50 Amazing Celebrity Cameos on "Sesame Street"
Emma Stone, John Legend, and Beyoncé are among the many celebrities who can tell you how to get to Sesame Street.
Who doesn't love Sesame Street? For 50 seasons—with the help of Big Bird, Cookie Monster, and Elmo, among others—the children's PBS program has served up essential lessons and fostered adoration from basically everyone. And that includes celebrities. The series boasts an impressive list of celebrity cameos, featuring everyone from former boy bands to late-night hosts to seemingly anyone who can claim Saturday Night Live on their résumé. Making a guest appearance on Sesame Street seems like a veritable rite of passage for Hollywood stars. And it's a thrill seeing A-listers hang out with the puppets you used to think of as A-listers growing up. To see which stars have as much of a soft spot for Oscar the Grouch as you do, here are 50 of the best celebrity cameos on Sesame Street in honor of the show's 50th anniversary.
John Legend has had a couple of guest appearances on Sesame Street—of course he has, with that playful attitude and winning smile—but our favorite is one from 2009 when he jammed on the piano with Hoots the Owl.
Jason Derulo might be best known for singing the words "Jason Derulo" at the start of any track he's featured on. That's why it's so surprising to see him dance through an entire song with Elmo and Abby Cadabby without blurting out his full name.
The Sharp Objects star has some serious acting accolades, including two Golden Globe wins and six Academy Award nominations, but that doesn't mean she's above children's programming. Amy Adams totally nailed her 2011 guest appearance on Sesame Street, when she defined the word "ingredient" with Elmo.
Over the years, Jessica Alba has proven her skills in acting and in business. But did you know she also excels at providing the "Word of the Day" for Elmo? The star broke down the word "scrumptious" in a 2012 episode.
A crossover between Arrested Development and Sesame Street? It happened! Here's a 2008 clip of Will Arnett playing an inept and overconfident magician in a scene with Big Bird.
Remember when boy bands ruled the world? The Backstreet Boys' suave reputations were so strong in 2002 that they could sing a song on Sesame Street without losing their heartthrob status. Their game was seriously indestructible.
Sarah Jessica Parker
In a 2010 cameo that delighted both children and Sex and the City fans, Sarah Jessica Parker helped Grover find "big." You know, like her on-again off-again boyfriend and eventual husband. Surely all of the parents and babysitters watching appreciated the bit.
In typical Janelle Monáe fashion, she showed up to the scene clad in a stylish 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 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.
Another episode, another guest appearance from a boy band. Back in Season 31, NSYNC graced Sesame Street 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.
Sure, Thelma & Louise is a classic film, but Susan Sarandon also played an iconic role in Sesame Street All-Star 25th Birthday: Stars and Street Forever! The actress 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 in 2009 Adam Sandler had a very earnest scene in which he writes Elmo a song.
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 the 4,187th episode. 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: All-Star Alphabet.
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, when he demonstrated what the word "practice" means.
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 no one should ever listen to what The Office's Michael Scott has to say, we recommend that you lend an ear to Steve Carell's message in his Sesame Street appearance. During Season 43, Carell joined Elmo and Abby Cadabby to teach kids about what it means to vote. A valuable lesson indeed.
The reassuring voice of Anderson Cooper appeared on Sesame Street back in 2007, when he played a reporter on GNN, an 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 about cruising down the highway while belting out the chorus to "Fast Car." But she also had a couple of musical appearances on Sesame Street, in Seasons 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's appearance on Sesame Street probably doesn't come as much of a surprise. His ability to twist his face into outrageous expressions lends itself perfectly to children's television. He did exactly that in his 1993 cameo on Sesame Street, when he demonstrated how to express emotions with your feet.
In Sesame Street's 42nd season, Modern Family star Sofia Vergara switched up the "Word of the Day" segment 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 did indeed appear on Sesame Street back in the '80s. He played Vincent van Grouch, the curator of the Museum of Trash. On second thought, that actually doesn't sound that far off from Frank.
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.
The same man who somehow mastered universal attractiveness guest starred as Minneapolis Johnson, a spoof on Indiana Jones, on Sesame Street back in 1990.
The Dixie Chicks
The famous country music trio made their Sesame Street debut back in 2007, when they sang a song about the letter "B." It's honestly a pretty catchy tune, which speaks volumes for their musical talent.
Zac Efron and his 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 shocking turn of events, Ralph Nader made an appearance in Put Down the Duckie, a Sesame Street special, with a singing role. Yes, that's right: Zac Efron didn't get to sing, but Ralph Nader did.
The SNL star lent her joke delivery chops to the series for the "Share the Laughter" challenge in 2017. The segment is more wholesome than Kate McKinnon's usual raunchy fare, but it 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.
SNL star Bobby Moynihan proved himself as a character actor when he killed it as the Quacker Duck Man in episode 4,325. Ah, to be able to write "the Quacker Duck Man" on your résumé.
At this point, you'd be forgiven for thinking that a Sesame Street appearance is written into SNL cast members' contracts. Jimmy Fallon delivered the "Word of the Day" back in 2010, and while that was only nine years ago, his boyish look in a striped T-shirt is striking; these days, it's rare to get a glimpse of him not wearing a suit.
Margaret Cho took some time off from telling filthy jokes to talk about her emotions with Big Bird in a 2000 episode. Hey, we all need a change of scenery sometimes.
Anyone who watches Between Two Ferns knows that Zach Galifianakis is a comedic genius. And as you can see in this clip from 2015, he's also pretty good at co-starring with Murray Monster on Sesame Street. During his cameo, he was in charge of defining the word "nimble."
Downtown Julie Brown
You may remember Downtown Julie Brown from her days as a VJ 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 3,448, 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. Naturally he's charismatic in his Season 43 cameo on Sesame Street, when he defined the word "sculpture" with Elmo.
Faith Hill and Tim McGraw
One of the most beloved couples in the country music scene, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw are known for their romantic duets. The song they sang about sharing in a 2011 episode of Sesame Street is definitely cute, though it might be a source of embarrassment for their three daughters.
Anna Kendrick has a solid reputation on the internet, but do her fans know 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.
After making a name for himself with his role in Superbad, Jonah Hill tested his appeal on a younger audience. 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 in which he counted from 1 to 20. As it turns out, he really does have a a very particular set of skills!
Before Anne Hathaway was the best part of Ocean's 8 (deal with it, haters), she dropped in on Sesame Street 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."
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 Monster back in 1995. Who knew that adorable little girl with pigtails would open a club in Mykonos one day?
Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage tried out something new with his Season 44 cameo, when he sang about the game Simon Says. This seems like an activity Tyrion Lannister would have no patience for—unless he was 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 reminded everyone that he can expertly carry a tune.
In 2014, the same year Viola Davis first wowed audiences with her performance as Annalise Keating on 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 exciting year all around for Davis.
John Leguizamo is very versatile as an actor, having appeared as both a main character in Moulin Rouge! and a background performer 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
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.