The Office is definitely one of the most iconic sitcoms of all time. The show ran from 2005 to 2013, airing for nine seasons, which is absolutely crazy. Many great sitcoms can’t even last more than the first season. The vast majority of the cast were relative unknowns, like John Krasinski and Mindy Kaling, that have since gone on to become heavy hitters in the industry.
When any show goes that long, you end up incorporating a fair amount of guest stars over the seasons. Sure, you can mix up the main cast by adding a new member of the team every now and then. However, sometimes you just want a little shake-up for one particular plot or episode. That’s where guest stars come in — and the show had quite a few that you probably don’t even remember.
You may assume that A-List stars have better things to do than accept guest starring roles. It’s true that they have busy schedules, but wouldn’t you want to spend a day or two on the set of a popular sitcom? It’s a fun change of pace, and the casting team managed to get a few really notable guest stars for great roles. And the best part is, they all worked so well with the show. None of the guest stars felt like they were shoehorned in just to add a little splash of celebrity — everyone actually played an interesting character, no matter how small the role.
Here are 15 celebs you forgot guest starred on The Office.
Most people associated Idris Elba with dramas rather than comedies, but he’s a multi-talented guy! He without question looks amazing in a suit, so the casting team selected him to play Charles Miner, a character who popped in and out in season five and was the stickler to Michael Scott’s casual.
On paper, he could have been a pretty boring character, given his penchant for following all the corporate rules. However, Elba did an amazing job, and the writing team didn’t leave the character two-dimensional. Charles Miner may not have been as beloved as Michael Scott, but he was a refreshing addition for the few episodes he appeared in.
Sometimes, guest starring roles in movies and on television shows come because one of the stars knows someone — it’s pretty common when you’ve been in Hollywood for a while. That’s kind of what happened with Will Ferrell. Ferrell and Steve Carell had known each other for quite a while. And, they had worked together before, on Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.
We’re not sure if Carell vouched for Ferrell or if he just killed the audition, but he ended up cast as Deangelo Vickers. Ferrell’s character was a brief replacement for Michael Scott and was a larger than life personality. He was only around for four episodes, but it was a great guest starring role.
Most Amy Adams fans know her for tackling really complex dramatic roles. However, she likes to dabble in comedy every now and then, and that’s exactly what she did in an earlier season of The Office.
Before Jim and Pam became everyone’s favorite television couple, Adams was actually a love interest for Jim on the show. She was on about three episodes, playing a super perky purse salesman who was dating Jim. Given what a huge movie star she ended up becoming, it’s a little bit strange seeing her on a television show! Still, we bet she had a ton of fun with the cast on set.
Guest starring characters can often be a little bit more over the top than regular cast members. After all, they don’t need to stick around for season after season. They’re only on screen for short bursts of time, so those small doses allow the writing team to have a bit more fun with them. That’s certainly what happened with Kathy Bates’ character.
Bates played Jo Bennett, the ultra-confident founder and CEO of the company Sabre. She had quirks, like the fact that she brought her dogs to the office, and a super thick Southern accent. We loved seeing her leadership style in contrast to Michael Scott’s.
The finale of season seven was an episode called “Search Committee.” Since the plot involved interviewing for a new position, it gave the casting team the opportunity to bring in a few recognizable actors to play individuals interviewing for the role. It was a great way to bring in some familiar faces playing seemingly minor roles.
One of the individuals trying to snag the open position at Dunder Mifflin was Jim Carrey. His guest-starring role didn’t even have a name — he was just called the Finger Lakes Guy — but it was quirky and a ton of fun. We love that they decided to bring in stars for the job candidates rather than picking unknowns. It definitely brought something extra to the episode.
Nowadays, most people will recognize Kevin McHale from his role as Artie Abrams on the teen musical dramedy Glee. However, fans of The Office will probably remember him as the pizza guy that ended up getting taken hostage.
That’s right — McHale scored a small guest-starring role as a guy delivering pizzas to the office. Because of his attitude, and the other plot points in the episode, Michael and Dwight end up taking him hostage during a company launch party. It’s a bit of a strange plot, but because of how talented all the actors involved are it worked out.
Ray Romano is no stranger to television sitcoms. After all, he starred in one for several years , Everybody Loves Raymond. However, a starring role and a guest starring role are totally different. It must have been fun for Romano to simply show up to set, record his brief scenes, and leave for the day.
