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Adam Westing

"That one part I played has given me a license to be absurd. I can say pretty well anything, because people know it's not Tom Baker talking."

Some actors get reputations that just won't go away. Maybe they're famous for being divas on the set. Maybe they're famous for only playing certain roles — or even worse, only playing one role. Nobody will let them forget it. They can struggle mightily to earn a new reputation as decent people who can play a variety of roles.

Or they can resign themselves to their fate, and make a career out of it by Adam Westing.

Adam Westing is a form of Self-Parody where actors play either themselves, or a Captain Ersatz of themselves, or a Captain Ersatz of their most famous role, and they play it as a total Jerkass, a total idiot, or both. More rarely, they play the character as the exact opposite of what they're most famous for, but still a Jerkass and an idiot.

While this can be an Affectionate Parody, it can also be a way for the actor to vent their spleen against a part that got old fast and/or ruined their career, until it amounts to a Take That against themselves. Particularly bitter actors will make The Parody a Deconstruction of their old part, explaining how it was a horrible role and nobody should watch it. Like all Deconstruction, this can come full circle, with the actor doing a Reconstruction Self-Parody. Sure, the role was stupid, but they enjoyed it.

Compare closely to the use of Meta Casting, where this can be turned around and made impressionable by playing off this personality. Adam Westing is most often found among actors who have had certain forms of Type Casting:

  • Actors who had to act goofy all the time and never got a chance for serious work. If they must be goofy, let it be in mocking goofiness.
  • Actors known for an incredibly hammy or Badass persona, and people expect them to play the same over-the-top role in everything.
  • Actors who had to act dreadfully serious all the time, until it was impossible not to laugh at their own work.
  • Actors who had been subjected to Contractual Purity, who couldn't so much as have a glass of wine in public and need to cut loose.

See also The Danza, where the character's name is clearly taken from the actor/actress portraying him/her. See also Parody Assistance, when the actor works on a parody of whatever show/film/etc. made them famous. Very closely related to Playing with Character Type, which is when a typecast actor takes on a role superficially similar to their "type" in order to subvert, deconstruct or otherwise play with it.

Compare to Self-Deprecation.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Adam West 
Adam West, the Trope Namer, couldn't get serious work after Batman. He has embraced it; almost every role he's had since is either a parody of Batman the goofy superhero, Adam West the washed-up actor, or both at once.
  • In Batman: The Animated Series' "Beware the Gray Ghost", he plays a washed-up actor who can't get any decent work because everyone associates him with his role as a cheesy superhero. Turns out that Bats is a huge Grey Ghost fanboy and it inspired his motifs. Incidentally, this portrayal was much more sympathetic and slightly less funny than normal simply because it was the show's way of saying "if that cheesy superhero show didn't exist, this show wouldn't exist."
    • Supposedly, when he was done with the episode and all of The Gray Ghost's memorabilia is returned, Paul Dini and Bruce Timm handed Adam (instead of scale wage) a $25,000 check and the original Batman costume — which Paul bought for an "undisclosed sum" at an auction.
    • Also of note - according to Word of God, if they couldn't get West to voice the part, that episode would have been scrapped.
  • He played a washed-up superhero who turned out to be a deluded actor on Kim Possible. His character was even named "Timothy North".
    • This character was also a parody of the older Bruce Wayne from Batman Beyond, making it a meta-Casting Gag (Will Friedle/Ron Stoppable previously played the new Batman on the show).
  • He played another deluded actor in the pilot for Lookwell, a show produced by Conan O'Brien and Robert Smigel. In this version, he had formerly played a detective on TV and thought he could use his actor training as Genre Savvy to solve real crimes.
  • He was an overhyped pizza delivery boy in Meet the Robinsons.
  • During one of the Thanksgiving Turkey Day Marathons of Mystery Science Theater 3000, which not coincidentally debuted the lampooning of his film Zombie Nightmare, he hosted a number of host segments loaded with bad turkey puns and Cloudcuckoolander moments. The episode itself features countless "I'm Batman!" jokes from Mike and the Bots, but no appearance from West (outside the movie).
  • He played a goofy rendition of himself on The Simpsons, in which he drives the Batmobile from the show (which is now a broken down wreck), complains about the Michael Keaton Batman films (Taps his pecs- "Pure. West."), and dances the "Batusi" while the Simpsons slowly back away ("How come Batman doesn't dance any more?"). Another episode has the Simpsons view the TV series Batmobile in a Hollywood museum and comment on how lifelike the dummies sitting in it are — who turn out to actually be Adam West and Burt Ward sitting perfectly still all day.
  • In Johnny Bravo, West acts like a mix between a Conspiracy Theorist and exaggerated versions of his portrayal of Batman and John Walsh from America's Most Wanted. The story was written by Butch Hartman and Seth MacFarlane, not like he ever worked with them again.
  • In the Histeria! episode "The Legion of Super Writers", he voiced a superhero-portrayed Ernest Hemingway.
  • He did a guest spot on The Critic, as a last-minute guest on Jay Sherman's show. He's quickly bumped off because they managed to book someone else that it turns out is dead, prompting him to lament, "Man I wish I had his agent."
    • Made doubly funny in the DVD commentaries when the writers mention how Jon Lovitz pulled a What the Hell, Hero? on the writers for making fun of Mr. West.
  • His biggest role of the 2000s (and undoubtably, his second most famous role after Batman) was as the Cloudcuckoolander Adam West, Mayor of Quahog in Family Guy.
    West: So it's a shouting contest you want, eh?
    • Interestingly enough, McFarlane has stated that he's gone out of his way to ensure that West's history as Batman is never addressed. The inspiration for the character was West's aforementioned appearance on Johnny Bravo. (An episode McFarlane co-wrote.) He's simply playing a psychotic version of himself who was inexplicably elected mayor of Quahog.
      • Seth has gone so far as to claim that the character was never (originally) intended to be the Adam West — just a guy who shares his name. Then the actual Adam West came in to read for the part and the rest, as they say, is history.
  • West played superhero the Galloping Gazelle in the TV episode and video game of Goosebumps story Attack of the Mutant. In the TV version, the Galloping Gazelle was washed-up and bailed on the kid protagonist because he thought he was too old for the job.
  • West starred as an aging TV Space Commando personality Captain Blasto in an episode of Rugrats.
  • West played a lawyer defending R. Kelly who made a video of himself whizzing on a schoolgirl in The Boondocks. In typical over-the-top West fashion, of course. It's like he doesn't even want to stop Adam Westing anymore.
  • West appears in 30 Rock as the celebrity guest at Jack Donaghy's birthday party. After he flubs the introduction and gets thrown out, he complains that he was promised a meal.
  • In Drop Dead Gorgeous, he plays the lowest-possible-budget "celebrity" on the video promoting a beauty pageant, complete with words to the effect of "You might even get to meet a... CELEBRITY!" Perfect for the role, too.
  • In one episode of Diagnosis: Murder, he cameos as a washed-up actor who was made famous by playing half of a crime-fighting duo, Tuttle and the Mummy.
  • In a 1995 episode of Hope and Gloria - a short-lived television series, he played himself doing a theatre performance of Love Letters with former Batman villainess Julie Newmar also playing herself. The main character was led to believe he was her father. The program referenced his autobiography and his real name of Bill Anderson.
  • In The Fairly Oddparents, he plays Adam West, who believes he's a super hero named Catman.
    Timmy: TV's Adam West?
    West: Where?!
  • On Newsradio, he appeared as himself and was revealed to be legendary hijacker D.B. Cooper.
  • On King of Queens he plays himself in an episode where Spence asks him to come with him to a comic book convention. In doing so, he ditches his original choice, Doug's neighbor Lou Ferrigno (TV's Hulk). On the drive to the convention an irked West explains that Sci-fi actors "look out for each other" and leaves Spence on a busy freeway.
  • He voiced a young Mermaid Man in the Sponge Bob Square Pants episode "Back to the Past."
    • This one is also an interesting inversion, because while Mermaid Man as he usually appears in the show is an aging washed-up superhero, this is not the Mermaid Man that Adam West voices
  • A commercial had West going on about his heroic exploits, only to be wheeled off by a nurse: "Time for your medication, Mr West..."
  • Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt, starring Adam West and Burt Ward as themselves but with their Batman and Robin personalities, where they try to figure out who stole the Batmobile, recalling various moments of their time filming the Batman television series along the way!
  • A notable (though minor) exception was his role as the villain Breathtaker in the movie and TV series Black Scorpion.
  • Mad Magazine's parody of "Batman: The Animated Series" ends with Adam rubbing out Batman and Calvin as Robin, along with other characters, so he can finally get a decent job.
  • An episode of Love, American Style had West appearing as himself, visiting a fellow stamp collector (George Lindsey) and his starstruck family. There's even an attempt to fix West up with a single friend, before he freaks out and leaves due to all the weird attention. Not once do we ever hear a mention of Batman.
  • He and Burt Ward appeared in Futurama in "Leela and the Genestalk" as their own heads in jars (but genetically engineered so West has a bat's wings and body, and Ward has a robot body similar to Robin's Golden Age costume). They pop out as Fry and Bender are climbing the wall.
  • In the 90's Zorro Adam West had a cameo in a season two episode as a scientist named Dr. Wayne.

