Who doesn’t love Sesame Street? For 48 seasons running, the kids’ PBS program has, through animation, sketch comedy, and puppetry—namely starring Big Bird, Cookie Monster, and Elmo—served up essential education lessons and fostered adoration from basically everyone. But of all the people who love Sesame Street, perhaps celebrities love it most of all.
The children’s show boasts of the most impressive lists of celebrity cameos, featuring everyone from former boy bands (NYSYNC, Backstreet Boys, One Direction) to late-nite hosts (Steven Colbert, Jimmy Fallon) to seemingly everyone who can claim SNL on their résumé. Making a guest appearance on Sesame Street show seems like a right of passage for stars, a requirement when rushing the exalted Greek org of Hollywood.
What this means for you, today: it’s highly amusing to see some your favorite current A-listers hang out with puppets you used to think were A-listers. Of course, watching approximately 1,098,389,029 episodes of television is a daunting task, so we parsed through the offerings for you. Without further ado, here are 50 of the best celebrity guest star appearances on Sesame Street. And for more amazing cameos, check out the 30 Celebrities You Forgot Appeared on Friends.
It’s no secret that Lindsay Lohan has been in the spotlight since she was a kid, but even before she played alongside herself in The Parent Trap, she earned a Sesame Street credit by singing along with Telly the Monster back in 1995. Who knew that adorable little girl with pigtails would own her own island one day? And for more on the grown-up child star, This Is What Lindsay Lohan Recently Had to Say about Donald Trump.
Jason Derulo is best known for the words “Jason Derulo” (for those not in the know, his trademark is: singing his own name at the beginning of any track he’s featured on). That’s why it’s almost uncanny to see him dance through an entire song with Elmo and Abby Cadabby without blurting out his full name. Also, Jason Derulo is a fantastic dancer. The things you can learn from watching Sesame Street! And for more amazing crossovers between the music and film industries, meet the 30 Musicians Who Are Dying to Be Successful Actors.
The Sharp Objects star has some serious acting accolades, including two Golden Globe wins and five Academy Award nominations. But that doesn’t mean she’s above children’s programming. In fact, she played the female lead roles in both The Muppets and Enchanted. So, it comes as no surprise that she totally nailed her 2011 guest appearance on Sesame Street, where she defined the word “ingredient” with Elmo.
We all know Jessica Alba is capable of sporting perfectly sculpted abs immediately after giving birth. But did you know she also excels at providing the word of the day for Elmo? The Sin City star broke down the word “scrumptious” in a 2012 episode, and claimed to love tasty foods such as corn and salad, and…suddenly those toned abs make more sense. And for more fitness envy, see these 50 Amazing Over-40 Bodies.
A crossover between the character of Gob from Arrested Development and the world of Sesame Street? You don’t see that every day… Nevertheless, here’s a 2008 clip of Will Arnett joining a scene with Big Bird to play an inept magician with way too much confidence. Hey, you’ll never hear us complaining about more Gob.
Remember when boy bands ruled the world? Well, apparently the Backstreet Boys’ cool reputations were so strong in 2002 that they could sing a song on Sesame Street and still be considered heart throbs. Their game was seriously indestructible.
In a 2010 cameo meant to delight both children and any Sex and the City fan, SJP helped Grover find “big.” For any of you who aren’t keeping up, this is a shout-out to the romance between Carrie and Big on Sex and the City. Surely, all of the parents and babysitters watching appreciated the bit. Next, check out these 40 Hilariously Impractical Things That Always Happen in Movies.
In typical Janelle Monae fashion, she showed up to the scene clad in her typical getup and managed to make her cameo, in the 45th season, the epitome of cool and chic. How does she do it?
David Beckham and his squeaky accent made a guest appearance in an episode during Sesame Street’s 39th season. In this segment, Beckham tells us about the word of the day—and, based on his widely pilloried turn in King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, the performance here seems like the role of a lifetime.
Before he charmed audiences with witty one-liners in Deadpool and a thousand rom-coms, Ryan Reynolds dropped by Sesame Street in 2010 to play the iconic role of the letter A in “The A Team.” And for more on the actor behind the Merc with a Mouth, See Ryan Reynolds’ Inspiring Words about Battling Anxiety.
Another episode, another guest appearance from a boy band. Back in season 31, NSYNC graced the Sesame Street screen to remind kids to believe in themselves—through song. Most importantly, Justin Timberlake wore a bucket hat with a frayed rim.
Mark Ruffalo exhibited his acting range by defining the word “empathy” in an episode during the 42nd season. Maybe his most famous character (the always-enraged Incredible Hulk) could learn a thing or two from this segment.