He was yet another one of the celebrities who appeared in the Search Committee episode as a potential candidate. While Romano could have easily played a larger than life, boastful character, they went in a different direction. He ended up playing a guy called Merv Bronte, who was super self-deprecating and lacked confidence.
You wouldn’t guess that Josh Groban would be one of the guest stars on the show because, well, it’s not his primary gig. Though Groban has taken on a few small acting roles over the years, he’s a singer first and foremost. However, that’s exactly why he was so perfect for the character he ended up playing.
Groban played Walter Bernard Jr., Andy’s younger brother who was totally unaware of how talented he was, to Andy’s frustration. It’s a tough role to play, as he could have easily come off as super arrogant and unlikeable. However, there’s just something about Groban’s persona on screen that made you fall in love with him. Sorry, Andy!
Nowadays, thanks to her starring role in the 50 Shades franchise, everyone knows who Dakota Johnson is. However, before she landed that gig, she was just another aspiring actress with a series of small roles under her belt. And, surprisingly, one of those roles included a guest starring gig on The Office!
Johnson appeared in the very last episode of the series, playing a character that was taking over for Kevin. She had a few funny lines as she tried to unearth what on earth Kevin had been doing professionally for the past nine seasons. It wasn’t a huge role, but it must be fun to have been part of such a major sitcom, even in a small role.
Melissa Rauch is pretty much sitcom royalty at this point. She’s spent several seasons on the popular show The Big Bang Theory, playing the lovable yet slightly scary Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz. However, she was also part of another major sitcom — although in a much smaller role.
In season six, in the episode where Pam was having her baby, Rauch played another new mother at the hospital, Cathy. Her storyline was a bit of a strange one — Jenna Fisher’s character Pam accidentally breastfeeds Cathy’s baby in a sleepy stupor. Yikes! It just goes to show how many celebrities have done minor parts on shows that you wouldn’t even know until you re-watched them once the star was famous.
Wendi McLendon-Covey has been slaying the comedy game for years. Most fans will know her best from her role in the smash hit movie Bridesmaids. However, fans of The Office will know her for her iconic role as Concierge Marie.
Her guest starring role proves just how much a guest star can make or break an episode. In the wrong hands, the character would have been boring. In her hands, Marie was a delightful addition to the episode, delivering low key humor like a pro. We loved Michael Scott’s fascination with her, and we loved McLendon-Covey’s deadpan approach to the character.
Guest starring roles as siblings of main characters are always fun. After all, you’re pretty much guaranteed that the audience will be interested in you. I mean, just look at how much fans loved Christina Applegate and Reese Witherspoon as Rachel Green’s sisters on Friends!
Anna Camp appeared in the wedding episodes of season 6 as Pam’s little sister. She did a great job with the character, but we have to admit, we kind of wish she was in a few more episodes. I mean, can you imagine Pam and her little sister getting up to no good? That would have been so fun to watch.
At this point in his career, actor Evan Peters is far better known for his action and drama roles than for comedy. He’s appeared in the American Horror Story series as well as the X-Men franchise. However, he has a particularly amusing guest starring role under his belt as well.
In season seven, Peters was in one episode of the show as Luke Cooper, the newest employee at Dunder Mifflin. He was a character who ended up getting his role at the company because of his connections and was comically bad at his job. It was another one of those roles that can so easily be unlikeable, but there’s something about Peters that made Luke Cooper amusing rather than arrogant.
We absolutely love that Ricky Gervais appeared on the show in a bit of a meta moment. You see, for fans who may not know, Ricky Gervais was basically the Michael Scott of the original UK version of The Office. In fact, comedian Gervais actually created the series!
And, while he could have easily played a new character, the writers instead decided to create a meta moment. Gervais played David Brent, his character from the UK series. It was a great moment of crossovers, bringing the two different shows together for one scene, and fans loved it. I mean, who doesn’t want to see Steve Carell and Ricky Gervais on screen together?
Timothy Olyphant is well-known to television fans as one of the stars of Justified, and the Netflix original Santa Clarita Diet. However, fans of The Office will remember him as Danny, the salesman who had a strange history with Pam.
You see, Danny was brought onto the team because he was the best salesman in Scranton, and Michael wanted him to join Dunder Mifflin. However, it was revealed that he ghosted Pam when they were dating because he thought she was a bit of a dork. Well, it all worked out in the end — she ended up the perfect match for Jim.
References: This Is Insider, Buzzfeed