    William Shatner 
Almost every other role William Shatner has had since Star Trek is him playing William Shatner the egotist, or an expy of that character under a different name. He specifically avoids the I Am Not Spock effect, by virtue of creating a "SHATNER" persona, of which Kirk is but one mere part. One must wonder, however, if it has reached the level of enlightened self-parody or if he has become genuinely unhinged (MAD once put it that he is trying, thirty years too late, to prove to everyone that he was always "in on the joke") — see his appearance on Friday Night with Jonathon Ross.
  • His turn as Denny Crane in Boston Legal.
  • Taken to sublime levels in Free Enterprise, in which he plays William Shatner.
    • What's funnier still is that the credits only list his character as "Bill."
  • This was even played with once in Star Trek itself. In Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Kirk's latest (and last) Green-Skinned Space Babe turns out to be a shapeshifter and takes on the form of Kirk, resulting in this exchange:
    Kirk: I can't believe I kissed you!
    Martia [as Kirk]: Must have been your lifelong ambition.
  • Shatner plays as a possum in Over the Hedge, who gives an overly emphasized "death speech" while playing dead. Can be seen as a parody of his entire comedy routine style.
  • Also, Jeff Burk wrote and published a very short literary work called Shatnerquake- "It's the first ShatnerCon with William Shatner as the guest of honor! But after a failed terrorist attack by Campbellians, a crazy terrorist cult that worships Bruce Campbell, all of the characters ever played by William Shatner are suddenly sucked into our world. Their mission: hunt down and destroy the real William Shatner."
  • During Comedy Central's Roast of William Shatner, when it was his turn at the podium, he donned his Shatner persona and jokingly berated everyone for making fun of him. He stated, "Do you know who I am? I'm William Tiberius Shatner!", and then begins to name some of his accomplishments, most of them actually being Captain Kirk's.
  • Shatner plays this role to the hilt as the "PriceLine Negotiator!"
  • Certainly played with in his Tribute to George Lucas.
  • There's a fair bit of Westing in the Futurama episode "Where No Fan Has Gone Before", made all the more hilarious by the existence of Zapp Brannigan, a parody of Shatner/Kirk who features prominently in this episode.
  • In Airplane II: The Sequel Shatner plays the moon base commander trying to help Ted Striker land the shuttle. When he looks into a periscope, the camera cuts to what he sees - the Enterprise. After reacting with surprise, he looks again and we're back to the normal space scene.
  • Subverted in National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1 where he plays General Mortars. Although the acting is pure Shatner, no Star Trek references were made, and he's surprisingly hard to recognize with a mustache.
  • In a variation, Eddie Izzard once noted "Some of the characters on Star Trek became bigger than the actors who played them. If you've ever seen that cop show, TJ Hooker, it isn't William Shatner the actor playing TJ, it's Captain Kirk! He's beamed down to Earth and got a job as a policeman!"
  • There is no other way to describe Shatner's stint as Guest Host of WWE Raw.

    George Takei 
William Shatner's co-star George Takei, a.k.a. Sulu, generally Adam Wests in live action, but can get quite subtle and effective in voice acting. A recurring theme, if they don't get into his sexuality, tends to be drinking.
  • He appears as a parody version of himself on Malcolm in the Middle in "Hal Grieves," reduced to some demeaning job of some kind and drinking from a garden hose.
  • He previously made a cameo in 3rd Rock from the Sun which featured the Solomons charging stuff to his hotel account until he was dragged away by security screaming "You can't do this to me! I'm GEORGE TAKEI, DAMN IT!"
  • And an episode of Will and Grace where he played a version of himself still in the closet until he was 'finally outed' on a public TV show.
  • There's also this PSA where he plays a Camp Gay version of himself for laughs. Wicked, squirm-inducing laughs. And an awesome retort to some intolerant remarks.
  • He also appears in ''The Big Bang Theory in the back of Bernadette's car during her first date with Wollowitz as a snarky Camp Gay but well-intentioned, er, thought in Wollowitz's head.
  • And in Psych, he plays a pompous, egotistical version of himself who simply has to be in the limelight. This allowed Shawn and Gus to infiltrate the convention where he was the guest of honor. How did they do it? They pretended to be Takei's personal assistants. When they were confronted by Takei himself, Shawn explained that Takei had fired his previous assistants for incompetence, which he fully believed.
  • Takei had a more dignified cameo as Prowl's martial arts teacher Yoketron in an episode of Transformers Animated.
  • Also had a cameo as "Mr. Sulu" on The Simpsons episode where Homer joins the Naval Reserve.
  • There is also a Muppets Tonight episode where Takei bores the pants off of Beaker and then some penguins on the subject — his role in Star Trek!
  • Little-known Canadian sci-fi-com Alienated has him showing up and ordering a "Gin and... Gin."
  • Adventure Time's Ricardio the Heart Guy appears to be Takei, giving "Best-Friend massages". They're completely... consensual.
  • He was the Cool Old Guy Mentor to the Supah Ninjas on Nicktoons.
  • He was also the voice actor for Lord Hakkera in Freelancer, and was most often met with in a bar.
  • In an episode of Suite Life On Deck, George plays London's future descendant. When the spaceship is attacked by hostile aliens, he says "Oh, my! How many times do I have to go through this?"
  • Surprisingly averted in Heroes, where he plays Kaito Nakamura, a typical Japanese businessman and the father of Hiro Nakamura, one of the protagonists. Kaito has nothing in common with Sulu (except for his fondness of swords). Although Hiro Nakamura is a huge star trek fan...
    • Kaito's license plate reads "NCC-1701", the registry number that also appears prominently on the hull of the Enterprise.
  • Semi-averted in his role in Red Alert 3 as the Emperor of Japan. Played straight in that he's basically Sulu-ing it in a set of art-deco techno robes, with the cheese-factor cranked as high as it will go. The aversion comes in the fact that, compared to the other faction leaders and prominent characters, he's downright sedate.
  • Averted where he guest-starred in an episode of Archer as a ruthless Yakuza boss. He played the role completely straight (No Pun Intended), without an ounce of comedy.
  • And, inspired by Gilbert Gottfried, he decided to sit down and read Fifty Shades of Grey, getting progressively more into the story until he realizes, in the middle of a sex scene, that the narrator is a woman, at which point his interest wanes.

    Other Star Trek examples 
  • The late James Doohan also turned to Adam Westing due to finding it hard to get work after playing Star Trek's Scotty.
    • In the attempted reboot of Knight Rider, Knight Rider 2000 he plays himself, who has become an old crazy man spewing lines from the TV show while trying to pull large sums of money from an ATM machine.
  • Wil Wheaton (The Next Generation's Wesley Crusher) plays a jerkass version of himself in a few shows, most notably The Big Bang Theory. (See Live Action TV below).

