin & Juice” hoping that Snoop Dogg will join in? It’s a painful sequence. To be honest, Snoop’s performance isn’t all that bad in the cameo. It’s Dixon who makes everyone watching extremely uncomfortable. It’s made out to be a cute moment as a young man meets his idol, but it feels like a desperate attempt to drive ratings up, shoehorning a well-known celebrity into the story. It’s unbearable watching this kid gush over a celebrity when he could easily hire Snoop Dogg to play a set in his living room with the extra millions of dollars these rich kids have lying around the house.
4. Michelle Obama – iCarly
Everyone loves the Obama family. Especially now that they’ve left the White House, criticism of them is at an all time low. Yet, even when Barack Obama was the president, his wife, Michelle, was well-received by pretty much everyone. She seems like a genuinely lovely person. But her acting. Oh no. That should never happen again. In an effort to cram in a promotional spot for Michelle’s Joining Forces initiative, the iCarly show-runners had Michelle come on the show to congratulate and commend the characters for supporting Carly’s military father. Michelle looks like she’s addressing the nation as she delivers the most awkwardly well prepared speech you’ve ever seen to a group of children. It’s about as wooden as dialogue can get and, even though we love her, we hate her for what she did to the that episode.
3. John Travolta – Boris and Natasha
In 1992, someone got the idea to bring the villains from Rocky and Bullwinkle to live action, making the movie Boris and Natasha: The Movie. Really the entire thing was made into a movie because the producer, Johnathan Krane, wanted to produce a movie that his wife, Sally Kellerman, could star in. Thus, one of the worst movies in history was born. Since John Travolta was a client of Krane, he agreed to do a cameo. To show just how down in the dumps Travolta’s career was in 1992 (Pre-Pulp Fiction), the cameo consists of Travolta knocking on a door, having Boris (Dave Thomas) open it for a brief moment and then slam it in Travolta’s face. That’s it! It lasted for a total of about three seconds and Travolta was gone.
2. Coolio – Leprechaun in the Hood
There’s a good chance that no movie will ever be as strange and delightful as Leprechaun in the Hood, but amidst all the awe-inspiring silliness of the film, Coolio’s cameo still feels odd. The scene happens as everyone is gathered in a church. Suddenly and for no reason whatsoever, Coolio appears at the back of the church. The characters even ask, is that Coolio? You think there’s going to be an explanation. Then the characters bust out into a rap about Jesus Christ and Christianity. For a movie that doesn’t take itself very seriously, this scene seems honest, even as Coolio dances to the uncomfortably brutal song. After showing a couple of shots of Coolio vibing out to the sweet rhymes, the song even ends and the rapper’s gone. His name is never spoken again. It’s as confusing a cameo as you’ll find, almost as if it wasn’t planned.
1. Bristol Palin – The Secret Life of the American Teenager
You think you’ve seen the worst acting in the world? Well, if you haven’t seen the episode of The Secret Life of the American Teenager that has the Bristol Palin, daughter of Sarah Palin, cameo, you haven’t seen anything yet. In the show that made Shailene Woodley famous, Palin makes an appearance to try and normalize her own teenage pregnancy in the eyes of voting Americans. Palin plays a robot sent to deliver encouraging words to Woodley’s human character. No, that would actually make sense. You’ve got to treat yourself and watch this cameo because it will teach you a wonderful lesson. It will show you that no matter how bad you mess up in life, somewhere out there there’s an actual person who, even after watching rehearsal and filming, thought that showcasing Bristol Palin’s acting on national television was a good idea.