Sure, Thelma & Louise is a classic film, but did you know Susan Sarandon also played an important role in Sesame Street All-Star 25th Birthday: Stars and Street Forever! Well, now you do. Sarandon gave a stellar performance as Bitsy in the 1994 TV Special, which centered around the character of Ronald Grump—a parody of Donald Trump.
This may come as a surprise to some fans of the frequently yelling comedy star, but Adam Sandler had a very earnest scene with Elmo back in 2009 in which he writes him a song. Who knew the guy could be so sweet?
Here’s one for all you Hamilton fans (so, basically everyone). Lin-Manuel Miranda played a rhyming, singing real estate agent named Freddy Flapman in episode 4187. Unsurprisingly, he really committed to the bit and knocked it out of the park.
As Jon Stewart pointed out during an on-air bit, Stephen Colbert once played the pivotal role of the letter Z in Sesame Street’s All Star Alphabet. The guest appearance took place in 2005, which is the same year The Colbert Report aired. Who knows: Maybe playing the letter Z is what kickstarted Colbert’s career.
After poking fun at Colbert for having appeared on Sesame Street, Jon Stewart made an appearance himself. In 2007, the late night star taped a segment from his own set, where he demonstrated what the word “practice” means. To be fair, that’s not quite as embarrassing as dressing up and dancing around as the last letter of the alphabet.
Before Beyoncé went solo and became one of America’s most beloved icons, she made her Sesame Street debut alongside her fellow members of Destiny’s Child. Because it was 2002, she was sporting a red leather beret, which is reason enough to watch the clip.
Though one should never listen to what Michael Scott from The Office (far and away Carrell’s most famous role) has to say, we would recommend that you lend an ear to Steve Carell’s message in his Sesame Street appearance. During season 43, Carrell joined Elmo and Abby Cadabby teach kids about what it means to vote. A valuable lesson indeed.
The reassuring voice of Anderson Cooper lent itself to Sesame Street back in 2007, when he played a reporter on GNN, a cute, if not obvious, spoof of CNN. During this bit, he delivered some hard-hitting journalism and investigated the letter G.
When you hear Tracy Chapman, you most likely think of cruising down the highway while belting out the chorus to “Fast Car.” But unbeknownst to most, she also had a couple of musical appearances on Sesame Street in both Season 21 and 29. Good luck getting “Fast Car” out of your head for the remainder of the day.
Unlike a lot of celebrities on this list, Jim Carrey is one that doesn’t come as much of a surprise. His ability to twist his face into outrageous, goofy expressions and body movements lends itself perfectly to children’s television. He did exactly that in his 1993 cameo on Sesame Street, where he demonstrated how to express emotions with your feet.
The Modern Family actor brought her charming voice and warm nature to her word of the day segment in Sesame Street’s 42nd season. She switched it up by teaching Elmo the Spanish word for dance: baile.
It’s odd to think about the incredibly vulgar Frank from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia being part of children’s show, but Danny DeVito was indeed part of the Sesame Street cast back in the ’80s. He played Vincent Van Grouch, the curator of the Museum of Trash. On second though, that actually doesn’t sound that far off from the character of Frank after all…
Before earning an Oscar for her leading role in La La Land, Emma Stone paid her dues by delivering the word of the day on Sesame Street. During the 42nd season, she described the word “balance” to Abby Cadabby, while her intensely layered haircut grounds the viewer in the fact that this was filmed in 2011.
The same man who somehow mastered universal attractiveness guest-starred as Minneapolis Johnson, a spoof of Indiana Jones, on Sesame Street back in 1990. This just proves that he really can do it all. And for more on the Internet’s favorite heartthrob, see what happened when a Store Filled Every Picture Frame with a Jeff Goldblum Photo.
The famous country music trio made their Sesame Street debut back in 2007, when they sang a tune about the letter B. It’s honestly a pretty catchy tune, which speaks volumes for their musical talent.
Zac Efron and his toned biceps showed up in a 2012 episode to tell kids about the word “patience.” With his roles in High School Musical, you’d think they’d have him sing and dance, but, alas.
In a complete twist of events, Ralph Nader made an appearance in Put Down the Duckie: The Sesame Street Special with a singing role. Yes, that’s right: Zac Efron didn’t receive a singing role, but Ralph Nader did.
The SNL star lent her joke delivery chops to the show for the “Share the Laughter” challenge in 2017. The segment is more innocent than McKinnon’s usual raunchy fare, but makes up for that with unrivaled levels of adorability.
Is there anything Donald Glover can’t do? The actor-comedian-musician-writer-director played LMNOP in a season 43 episode of Sesame Street. Seriously, can we find something he’s bad at? He’s making the rest of us look bad.