    Stephen Hawking 
The quintessential Real Life Genius Cripple thoroughly enjoys cameos as himself. One comes to suspect that the reason he refuses to upgrade his vocalizer is because of the sheer awesomeness of snarking in a Machine Monotone (although he did get an upgrade to give it a better British accent).
  • He hit Star Trek: The Next Generation just to play poker with Data, Albert Einstein, and Isaac Newton (thus becoming the only example of As Himself in the history of Star Trek, though Joe Piscopo comes ever so close). Behind the scenes, he toured the set and remarked on the ship's warp core:
    Hawking: I'm working on that.
    • A few years later he ran into Brent Spiner, and immediately asked "Where's my money?" (He won the card game, but Data was forced to end the simulation before he could collect his chips).
  • He has something going on with Matt Groening - he'll show up out of nowhere, and likes to "play" himself as a bit of a charlatan:
    • One episode of The Simpsons, where he claimed he had an IQ of over 200 and a bunch of gadgets built into his wheelchair, including an extendible boxing glove, an automatic toothbrush and a helicopter propeller. (Homer mistook him for Larry Flynt, founder of Hustler magazine.)
    Hawking: Your idea of a donut shaped universe is fascinating, Homer. I may have to steal it.
    • He has thrice appeared on Futurama, once as himself and then as his preserved head.
    Fry: Hey, aren't you that physics guy that invented gravity?
    Hawking: Sure, why not.

    Hawking: Welcome. I am the pickled head of Stephen Hawking, on a way cool rocket.
    Leela: Black Hole Hawking? If I knew I was going to meet you I'd have done something with my hair!
    Hawking: You should have.

    Amy: (After Farnsworth discovers the Grand Unified Theory in a What If? scenario) Professor, you did it! You solved the problem that baffled Einstein and drove Stephen Hawking to quit Physics and become a cartoon voice actor.
    Stephen: I like Physics, but I love cartoons.
  • Hawking also appeared as himself on an episode of The Big Bang Theory where he looked at one of Sheldon's papers and declared it to be completely inaccurate.
    Sheldon: No, no... that can't be right. I... I don't make arithmetic mistakes.
    Stephen: Are you saying I do?
    Sheldon: Oh, no, no, of course not. It just, I was thinking... Oh, gosh, golly. I made a boo-boo, and I gave it to Stephen Hawking.
    [Sheldon faints]
    Stephen: Great, another fainter.
  • He also shows up at the end of the memetic "Boom de Yada" ad for the Discovery Channel
  • Hawking took part in Monty Python's final reunion show, "Monty Python (Mostly) Live" in a video segment where he derails Brian Cox's efforts to fact-check the Galaxy Song by ramming him with his wheelchair and launching himself into space while singing it.

    Advertising 
  • Every time Tay Zonday has appeared on national TV he was definitely Adam Westing for himself... but nowhere is this more obvious than in the Cherry Chocolate Rain video, which he did as an advert for Dr. Pepper's Cherry Chocolate flavoured soda.
  • David Hasselhoff in the Red Alert 3 commercial as an egotistical informercial star. With a yacht.
    • The Hoff made an amazing appearance in a Pipex television advertisement in the UK, lampooning his internet fame. Has to be seen to be believed.
    • He also made an appearance in a commercial for Norton Internet Security, representing a cyber-criminal who defeats a fan (representing your computer password) by hitting on it in German until it melted.
  • Michael Bay demands things be awesome in Verizon commercials. And by "awesome", he means "exploding". Particularly effective since his real-life persona is so close to what one would expect, given his movies.
  • Donald Trump seems to revel in parodies of himself, even appearing in a series of OREO commercials with Darrell Hammond. Of course, if you're worth two billion and change, you can afford some self depreciation.
  • Mickey Rourke appeared in a commercial for a Dutch beer where he ruthlessly spoofs his own image, portraying himself as a childish, spoiled ass who loves only booze, little dogs and women. He throws a tantrum (and a minibar...) when he finds out they only serve alcohol free beer in his room, per example.
  • Famous romance-novel-cover model and sex symbol Fabio did a stint advertising I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! in the most over-the-top, sexy manner ever. He even recorded personalizable dialogue for a promo website, ramping up the ridiculousness.
    • His appearance on Big Time Rush was played straight... apart from the quirk that he was promoting a pocket-sized portable grill, and so was constantly producing different varieties of grilled meats (stop smirking) from his pocket, and offering them to people.
  • Virgin Money ran an advertising campaign starring various celebrities from the 1980s (Geoffrey Hayes, presenter of Rainbow; ska icon Buster Bloodvessel; and David Van Day from the pop duo Dollar) lampooning the fact that they had blown all their money and were now reduced to working menial jobs - respectively, as a taxi driver, guest house owner and running a mobile burger van.
    • Another Virgin campaign involving David Tennant actually lead to the BBC lodging a complaint due to the campaign apparently suggesting the BBC, who have strict policies regarding adverts, endorsed the service. The advert in question involved Tennant using Virgin's Ti VO service to record episodes of Doctor Who, saying how the service is useful for watching sci-fi, while Richard Branson disappears in a clear Captain Ersatz version of the TARDIS.
  • A tourism ad for California featured a bunch of different people Finishing Each Other's Sentences. It ends with someone saying "This may be your first visit to California, but it won't be your last...", followed by a cut to Arnold Schwarzenegger himself finishing that sentence with "... you'll be back."
  • Detroit-area electronics chain ABC Warehouse features company founder Gordon "Gordy" Hartunian playing a comically-goofy version of himself in its radio and TV spots.
  • Snickers has begun an entire ad campaign consisting of a series of celebrities doing this to represent how unpleasant a random guy is while hungry. So far Betty White, Abe Vigoda, Aretha Franklin, Liza Minnelli, Robin Williams, and Joe Pesci have appeared.
  • In 2009, Brazilian coach Joel Santana earned a reputation for his awful English when he managed South Africa. Three years later, he was speaking it again in a Pepsi commercial.
  • Chuck Norris embraces his internet meme for a World of Warcraft commercial
  • Series of iPhone commercials featuring celebrities asking Siri questions, playing broad caricatures of themselves: Samuel L. Jackson the suave ladies' man cooking a romantic dinner, Zooey Deschanel the Manic Pixie Dream Girl who doesn't wear shoes and wants to dance all day, John Malkovich...being John Malkovich, and Martin Scorsese as the busy Hollywood big shot.
  • An older example: Peter Lorre plays his creepy self as "Peter Lorre the Destroyer" in a watch band commercial (seen at 5:43 here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKpQfqg22mg)where he says "I get tremendous satisfaction from destroying things — doesn't everybody?" Then he tries to destroy the watch band but it's too flexible, and he sadly concludes "but I can't destrooooy eeet!"
  • Michael Bolton has recently embraced his reputation as a Large Ham balladeer, starting with his appearance with The Lonely Island for their "Jack Sparrow" video, and continuing into doing commercials for Honda.
  • Gary Busey recently did an ad for Amazon playing the fact that people think he's insane.
  • Gordon Ramsay did an ad for AT&T, unsure of what to do with himself once he gets the exact plan he wants.
    Ramsay: Okay, I'm not quite sure what to do with my arms, because this is usually the point where I start throwing things.
    Lily: Oh, that's...terrifying.

    Anime and Manga 
  • The Gag Dub of Super Milk Chan includes live action segments centered around the cast and crew of ADV Films, in which they play themselves as a dysfunctional group of misanthropes and prima donnas.
  • Seiyuu Yuko Goto in Lucky Star playing as hyper masculine biker gang member called 'Gothouther-sama', named after her favorite character in Fist of the North Star, making fun of how she is always cast as a Nice Girl, while in reality, she's a hardcore biker.
  • A 2-part episode of Detective Conan had Minami Takayama (who also voices the titular character) guest-starring as herself.

