Since its debut in 1989, the TV sitcom Seinfeld has been labeled as the show about nothing, and it’s gone on to become one of the most beloved and culturally significant programs in TV history. Seinfeld provided a riveting comedic slice of life for four friends, but it’s amazing how many celebrities showed up for special appearances on the show throughout its nine-season run. Here’s a look at some of the most famous guest stars who appeared on Seinfeld and how they added unexpected laughs and fun to the show.
Iconic comedian Whoopi Goldberg (Ghost, Sister Act) dropped into the Seinfeld universe in the Season 3 episode, “The Subway.” When Jerry (Jerry Seinfeld) steps into a New York City subway train car to find out it’s crowded with a group of noisy bratty kids who are irritating the passengers, Whoopi Goldberg’s character is one of the passengers. She agrees to join Jerry in a protest, infuriating the kids and prompting them to leave.
Legendary stand-up comic and former member of The Rat Pack, Joey Bishop, guest starred in two episodes—“The Telephone” in Season 3, and “The Beard” in Season 8. In his first appearance, Bishop played an old-time Hollywood movie star and old acquaintance of Jerry’s father. In the second episode, Bishop played an elderly guard at the set of Monk’s Café, who disapproved of Kramer and Newman (Michael Richards and Wayne Knight) posing as religious men at the restaurant.
A year into the show’s run, in the third season of Seinfeld, music legend Cher guest starred in the Season 3 episode “The Pony Remark,” playing herself. Jerry, who was a frequent attendee of her concerts, tries to score backstage passes from her but mistakenly offends her by comparing her age with that of her mother, played in the episode by the great Estelle Harris.
Popular TV and film actor and stand-up comic, Fred Stoller, guest starred in a few Seinfeld episodes, starting from Season 5. He played the obsessed fan of Jerry’s who follows him around town and gushes about when Jerry was on the Tonight Show (as well as wearing the same clothes he wore on the show). Stoller was last seen in the Season 8 episode “The Van Buren Boys,” where he plays a Jewish gangster.
Danny Woodburn, known for his hilarious supporting roles in Nemesis and Miracle on 34th Street, guest starred twelve times on Seinfeld as Mickey Abbott, Kramer’s (Michael Richards) tiny but feisty friend. He first appeared in the Season 5 episode “The Fire” and then continued to appear sporadically throughout the series. During his tenure, Mickey and Kramer had a lobster dinner fight, started a pet store and a business called Mickey’s Roasters.
Tommy Lee Jones
Before becoming an Academy Award-winning actor for his performance in The Fugitive, Tommy Lee Jones appeared in the sixth season episode of Seinfeld, “The Cadillac.” In the episode, Jones plays the role of an old Vietnam buddy of George’s (Jason Alexander), who George has been avoiding. Jones not only nails every humiliating line that is thrown at him, but also displays his great comedic timing.
Bob Balaban, an actor-director who has appeared in many well-known films like Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Moonrise Kingdom, made a memorable appearance in the seventh season episode, “The Pool Guy.” In the episode, Balaban plays Jack, a swimming pool maintenance man that Kramer is trying to enlist to become his own personal pool-man.
Familiar face Patrick Warburton made a three-episode appearance on Seinfeld as Puddy, an obnoxious and testosterone-filled car salesman and Elaine’s (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) on-and-off boyfriend. Of course, his classic “Buh-yans!” classic line will make any fan of Seinfeld smile.
Martial Arts film star Ralph Macchio appeared in the ninth season of the show, in the episode “The Frogger.” Macchio guest stars as a parking garage attendant, who uses George’s Zipper Jacket as a coat when the gang try to get their hands on an old Frogger arcade machine from the parking garage.
Young pop icon Britney Spears had a one-episode appearance on the show in the ninth season episode “The Soup Nazi.” When the gang visits the legendary soup stand, Spears makes an appearance as a customer who received extra-special treatment from the friendly Soup Nazi chiefly because of her flashy “Hot Tea In A Glass” t-shirt.
Famous face Kathy Griffin may have been cast in the show’s last episode (which aired in May of 1998), but she definitely left the Seinfeld house with a bang—playing the part of the waitress and Jerry’s girlfriend in the episode. Griffin played the part perfectly, staying serious and silent until the end, when Jerry drives off in the Winnebago, leaving her standing alone on the street.
The appearance of these big-name celebrities made the Seinfeld show even more accessible, lovable and popular—adding that extra dose of enjoyment for the watching audience. With guest appearances from these famous celebrities and many other iconic figures, Seinfeld remains an all-time favorite for fans around the world.