The SNL star proved himself as a character actor when he killed it as Quacker Duck Man in episode 4325. Ah, to be able to write “Quacker Duck Man” on your resume.
Former SNL writer Tina Fey joined the Sesame Street cast in 2012 as Captain of the Bookaneers. It’s stiff competition, of course, but, among her nearly 40-credit deep IMDb, this role may yet be her funniest.
Yet another SNL alum? You’d be forgiven for starting to think being on Sesame Street is in written SNL cast members’ contracts. Fallon delivered the word of the day back in 2010, and, though that’s only eight years ago, it’s amazing to see his boyish look in a striped t-shirt, especially since, these days, it’s rare to get a glimpse of him not wearing a finely tailored suit.
Margaret Cho took some time off from making explicitly dirty jokes to talk about her emotions with Big Bird in an episode in 2000. Hey, we all need a change of scenery sometimes.
Anyone who watches Between Two Ferns knows that Zach Galifianakis is a comedic genius. And, according to this clip from 2015, he’s also pretty good at co-starring with Murray on Sesame Street. During his cameo, he was in charge of defining the word “nimble,” and watching him do anything besides hilariously torment other A-listers (that’s the selling point of Between Two Ferns, for those missing out) is kind of like watching a dog walk on its hind legs.
You may remember Downtown Julie Brown from her days as a host on MTV, but apparently she also had a gig as a reporter on Sesame Street. She did the honors of hosting the Worm World Music Festival in episode 3448, which aired in 2011.
As he has proved through his appearances on SNL, and in roles as varied as Mad Men and Bridesmaids, Jon Hamm is a man with many talents. So naturally he’s charismatic as hell in his season 43 cameo in Sesame Street, where he defined the word “sculpture” with Elmo.
One of the most beloved couples in the country music scene, Faith Hill and McGraw are known for making romantic duets. The song they sang about sharing in an episode of Sesame Street in 2011 is definitely cute, but I’m sure it serves as a source of embarrassment and torture for their three daughters. And for a deeper look at the duo’s talents, check out the The Biggest Country Song the Year You Were Born.
Anna Kendrick has a solid reputation on the internet, as she just won the title of “Best Twitter Personality” at the 2018 Teen Choice Awards. So, that poses the question: do her fans know that there’s a clip of her guest appearance on Sesame Street out there? During season 44, Anna made an appearance with Elmo and Abby Cadabby to demonstrate what the word “absorb” means. Not exactly what the kids are calling cool these days, but, given her preternatural talent at making the internet laugh, surely she could use wit to spin it to her advantage.
After making a name for himself with his role in Superbad, Jonah Hill tried out making a younger audience laugh. During his bit on a 2008 episode, Hill wore a large fake mustache while he explained the meaning of the word “empty” to Elmo.
Liam Neeson was on Sesame Street in 2008, in a scene where he counted from 1 to 20. As it turns out, he really does have a a very particular set of skills!
Before Anne Hathaway proved to us she just might be the best part of Ocean’s 8, she dropped in on the Sesame Street set to sing a Christmas Carol with Big Bird in 2007. Sure, it’s not quite as thrilling as pulling off an all-female heist—but it’s something.
Sesame Street clearly has a soft spot for boy bands. Back in 2014, One Direction remixed their hit song “That’s What Makes You Beautiful,” into “That’s What Makes You Useful.”
John Legend has had a couple of guest appearances on Sesame Street—because of course he has, with that playful attitude and winning smile—but our favorite is one from 2009 where he jammed on the piano with Hoots.
The Game of Thrones star tried out something new with his season 44 cameo, where he sang about the game Simon Says. This seems like an activity Tyrion Lannister would simply have no patience for—unless he was at least 12 goblets of wine deep.
The former SNL cast member was on Sesame Street fairly recently (2016) and sang a song while in character as Professor Buck Awe. Honestly, he gave a killer performance, and concretely proved that he can expertly carry a note.
The same year (2014) Viola Davis wowed audiences with her performance as Annalise Keating in How to Get Away With Murder, she earned her Sesame Street credit. She took on the task of teaching Elmo what a “fiesta” is. Truly, 2014 was an all-around exciting year for Davis.
John Leguizamo is very versatile as an actor, having appeared as both a main character in Moulin Rouge and a background extra in a Justin Bieber music video. It makes sense then that he was able to give us the character of Captain Vegetable back in 2008.
Neil Patrick Harris played a singing shoe fairy dressed in an all-beige, double-breasted, winged costume for a 2008 episode of Sesame Street. If you thought his turn on How I Met Your Mother was legendary, you’ve yet to see this. And for more A-lister hilarity, check out the 30 Awful Jobs Celebrities Had Before They Became Famous.
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