    Film 
  • In Stuck on You, Cher plays herself as a has-been that the public doesn't care about.
  • This Is the End employs this heavily as it involves the coming apocalypse during a celebrity filled party at James Franco's house. Featuring Franco, Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, and Jay Baruchel.
  • In Looney Tunes: Back in Action, Brendan Fraser plays D.J. Drake, a security guard and former stuntman. When Daffy doesn't believe the latter, he claims he was in the Mummy movies "more than that guy Brendan Fraser was." At the end of the movie, he meets the "real" Brendan Fraser (obviously also played by Fraser), who acts like a total Jerkass to D.J. prompting him to punch Brendan in the face.
  • Robert De Niro in Analyze This — he takes every psycho Mafioso character he's ever played, and lampoons them with gusto.
  • Michael Madsen in Being Michael Madsen - a mockumentary that implies he's just Mr Blonde as an actor, which is terrifying enough as a mental image. Some of his voice acting for video games counts too, as does the fact that in more recent movies (such as Kill Bill) the movie almost relies on you to know what a Michael Madsen character is "supposed" to be like, so it can confound your expectations.
  • In Liar Liar Jim Carrey mentions that "some people" make a living by making outrageous faces.
  • In Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story, a quasi-mockumentary about filming an adaptation of the novel, Gillian Anderson (as herself) gets the part of the Widow Wadnam because the producer loves her as Scully on the X-Files. Gillian wants to get away from her most famous role, and is later annoyed when her scenes as the widow are cut from the movie. Many, many more layers of meta in this film.
  • Elements of Adam Westing are incorporated into the film Tropic Thunder: Robert Downey, Jr.'s character, an award-winning Australian actor, was revised after he was cast to include attributes of the real-life actor, including his propensity for staying in character for extended periods of time and a turbulent relationship with the press.
  • The Shrek films do this a lot, overlapping with Ink-Suit Actor. The most obvious was Antonio Banderas' Puss in Boots played as a Zorro type.
    • This was also intended with Shrek himself. He was to be played by Chris Farley (a classic Farleyesque role) before his death.
  • David Hasselhoff as a super-swimming lifeguard in The Sponge Bob Square Pants Movie. "The Hoff" is on his way to reaching Shatnerian levels of Adam Westing. Witness his cameo in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story as the coach of the German dodgeball team, screaming that the team's loss shames Germany, their families, and David Hasselhoff!
    • And later in Hop where he plays himself as a reality TV talent show judge.
  • Pierce Brosnan, post-James Bond. His MI6 agent in The Tailor of Panama and assassin character in The Matador are ironic twists on his James Bond persona.
  • Bruce Campbell plays "A sleazy version of himself" in My Name is Bruce. In this case, at least partially, Campbell was playing the opposite of his normal persona. His character was bitter about being a B-movie actor. In real life Campbell loves being a B-movie actor because it's fun and not very hard.
  • Bill Pullman spoofed his character from The Grudge in Scary Movie 4.
  • Jack Slater in Last Action Hero is an over-the-top parody of Arnold Schwarzenegger's "action hero" roles. The actor also appears as himself in that movie, prompting a brief encounter between Refugee from TV Land Slater and Arnold.
  • In Machete, Lindsay Lohan plays a drug-addicted porn star with daddy issues.
  • Stan Lee often shows up in non-Marvel-licensed movies as an excessively comic-obsessed Stan Lee with delusions of being a super hero himself. It's hard to tell how much is acting since his real life personality is almost an Adam Westing of himself anyway. In Mallrats he claims to be in a sexual conquest contest with Mick Jagger and is far ahead. In Iron Man 2 he's mistaken for Hugh Hefner.
  • In perhaps the most multi-layered display of Adam Westing in film, Roger Moore appeared in Cannonball Run as the bored Jewish heir to an underwear tycoon, who posed as actor Roger Moore to impress a succession of high-tone women, also adopting the mannerisms and gadgets of James Bond, most notably his Aston Martin DB5. His performance therefore incorporated a straight self-parody of how he'd been typecast as Bond, a parody of his suave-sex-symbol image, and a Captain Ersatz Take That (as Bond's name is never mentioned) toward his most famous role.
  • Elisabeth Shue played "herself" in Hamlet 2. Her character in the movie quit acting to become a nurse in a sperm bank, and it's implied that she's a nymphomaniac.
  • Julia Roberts's character Tess Ocean pretending to be Julia Roberts in Ocean's Twelve.
  • Ethel Merman's cameo in Airplane! as a shell-shocked lieutenant who believes he's Ethel Merman.
  • Ben Affleck and Matt Damon play themselves in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and poke fun at both themselves and their movies:
    • This exchange:
    Security Cop: "Excuse me sirs, but we have 10-07 on our hands."
    Matt Damon: "Jesus, Ben. Not again."
    Ben Affleck: "Noooo, bullshit! I wasn't WITH a hooker today! Aha-ha!"
    • And this one:
    Matt Damon: Hey, shove it, Bounce-boy. Let's remember who talked who into doing this shit in the first place. Talking me into Dogma was one thing, but this...
    Ben Affleck: Hey look, I'm sorry I dragged you away from whatever gay-serial-killers-who-ride-horses-and-like-to-play-golf-touchy-feely-picture you're supposed to be doing this week.
    Matt Damon: I take it you haven't seen Forces of Nature?
    Ben Affleck: You're like a child. What've I been telling you? You gotta do the safe picture. Then you can do the art picture. But then sometimes you gotta do the payback picture because your friend says you owe him.
    [They both take a beat and look at the camera]
    Ben Affleck: And sometimes, you have to go back to the well.
    Matt Damon: And sometimes, you do Reindeer Games.
    Ben Affleck: See, that's just mean.
  • Mark Hamill may have Captain Ersatzed himself in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, not as his most famous role (Luke Skywalker) but his role as the voice of the Joker from Batman: The Animated Series. Here, he plays Cock-Knocker. While the "bongsaber" duel was certainly a play on his role as Skywalker ("Don't fuck with a Jedimaster, son"), the outlandish character of Cock-Knocker with his colourful costume, and in particular the bright yellow wig, will remind some of his voice work as the Joker - especially since he used more than a hint of that voice for Cock-Knocker. The costume, at least, was probably inspired by his role as the Trickster in the 90s TV series The Flash.
  • Neil Patrick Harris's appearances in Harold And Kumar Go To White Castle and its sequels portray his former child star self as a womanizing drug addict. It was only later that his celebrity persona included a womanizing dimension due to How I Met Your Mother. This, of course, became a completely inverted persona when he came out in Real Life as a gay man in a long-term, committed relationship.
  • Paris Hilton in Repo! The Genetic Opera. She plays an airheaded heiress who prostitutes herself for drugs, to numb herself during the plastic surgery she's addicted to, because she wants to be a singer but keeps getting booed off the stage. Although the part wasn't originally written for her, she insisted on getting it and played it with great enthusiasm.
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme, after years of getting typecast as a hero in straight-to-DVD action movies, had JCVD, in which he plays himself reacting to a bank robbery mostly with fear and begging.
  • Michael Cera is turning into this, particularly when he plays "himself" in Paper Heart, a Mockumentary in which, technically, he is merely playing his typical role.
  • Tropic Thunder has Tom Cruise playing a Prima Donna Producer that seems to be inspired by some of the star's more embarrassing public appearances.
  • Bill Murray in Zombie Land. One assumes he's exactly this awesome in real life.
  • Joaquin Phoenix attempted to do a double-ironic post-meta version of this for his film I'm Still Here, a mockumentary/documentary of Phoenix's nervous breakdown/rap career, which turned out to have been staged as a publicity stunt for I'm Still Here. Somehow, audiences were unimpressed.
  • David Hasselhoff appears in the family comedy Hop as himself, host and judge of the talent competition "Hoff Knows Talent" - riffing on his recent exit from America's Got Talent.
  • Goes as far back as the Doris Day classic, It's A Great Feeling which featured cameos from Edward G. Robinson failing to live up to his tough guy persona to Joan Crawford slapping the two main characters just because she does it in all her movies.
  • Arguably, Diddy's (or P. Diddy or Sean Combs) appearance in Get Him to the Greek could be this. He plays the crazy record executive Sergio Roma with multiple kids and issues with his baby mamas. In real life, he is a producer and does have multiple kids by multiple women.
  • Nicolas Cage's current career is arguably based on this. Roger Ebert suggests he is doing a career experiment where he only takes the very best and the very worst films that are offered to him.
  • In Postal, Uwe Boll claims to be a child molester who finances his films with Nazi Gold, gets shot in the dick, and dies while screaming about how much he hates video games.
  • In Blubberella, Uwe Boll appears in a dream sequence as Hitler.
  • In Ted, the eponymous teddy bear and his best friend do whiskey shots and cocaine with Sam Jones, who saved us all.
  • A classic example. Greta Garbo parodied her screen siren image in 1941's Two Faced Woman. Audiences didn't get it and it persuaded her to quit Hollywood.
  • The starring characters of Galaxy Quest.
  • Clint Howard already had indulged in this with his B-movie career (to the point that an MTV Lifetime Achievement Award was given to him on the 1998 MTV Movie Awards). But he parodied his role as a flight controller in his brother's Apollo 13 by appearing on both the Austin Powers series and the second Night at the Museum as part of Mission Control.
  • Ben Kingsley is a serious British actor who has also played a number of Ambiguously Brown Large Ham villains with various accents, in Prince of Persia, The Dictator and Thunderbirds among others. In Iron Man 3 he plays a British actor hired to play the part of an Ambiguously Brown Large Ham villain with a strange accent.
  • In the movie Thank Your Lucky Stars, which features an All-Star Cast playing themselves, Eddie Cantor plays an egotistical version of himself, and Humphrey Bogart makes fun of his tough-guy image when he's intimidated by an impatient producer and muses, "Boy, I hope none of my movie fans hears about this."
  • Joey Fatone, who succumbs to a surprise shark attack in, what else, Jersey Shore Shark Attack.
  • A number of real-life celebrities make cameo appearances in Zoolander. Notably, Fabio appears at the beginning of the film, accepting the "slashie" award for "best model slash actor" and "not the other way around".
  • Judging from what we've seen in the trailers so far, Charlie Sheen -excuse me- Carlos Estevez plays up at least the womanizing aspect of his public persona in Machete Kills. As the President of the United States. Whether there is going to be rampant drug use remains to be seen.
  • Coffee And Cigarettes is an All-Star Cast series of vignettes with celebrities parodying themselves, their stage personas or best known roles, sometimes by inverting them. It begins with Steven Wright getting amped up on caffeine and Roberto Benigni patiently trying to make sense of his babbling.

