Everybody has something in their past that’s weird or embarrassing. Of course, when you’re an actor, those weird and embarrassing things tend to be immortalized on film and a-holes like me seek out those embarrassing and weird moments for purposes of mockery. Of course, some of these early pre-fame performances are just a little bit weirder than the rest and because we here at Guyism believe in preserving history, we thought we’d gather these performances together in one informative place. You know, for posterity. Oh, and for relentless mockery too. Can’t forget that. Anyway, in that spirit, here are nine of the weirdest pre-fame celebrity cameos.
9 Jack Nicholson – ‘Little Shop of Horrors’
Yeah, that’s Jack Nicholson as a dude who gets off on going to the dentist, and more specifically as a dude who gets off on the pain inflicted by his dentist. It’s not so much that it’s weird to see Nicholson play this kind of role – honestly it kind of fits him – as it is that this role existed in the first place. I mean, there are a lot of weird fetishes in the world, but dentistry? Whoever wrote Little Shop of Horrors probably needs to be committed. But hey, kudos to Jack for making the role extra weird by, well, by acting like an especially hammy version of Jack Nicholson.
8 Jackie Chan – ‘Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow’
For maximum weirdness fast forward to about the 1:15 mark where Jackie is given what appears to be a backbreaker by his weird old Chinese Kung Fu master and then rocked like a baby before, uh, I don’t even know what in the hell to call it – reverse crab walking? It’s weird as hell. That aside, the whole training montage in the film is weird, with the old man randomly attacking and abusing Jackie. It’s like one of the training montages from Rocky on acid.
7 Adam Sandler – ‘The Cosby Show’
There was no way I could keep Sandler’s appearance on Cosby off this list. I mean just the thought of Adam friggin’ Sandler interacting with Bill Cosby is enough to make me laugh, what with each of them doing weird voices and pulling stupid cartoon faces. It would probably look like two mental patients having an argument. But that mental image aside, the whole idea of Adam Sandler on The Cosby Show just seems completely incongruous, doesn’t it? I just can’t wrap my head around it because it’s too weird. Just looking at the picture makes me want to laugh.
6 Clint Eastwood – ‘Revenge of the Creature’
It’s not really the role that’s weird – Clint plays a lab assistant – but that Clint seems completely unhinged. It’s obvious that this is a dude who should not be playing lab assistants. In his first shot he looks like he’s on meth or something, with a weirdly pinched desperate expression on his face as he gibbers on about lab rats. Of course it doesn’t help that his acting here is atrocious, amateurish dreck that makes you wonder how the hell he broke it big in the first place. Then again, for the first decade of his career Clint barely had to speak in his movies. He just had to stand around, look cool and shoot the occasional douchebag. I guess he should just be thankful that Sergio Leone never made him act with rats.
5 Ron Jeremy – ‘Ghostbusters’
Unfortunately, there’s no clip here, just a still, but that’s because Jeremy’s appearance in Ghostbusters amounted to a quick blink and you’ll miss him shot as an extra in the crowd. Because I’m weird I like to imagine Jeremy hanging around the set exchanging sex tips with Slimer or calling his junk a “proton pack.” This one is weird because, well hell, it’s Ron Jeremy in Ghostbusters. I guess now we know where they got the goo for the sliming scene.
4 Sean Connery – ‘Darby O’Gill and the Little People’
This is weird because it’s James Bond as an Irish caricature singing like a damn fool. I can only assume he later choked out the carriage driver with piano wire, downed a Martini – shaken, not stirred – and then sexed up his costar before the little people in the movie’s title kidnapped her and tied Connery to a conveyor belt with a diamond cutting laser at the end of it. In fact, from now on, I declare that to be the plot to Darby O’Gill and the Little People. It’s the lost Bond musical.
3 Jeremy Renner – ‘Senior Trip’
Renner sums it up nicely with his first line in the clip – this sucks. I’ve seen this movie an embarrassing number of times and until very recently I had no idea that Jeremy Renner played the lead. I mean, yeah, that’s obviously him but goddammit, that’s not the Jeremy Renner we’ve all come to know. That’s pretty much a totally different dude, which is what makes this so weird. If you would have told me that the dude who played Dags in Senior Trip would go on to take over the Bourne franchise and be one of the Avengers I would have started wandering the streets wearing a sandwich board and proclaiming that the end was near because, come on, there’s weird and then there’s friggin’ Dags turning into an action hero. Then again, in the clip he does show a propensity for doing some “Van Damage” so… who knows?
2 Laurence Fishburne – ‘Pee-Wee’s Playhouse’
Yup, that’s Laurence Fishburne aka Morpheus aka the badass dad in Boyz ‘N the Hood dressed as a gay cowboy taking love advice from an animatronic cow while Pee-Wee Herman cackles like an idiot in the background. I don’t have to say anything else. Just read that first sentence again.
1 Ryan Gosling – ‘The Mickey Mouse Club’
You might have heard that Ryan Gosling, also known as the brooding dude who your girlfriend would smother you in your sleep just to be with for two seconds, used to be on The Mickey Mouse Club, but it’s one thing to hear about it and another thing entirely to see it. So, just watch the clip. Gosling shows up at about the 35 second mark, singing backup on Jodeci’s “Cry For You” alongside another young unknown dude named Justin Timberlake. Yeah, this is a thing that actually happened. Skip ahead to about the 1:35 mark and I promise you that you will never look at Ryan Gosling the same way again. Good God.
(Previously published on September 4, 2012.)