Oodles of special guest stars were par for course over the seven seasons of 30 Rock—and familiar faces also abound on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Tina Fey and Robert Carlock’s follow-up. Some stars are universally known to TV fans (hi, Jon Hamm!), while others are slightly more obscure to mainstream audiences—Broadway aficionados will delight at the presence of Jefferson Mays, for example, while Twihards may be thrilled to find Gil Birmingham.
The show, about a woman living in New York after being imprisoned in a bunker by a cult leader for 15 years, is of course led by an incredibly funny cast that includes Ellie Kemper as the titular character, Tituss Burgess as her Broadway-wannabe roommate, Carol Kane as their landlord, and Jane Krakowski as Kimmy’s rich boss.
But who else pops up over the course of the first season?
Mike Britt, Mr. Bankston, Opening Credits/Episodes 1, 12, 13
The man behind “They alive, dammit,” who later appears to warn Titus about viral fame, is a stand-up comedian.
Best line: “Females are strong as hell.” Duh.
Matt Lauer as himself, Episode 1
Matt Lauer does his Matt Lauer-cameos-on-a-show thing by playing Matt Lauer interviewing Kimmy and the rest of the Mole Women on the Today show.
Best line: “I’m always amazed at what women will do because they are afraid of being rude.”
Horatio Sanz as Hector, Episode 2
Sanz pops up as leader of a mariachi band, who joins forces with Titus to stand up to a costume shop.
Best line: “And my mother cleans our costumes every night after she tucks us into the bed we all share.”
Gil Birmingham as Virgil, Episode 3, 13
The Twilight star plays Jacqueline Voorhees’ dad, Virgil. As a rebellious teen, Krakowski’s character left behind her Native American parents and became a stewardess.
Best line: “That’s why we came all this way in the great iron eagle. I’m kidding. I know what planes are; I was in the air force.”
James Monroe Iglehart as Coriolanus Burt,Episode 4
The Tony-winning star of Aladdin on Broadway plays Titus’ nemesis, Coriolanus Burt. Their pairing is doubly funny because Burgess also has experience in a Disney show on Broadway: He originated the role of Sebastian the Crab in The Little Mermaid.
Best line: “Me, just passing by on the way to tape a podcast!”
Martin Short as Dr. Grant/Franff, Episode 4
Short is nearly unrecognizable and totally terrifying as plastic surgeon Kimmy‘s answer to Dr. Leo Spaceman, who has had so much work done he can barely speak.
Best line: [Wordless garbles.] (Sorry—this one needs to be seen rather than read.)
Richard Kind as Mr. Leftkovitz, Episode 6
When Kimmy attempts to get her GED, she’s given a deadbeat teacher (Kind) who has a thing for Beverly D’Angelo, uses Major League as his lesson plan, and dreams of being placed in a Rubber Room.
Best line: “A Fangelo? Yeah, ever since Vacation.”
Mark Harelik as Julian Voorhees, Episode 7
Jacqueline’s husband finally appears in the form of actor Mark Harelik, whom you may recognize from films like Election and Jurassic Park III. Sure, he’s not having an affair with Yuko—that’s a robot—but that doesn’t mean he’s completely faithful to Jacqueline.
Best line: “… a technology to the market that will change the face of healthcare, the service industry, and one day, I truly believe, prostitution.”
Amy Sedaris as Mimi Kanasis, Episode 8
At first, it seems that Amy Sedaris is (unfortunately) playing a sane person, someone Kimmy calls upon to show Jacqueline that life after divorce isn’t that bad. Thank God that doesn’t last for long, because Sedaris is best at her loopiest—and here she gets to lick a marble countertop.
Best line: “Italy? I was in Naples, Florida. And Boyfriend is the name of my loneliness therapy dog!”
Tim Blake Nelson as Randy, Episodes 9, 12, and 13
Look: Randy, Kimmy’s stepfather, is a mess. He’s a bad detective, and has a surprising taste for heroin. Still, his heart is in the right place.
Best line: “I let that stupid sign language talking gorilla trick me into helping him escape from the Durnsville zoo.”
Kiernan Shipka as Kymmi, Episode 9
Sally Draper herself gets to put on her best teen angst-face as Kymmi, Kimmy’s soup, salad, and breadsticks-craving half sister.
Best line: “And here I am in New York, home of the Empire State Building…of Olive Gardens.”
Christine Ebersole as Helene, Episode 10
Broadway star Christine Ebersole pops up as Xanthippe’s real mother.
Best Line: “Xanthippe Lannister Vorhees, if this is your idea of a joke, you belong in a Woody Allen film—because I am not laughing.”
Dean Norris as Le Loup, Episode 10
Titus gets lessons on how to be straight from Hank Schrader himself.
Best line: [After Titus remarks on the men of Entourage being “almost too straight:”] “Like they’re compensating for something? Two of them are…”
Jefferson Mays as Daddy, Episode 10
The star of Daddy’s Boy, the (fake) 1938 musical Kimmy’s boyfriend Logan (Adam Campbell) references, is actually the real-life star of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder on Broadway. Mays won a Tony in 2004 for I Am My Own Wife.
Best line: “Daddy’s boy! He’s got a daddy that he brings such joy.”
John Cullum as Daddy’s Daddy, Episode 10
Also appearing in Daddy’s Boy? Legendary theater actor John Cullum.
Best line: “And a daddy’s boy daddy’s daddy!”
Nic Rouleau as Daddy’s Boy, Episode 10
And the third member of the Daddy’s Boy triumvirate is Nic Rouleau, who has played Elder Price in The Book of Mormon on Broadway and in the West End.
Best line: “My daddy’s tall and sweet like a candy cane.”
Robert Osborne as himself, Episode 10
Elsewhere in the Daddy’s Boy gag—which should have theses written about it—Robert Osborne, the beloved host of Turner Classic Movies, pops up to give some background on the film.
Best line: “Coming up next, an encore presentation of Daddy’s Boy. No! We had a deal!”
Nick Kroll as Tristafé, Episode 11
Kimmy gets lured by the wiles of Tristafé at a SoulCycle-esque spinning studio—which is basically a cult, as spinning studios are wont to be. But with Tristafé, everything is just an illusion.
Best line: “Be like a drunk girl getting out of a cab and leave everything behind.”
Jon Hamm, Richard Wayne Gary Wayne, Episodes 11, 12, and 13
The big guns come out in episode 11, with the reveal that Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne—who imprisoned Kimmy and three others in that bunker—is none other than Don Draper. (Hamm, you’ll remember, is also a veteran of 30 Rock.) And while it may seem unlikely, Don and Wayne have something in common: They are both excellent salesmen.
Best line: “I believe in Gosh, and his son Jeepers, and the Holy Ghost—who is here today, supporting me. Don’t let that influence you.”
Tina Fey as Marcia, Episodes 11, 12, and 13
On the other hand, when Fey makes her own appearance on the show, her character has little in common with Liz Lemon. Marcia is part of the legal team that’s supposed to help put Richard Wayne Gary Wayne in jail.
Best line: “Hey, I’m not paying Orlando prices for female condoms.”
Jerry Minor as Chris, Episodes 11, 12, and 13
Chris, the other half of the ineffectual legal team defending the Mole Women, is Minor, a veteran of SNL, Mr. Show, and Community.
Best line: “More like Debra Schwinger!”
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