    Live Action TV 
  • Lorenzo Lamas in the third season of The Joe Schmo Show plays an exaggerated version of himself as a contestant in a fake bounty hunter type competition.
  • James Van Der Beek in Don't Trust the B in Apt 23.
    • This means James Van Der Beek has now parodied himself in three different mediums. (Web series, music videos, and live action TV.)
  • Rod Serling once appeared on The Jack Benny Show as an eccentric man known only as "Mr. Zone".
    • Jack Benny's screen (and radio) persona was also an example, what with the whole "vain, egotistical miser" bit.
  • By the end of the fifth season of Degrassi, the show had gotten so melodramatic and earnest that the actors (and the writers) needed to relax and let off steam. They did it with a truly epic amount of Adam Westing, both on their show and others. To take maybe 1 percent of what they did:
    • Craig, the show's Tragic Hero, is a sensitive, emotional musician who has very tragic teen romances and often ruins things with his grandiosity. Craig's actor guest-starred in Radio Free Roscoe as an incompetent wannabe musician, dripping with self-indulgent Wangst and more-artistic-than-thou pretentiousness, whose "sensitive, tortured soul" is an act that he uses to seduce girls.
    • In TV specials and "behind the scenes" pieces, actress Stacie Farber (who played the shows' grim Goth) never lost an opportunity to point out that in real life, she's a preppy fashionista who loves all the things the goth found phony.
    • One of many Adam Westing Degrassi (and Instant Star) commercials from the sixth season: "I'm a Degrassi, and I'm an Instant Star." (A lot of the humor is lost if you don't know the show, unfortunately.) It ends with Too Dumb to Live Derek somehow becoming even dumber than he is on the show.
  • The Babylon 5 episode "Day of the Dead" guest stars Penn & Teller as Rebo and Zooty, an even more irritating comedy duo of the future.
  • Perhaps the best part of Go On is the appearences by Ryan's intern/temporary assistant, Terrell Owens, playing himself as a fun-loving and enthusastic version of himself, unlike his Jerkass real life persona
  • Wayne Brady appears in an episode of Chappelle's Show as an over the top, violent and vulgar comedian out to steal the title character's show — a complete opposite of what Wayne Brady is like in real life, and a result of one of Paul Mooney's characters saying "White people love Wayne Brady, because he makes Bryant Gumbel look like Malcolm X."
  • Tom Baker's work on Little Britain as The Narrator is an exaggeration of his on-and-off-screen eccentric personality. "Have you ever done it gaywise? It's a hoot."
    • He provided all the linking material for BBC2's "Doctor Who Night" in the 90s in the same ridiculous style, using all the Doctor's creepiest mannerisms and cracking jokes about his offscreen reputation for drunkenness, sexuality and bullying.
    • When he chaired Have I Got News for You, he spent a fair amount of it pretending to be psychotically jealous at David Tennant for stealing his job, and the rest of it being the Fourth Doctor playing Tom Baker.
    • In a weird reversal of this trope, it's not uncommon for more comedy-based Expanded Universe Doctor Who material to port Tom Baker's personality traits into the Fourth Doctor, such as a reputation for heavy drinking and swearing at K-9.
  • Tim Stack as "TV's Tim Stack" on My Name Is Earl. The character is a narcissistic drunk who holds beauty pageants and parades. Tim Stack is actually a writer for a few of the episodes.
  • This has happened to a certain extent to most of the actors in the Mash television series.
    • Jamie Farr once guest-starred on That 70's Show as himself, and joked about his character's... eccentricities.
    • Alan Alda appeared on 30 Rock as a die-hard liberal. His former work was practically noticeable when he walked in on Tracy sobbing about his repressed inferiority complex over his failure to dissect a frog, and uttered the following line:
    A grown man crying about a chicken and a baby? I thought this was a comedy!
  • The Sopranos
    • Jon Favreau appeared on as a name-dropping, overly-pretentious jerkass version of himself who'd come to New Jersey to make a movie. Star-struck gangster Christopher was delighted to hang out with "Jon"... until "Jon" stole all his ideas. The real Favreau is a much nicer person.
    • Frank Sinatra couldn't show up to lampoon his own mob ties, on account of being dead, so instead we get Frank Sinatra Jr. playing Poker.
    • When Christopher pitches his idea for Cleaver to Sir Ben Kingsley, the actor comes off as a total materialistic snob, completely disinterested in anything Christopher's saying. So instead, they have to settle for Daniel Baldwin.
      • The same episode stars Lauren Bacall, who seems nice at first but turns out to have quite a dirty mouth (granted, she was being mugged at the time, but it's quite hilariously shocking to hear the F-word coming from her).
  • In a The Catherine Tate Show sketch for Comic Relief, Tate's character of Elaine Figgis was in a relationship with Daniel Craig but had no idea who he was and seemed put off by Craig's constant affections. This was definitely more along the lines of affectionate self-parody, as the character (and Craig's participation) shows him as a normal guy, in contrast to his characters in Layer Cake, Casino Royale and other films who tend to be rather icy and brutal.
  • Extras was a show devoted to this, with highlights including:
    • Kate Winslet as a calculating Oscar climber playing a nun in the Holocaust for Oscar Bait. This was made even more delicious with her Oscar win for starring in a film centered around the Holocaust (The Reader). Ricky Gervais called her on it when he hosted the Golden Globes — "Well done Winslet, I told ya, do a Holocaust movie, the awards come, didn't I?" — with the result of her turning beet red and nearly falling off her chair laughing.
    • Daniel Radcliffe as an immature Former Child Star desperate to nail anything that moves.
    • Chris Martin of Coldplay plugging the (then) new greatest hits album on everything from a sitcom to a public service announcement to his shirt in every scene he's in.
    • Orlando Bloom as an egotistical heartthrob who starts pursuing Maggie because she doesn't find him attractive and he is therefore absolutely determined to enlighten her as to his hotness.
    Orlando: Kiss me. Let me show you how I do it.
    Maggie: Well okay, if it'll shut you up.
    • Comedian Les Dennis as a pathetic, broken shell of a man. Les himself contributed several anecdotes from his own life to make his character even more pitiable.
    • Patrick Stewart talking about how he wanted to do a movie as a character based on Professor Xavier of X-Men... who used his vast mental powers primarily to make the clothes of nubile young women spontaneously fall off.
    Stewart: They try to cover up but I've seen everything!
    • Ronnie Corbett and Moira Stuart as cokeheads,
    • Keith Chegwin as a hardcore racist and homophobe.
    • Shaun Williamson having only one notable role: Barry from Eastenders. He's referred to as Barry constantly by the other characters, and he's even called that in the credits.
  • Luisana Lopilato in Casados Con Hijos (the version of Married... with Children licensed for Argentina) spoofed the teenage starlet characters she played in shows such as Rebelde Way and Floricienta.
  • Cybill had Cybill Shephard, fallen actress... as Cybill Sheridan, fallen actress.
    • In one episode, she dates Jonathon Frakes, who is Adam Westing the hell out of himself throughout the show. In the conclusion, he's strongly implied to have been Riker pretending to be Frakes.
  • Christopher Eccleston parodied Doctor Who on The Sarah Silverman Program, playing the title character on the Show Within a Show, Dr. Lazer Rage.
  • Pretty much anyone involved with Doctor Who gets this treatment in The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot, which is full of Self-Deprecating Humor:
    • Peter Davison and Colin Baker are depicted as has-beens who are desperate to relive their glory days and aren't respected by their families.
    • Sylvester McCoy won't shut up about his role in The Hobbit films, and is considered a nuisance by both Peter Jackson and Ian McKellen.
      • McCoy also Adam Wested in an episode of the BBC daytime soap Doctors, in which he played a has-been actor best known for his kids' TV role as "The Magical Lollipop Man".
    • John Barrowman has a huge ego, never stops singing show tunes, and is constantly giving away copies of his music, which happens to legal tender at the Doctor Who Experience. Also, his dark secret is that he is straight and has a wife and two kids.
    • Steven Moffat is depicted as a Man Child who still plays with his Doctor Who action figures.
    • Russell T Davies is more desperate to be included in the 50th anniversary than the former Doctors, and throws out a bunch of horrible ideas to work himself into the plot.
    • David Tennant is so focused on "The Day of the Doctor" that he's forgotten his wife is giving birth.
    • Tom Baker is a terrifying figure and totally convinced he actually is the Doctornote .
    • Paul McGann is the only one depicted as remotely professional, but he's secretly Not so Above It All and keen to get into the 50th anniversary.
  • Arrested Development
    • Carl Weathers plays himself as a constantly broke, scheming and cheapskate opportunist.
    • Conan O'Brien plays himself as a Jerk Ass who doesn't respect his female writers or Andy Richter.
      • Speaking of Andy Richter, he plays himself and his four quintuplet brothers on the show.
  • Saturday Night Live guests frequently invoke this trope, especially in opening monologues: eg. Bob Saget gives an autograph to a child fan (though the "autograph" turns out to just be a string of dirty words since Saget was exhilarated to be on a show where he could actually use them), who asks for his pen back afterwards; Bob refuses, then reveals that the interior of his jacket is lined with pens stolen from the many kids who sought his autograph.
  • Everyone who appeared as a guest on the spoof talk show The Larry Sanders Show was doing this. Worth mentioning is David Duchovny, who played himself in love with Larry, propositioning him backstage wherever he appeared.
  • BRIAN BLESSED as a very, very Large Ham. This was most obvious when he hosted Have I Got News for You.
  • Anthony Stewart Head appeared on Spooks as a smart, well-educated international terrorist who was notorious for duping naive young women into helping him carry out his attacks. He apparently had a particular thing for blondes...
  • 30 Rock
    • James Franconote  portrayed himself as a Moe fan who needs Jenna to act as his beard to cover up his relationship with an anime body pillow.
    • Half the regulars on 30 Rock (Tina Fey, Tracy Morgan, Jack McBrayer, and Judah Friedlander) basically play comically exaggerated versions of themselves.
    • NBC newscaster Brian Williams shows up frequently on the show as himself, and his character is wackier each time.
      • He does this on The Daily Show as well. In fact, he seems to Adam West himself everywhere except for NBC Nightly News and Rock Center.
  • Tommy Chong appeared as a guest on The George Lopez Show and as a semi-regular on That '70s Show, playing essentially the same character: A burned-out not-so-ex-hippie stoner.
  • Jeff Goldblum on Friends, running his own style of acting into the ground.
  • Jennifer Grey as Jennifer Grey on It's Like, You Know..., an out-of-work actress who had just received a rhinoplasty... much like the real Jennifer Grey.
  • In A Colbert Christmas, country singer Toby Keith appears as himself, singing an even more hyperbolic take on his post-9/11 hit "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue" meant to spoof conservative pundit Bill O'Reilly's declaration of a "war on Christmas." He also enters and exits the holiday special carrying an assault rifle.
  • Wil Wheaton's Celebrity Star appearances in The Big Bang Theory features a mean and snarky Wil Wheaton, which is really not what the guy's like. He promises. Game over, Moonpie!
    • Brent Spiner does this as well in a brief appearance, opening the package of a signed Wesley Crusher action figure given to Sheldon by Wheaton, and thus taking Wheaton's place as Sheldon's mortal enemy.
    • Wheaton also plays a snarky jackass on The Guild, Eureka, and Leverage.
      • On a special Star Trek edition of The Weakest Link (back when Anne Robinson was hosting the American version), Wheaton did this and it worked a bit too well. One of the other celebrity contestants was actually upset and creeped out by his behavior.
  • On Just Shoot Me! Finch, a big Star Wars fan, meets Mark Hamill and pesters him. Hamill agrees to spend the day with Finch at his job in the Blush magazine offices. After a while Hamill annoys Finch to the point where Finch asks him to leave and Mark reveals he was just acting so irritating to teach Finch a lesson.
    • Hamill does a similar role on 3rd Rock from the Sun where he's hounded by the main cast for his performance as Luke Skywalker. While he publicly bemoans his fans only remembering that part, he's shown alone in his hotel room re-enacting it in front of his mirror with a hair dryer as a blaster.
  • Matthew McConaughey did this in an episode of Sex and the City, playing the classic Hollywood jackass.
  • During Comedy Central's roast of Larry the Cable Guy, Gary Busey spends a good 5 minutes insulting himself.
    Busey: "How did they manage to get Gary Busey here? Did somebody turn on the batshit signal?"
    • Busey also plays a literally crazy version of himself in Two and a Half Men. Literal to the point where he's Alan's roommate when he's institutionalized.
  • Duncan James, previously of the Boy Band Blue, played an obvious parody of himself and how he is perceived in the media in the UK Sitcom Plus One, to the extent that his character was only ever referred to (even in the credits) as 'Duncan from Blue'.
  • Olivia Newton John on Glee plays an uber-Jerkassish version of herself in the episodes "Bad Reputation" and "Journey".
  • In Hannah Montana, Billy Ray Cyrus plays his own Captain Ersatz.
    • Particularly in one episode where the family is trying to throw off a reporter who nearly discovers Miley is Hannah Montana. Miley pretends to be a delusional girl who only thinks she's Hannah Montana, while Jackson pretends to be Elvis. The final straw however, is when Billy Ray's character throws on a huge mullet wig and says he's Billy Ray Cyrus. The reporter declares that the whole family is crazy and leaves.
    • Miley, to an extent derives much humor in Adam Westing her own Real Life self in the Miley Stewart and "Hannah" roles throughout the show, in particular her Deep South roots and celebrity status (along with the occasional stealth humor on her run-ins with scandal, and her Teen Idol image).
  • Miranda Cosgrove in the iCarly Clip Show episode "iBloop".
  • Don Adams after Get Smart was typecast to the point where Maxwell Smart was the only character he could play (see The Nude Bomb). He did do voice work for Tennessee Tuxedo but that was just his Maxwell Smart voice.
    • And in Inspector Gadget, where he offers a glimpse of what Robocop might have be if he'd been rebuilt out of Maxwell Smart instead of Alex Murphy.
  • In Party Down, Steve Guttenberg plays himself as a cartoonishly enthusiastic and accommodating host who takes a bunch of clueless waiters under his wing for a night. No matter how idiotically his guests behave, he continues to smile indulgently and congratulate them for sharing. After spending the whole night encouraging his guests to "go for it," he steals one of their dates.
  • In Episodes, actor Matt LeBlanc ("Joey" from Friends) plays a (presumably) fictional Jerk Ass version of himself, using his own name and Friends backstory, but with some fictionalized elements including (presumably) a Gag Penis, and two sons instead of his real singular daughter.
  • Triple H had a role in an episode of Pacific Blue as a porn king's bodyguard. He's apparently playing himself since not only is his character referred to as "Triple H" by the others but he even wears a DeGeneration-X shirt. Maybe in this universe he fell on some hard times?
  • An episode of The Golden Girls featured Lyle Waggoner and Sonny Bono as caricatures of themselves fighting over Dorothy's affections. In the end, it's revealed that the whole thing was All Just a Dream... and a recurring one, at that.
  • In the 2011 FOX sitcom New Girl, Zooey Deschanel plays a character who can't get a guy because she's too weird. Of course, most of her fans like her because she's so weird, but that's beside the point.
  • "Voiceover Man" Peter Dickson, known for his work on E4, The X Factor, Britain's Got Talent, Family Fortunes, The Price Is Right and many more, loves to play up his Large Ham Announcer role. See The X Husband and Voiceover Man Needs a Job for examples.
  • Isaiah Mustafa (aka Old Spice Guy) appears in Chuck as a character almost as implausibly awesome as he is in the Old Spice adverts - super confident, imposingly strong, and a perfect shot with a sticker gun at 30 feet (shooting behind his back). He even gets a tooth-gleam effect when smiling.
  • Chevy Chase, known for his prima donna antics and sour egotism around his co-stars (leading to his permanent ban on Saturday Night Live) revived his career playing Pierce Hawthorne in Community, whose selfishness, bordering on psychopathic, wreaks havoc on the show.
    • Jack Black's character in Community is an overenthusiastic, deluded, half-crazy Large Ham who breaks into song at inappropriate moments. When trying to persuade the group of his value, he describes himself as a "Chubby agile guy" before accidentally high-kicking Jeff in the face.
    • A straighter example is Luis Guzman's appearance on the show, where he plays himself as Greendale's most famous former student, who still loves the place because he "got so much pussy" there.
  • Charles Grodin, actually an extremely nice guy by all accounts, adopts the same curmudgeonly, cynical, easily annoyed persona in his public and television appearances that he became known for in film. It got really confusing when he hosted an ostensibly non-comedic cable chat show as the comically serious and bitter "Charles Grodin" instead of as himself.
  • Lyle Talbot, former matinee idol turned B-movie actor, portrayed "State Senator Lyle Talbot", a former matinee idol turned B-movie actor turned politician in Green Acres, parodying both himself and then California governor Ronald Reagan. He later portrayed the unnamed state's governor who would host marathons of his own films on a local TV station.
  • Sometimes the guest stars on Entourage will do this. Matt Damon is the best example, with one episode ending with him begging for donations to a child charity on his phone, becoming more and more overly emotional each time and going further into overblown ham comedy.
  • How I Met Your Mother's star drawing power is pretty up there, and they enjoy Adam Westing. They got Emmitt Smith in the second season (What's more important than football? Dance, my friend. Dance) and Regis Philbin in the fourth.
    • Maury Povich appears in one episode in the background of almost every scene, meaning that he's in numerous places at once.
    • Jim Nantz appears as himself in an Imagine Spot, where he's interviewing Barney about his sporting triumphs in the sport of picking up random hotties.
    • Alan Thicke has made several appearances as himself, starting with the Season 3 episode, "Sandcastles in the Sand." He's an old friend of Robin's (due to both being Canadian and having met on the "Sandcastles in the Sand" music video, where he played her father).
    • Billy Zapka appears as a washed up Former Child Star who travels with 2000 headshots of himself in his trunk and is so hated for his famous villain roles that he's ostracised by his family and gets booed and pelted with popcorn by random people in the street
  • Kevin Bacon appeared on Will and Grace as a movie star who needs to be stalked by the likes of Jack.
  • Casa Vianello, the longest-running Sitcom on Italian TV (1988-2007), depicted a comedic version of Raimondo Vianello and Sandra Mondaini (two of the most beloved former film and TV actors in Italy)'s everyday life. The two were married in real life too; Raimondo portrayed himself as a grumpy, scheming and lecherous old man whose only interest in life was soccer, and Sandra played the part of the brilliant but ditzy housewife who always tries to find new ways to escape boredom. The show enjoyed immediate success and the end of every episode, with the two in bed, Sandra wildly thrashing her legs while Raimondo quietly read a newspaper right next to her, became something of a Memetic Mutation in Italy.
  • Val Kilmer's appearance on Life's Too Short, which reunites him with his Willow co-star Warwick Davis. "Adam West" is even namechecked.
  • Episodes of the tenth season of Two and a Half Men have featured guest appearances by ex-Disney Channel stars, including Miley Cyrus, Emily Osment and Hilary Duff (though not together). Each of them play promiscuous and often ditzy or eccentric girlfriends or (soon-to-be-girlffriends) of Jake or Walden, and the actresses are certainly both Playing Against Type while sending up their squeaky-clean, family-friendly Disney images in their roles.
  • Any time a celebrity makes a cameo on Whose Lineisit Anyway had a TON of this.
  • Creed Bratton's self-named character in the American version of The Office (US).
  • In the TV short Heat Vision and Jack, Ron Silver plays Ron Silver, government assassin and movie actor.

     Music Video 
  • David Bowie's Jazzin' for Blue Jean (1984), a Short Film / long-form video, is partially built around this via his playing two roles. One is Adorkable hero Vic, who is trying to maintain a Celebrity Lie. The celebrity in question is Bowie's other character, Screamin' Lord Byron, a rock star with an elaborate, Arabian Nights-inspired onstage look and a way with the ladies... plus a diva-ish attitude and presumably decadent offstage life — when we first see him in the flesh, his handlers are carrying him to his dressing room because he's passed out; he's even hooked up to a portable oxygen tank. Bowie had just had a Newbie Boom thanks to 1983's Let's Dance, and it's possible newbies didn't realize "Mr. Screamin'" was a spoof of his 1970s personas (Ziggy Stardust, The Thin White Duke, etc.) and excesses. As Vic chews him out at the end: "You conniving, randy, bogus-Oriental old queen! Your record sleeves are better than your songs!"
  • James Van Der Beek plays a parody version of himself in the video for Kesha's "Blow".
  • In the video for "Disco 2000" by Pulp, Jarvis Cocker appears as himself frequently being shown on TV screens, magazine covers, posters and so on; leading other characters to make complaints like "Not him again!" This was a response to the perceived over-exposure of Pulp at the time.

    Video Games 
  • Lazlow Jones is a hacker, radio host and privacy advocate who moonlights as a writer for the Grand Theft Auto series. He voices one of the recurring radio hosts (also called Lazlow) and happens to be one of the unluckier characters of the franchise, routinely getting threatened and insulted by his callers and guests. By Grand Theft Auto IV, Lazlow has been fired half a dozen times from various stations and has become increasingly bitter and alcoholic.
  • In the Saints Row 2 DLC pack Ultor Exposed, the Boss teams up with ex-porn star Tera Patrick, playing herself as an Ultor microbiologist-turned-whistleblower.
  • Saints Row: The Third has Burt Reynolds as the Mayor of Steelport. Unlike Adam West, however, Mayor Reynolds is an in-universe Memetic Badass.
  • Saints Row IV gets rid of the fan favorite Zombie Voice and replaces it with a Nolan North option instead. It's Nolan North playing Nolan North. Keith David also voices himself as the Vice President. Since he also voiced Julius in the first two games, comparisons eventually get brought up.
    • Keith's They Live! costar Roddy Piper shows up in the former's personal simulation and eventually becomes a recruitable party member.
  • In Fallout: New Vegas, singer Wayne "Mr. Las Vegas" Newton appears as Radio New Vegas' DJ, Mr. New Vegas.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • In Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist, every main character was the voice actor doing a self-parody. The patients were all stand-up comics replaying the 'total neurotic loser bits' from their own stand-up acts, to animation. Dr. Katz is the only one with original lines.
  • The Futurama movie "Into the Wild Green Yonder" featured Penn Jillette as a head who barely fit in his jar and worked with a Teller who was dead and the act was pretty much the same.
  • The genuine article appears in the immortal The Simpsons episode "Mr. Plow." The camera slowly tilts as West's Mask of Sanity starts slipping, whereupon the family cautiously backs away from him.
    "And why doesn't Batman dance anymore? Remember the Batusi?" (begins to shuck and jive)
    • In "On a Clear Day I Can't See My Sister," Lisa gets a restraining order against Bart and Bart is given an instructional video on restraining orders narrated by Gary Busey, who enters on a motorcycle, introduces himself with an Evil Laugh, and concludes his parable on restraining orders thusly;
    Busey: I'm gonna let you in on a little secret; John is me. And Mary is a composite of twelve women and one major film studio that couldn't deal with me because I'm too real.
    • In another episode, Stan Lee plays a slightly crazy version of himself who will not leave Comic Book Guy's shop, breaks a toy Batmobile in an attempt to make a The Thing figurine fit inside it, thinks he "made it better" and believes he can turn into the Hulk.
    Stan Lee: I really did it once!
    Comic Book Guy: Please. You couldn't turn into Bill Bixby!
    • They also had Michael Moore respond to a request for a source on his claims, with "Your Mom!"
    • In "Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder", Penn & Teller also appear as themselves with Penn portrayed as Ax-Crazy and Teller as an abused victim:
    Teller: Will you shut up?
    Homer: Hey, I thought you never talked.
    Teller: Uh, I didn't mean to. It just slipped out. Oh, God, now Penn's going to beat me.
    Teller: No it isn't! Don't leave me alone with him!
    Penn: [to Homer] You've ruined the act! I'm going to kill you!
    Teller: He'll do it! I'm not the first Teller!
    • They made a return appearance during "The Great Simpsina", a stage-magic-based episode. This time, Teller's the domineering one (claiming that Penn "only does the talking on stage.") Also, when a variety of dangerous objects are thrown at Penn as a distraction, he starts juggling them, seemingly on instinct alone.
      Teller: Just drop them!
      Penn: I can't! I never learned how!
    • Before Family Guy, James Woods played himself-as-a-lunatic in "Homer and Apu", replacing Apu at the Kwik-E-Mart and claiming to be researching a movie role. During the interview he even claims to have traveled through time to research for his cameo in Chaplin. When Apu returns to his job, Woods leaves to "battle aliens on a faraway planet", and gives a Sure, Let's Go with That reaction when Marge thinks he's talking about another movie.
    • Neil Gaiman appears as himself in "The Book Job" wherein he plays a crazy Diabolical Mastermind who Never Learned to Read.
    • Before Gaiman, Alan Moore showed up at a comic store opening, displeased at being asked to sign a copy of Watchmen Babies in "V for Vacation".
  • Patrick Stewart's role in the Family Guy episode where the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation are all present is a hilarious one, with him being egotistical, violent (Wesley asks for something from the take out and receives a brutal smash into the window 'You'll get nothing and like it!') and all-round Crazy Awesome.
    Bullock: Naturally, recapturing this fugitive is our top priority. Then we can track down the bastards that have been harboring it and punish them brutally. I mean, really brutally. Weird stuff. Butt stuff.
    • Patrick Stewart also voiced Peter during a cutaway in which Peter had had his vocal cords surgically replaced with Patrick Stewart's
    • He also voices the internal monologues of Joe's infant baby Susie. His first line in that role was "Hello, this is Patrick Stewart, how are you enjoying the show so far?"
    • Family Guy also has James Woods, who plays himself as a recurring psychotic villain.
    • In one episode, Rush Limbaugh also showed up playing himself (well, Fred Savage in a suit, but that's another episode....). Rush also shows up in the first Family Guy Star Wars parody, where he goes on a talk radio rant about a liberal galactic agenda.
    • A Cutaway Gag Alyssa Milano appears in person to file a defamation suit against the show, spoofing a lawsuit she filed in real life.
    • There was also had a gruesome spoof of Scooby-Doo, with Frank Welker reprising his role of Fred.
    • "Patriot Games" portrayed Jay Leno as a stalker who wants to kill Tom Brady (with Leno himself providing the voice).
  • In Megas XLR, the character Magnanimous was, as a whole, a parody of Bruce Campbell... voiced by Bruce Campbell. His second appearance even had a chainsaw-and-shotgun-toting mech!
    • Which looks like Elvis.
  • American Dad! has, not only Patrick Stewart, they also had the members of the band My Morning Jacket play themselves, having to deal with Stan's slightly-stalkerish obsession of them, especially the singer Jim James.
    • They also had Ricky Martin in an episode as himself where he was shown as being in love with Roger.
    • Danny Devito voices himself as a robot in "Tearjerker"
  • In The Cleveland Show, Kanye West plays high-schooler (and later successful rapper) Kenny West - basically an exaggerated version of himself.
  • Gary Owens was known for voicing Hanna-Barbera's limited animation superheroes like Space Ghost and Blue Falcon. In Disney's Raw Toonage, he voiced a parody of those guys: "Badly-Animated Man."
  • Robot Chicken does this a lot, as a surprising number of the celebrity parodies feature the actual celebrity. Special mention has to go to the fourth season premiere, which starts with co-creators Matthew Senreich and Seth Green (himself someone that can't stand the thought of only having a major role in a hit TV show paying hundreds of thousands) looking for jobs from a Joss Whedon as an overly dramatic egotistical nut-job who thinks he has the right to kill them, a Ron Moore who writes Battlestar Galactica by throwing darts to decide who's a Cylon (and decides to kill Seth Green because he thinks he could be one) and Seth MacFarlane as a guy with the reality-warping power to rewrite history to include any random past event he offhandedly mentions, which he does constantly. All of them were voiced by the actual people.
    • Some other memorable examples have been Rachael Leigh Cook in a parody of her "This is your brain on drugs" PSA where she goes completely bonkers and starts running around destroying things with the frying pan until finally leaping off building to her death; Joey Fatone playing himself as 'The Karate Kid to revenge the deaths of his fellow *NSYNC bandmates (and also poke fun at his weight problem — the sketch is called "Enter the Fat One"); Corey Haim and Corey Feldman as failed-child-actor would-be superheroes; Tila Tequila in her MTV reality show, revealed to be a Terminator-esque cyborg programmed with the sole goal of being a pop celebrity; Stan Lee and Pamela Anderson as the co-hosts of a comic book gossip show, with Stan making increasingly un-subtle innuendos until finally leaping out a window to prevent anyone from finding out his secret identity.
    • Ryan Seacrest parodied his own public image during a guest spot on this show.
    • Morgan Freeman reprised his narration of March Of The Penguins in a spoof that followed the day to day life of The Penguin.
    • A case of missed Adam Westing occurred when they did a sketch where the writers of Star Trek: The Next Generation attempted to make Wesley Crusher more likable by introducing a banjo-playing Great Gazoo-esque creature named Snergle, only for fans to want them to kill Crusher and keep Snergle. Wil Wheton later said he'd been happy to voice Wesley if they'd asked.
  • Al Gore, ever since he made An Inconvenient Truth, has appeared a few times in cameos on Futurama as an over-the-top parody of either a environmentalist super-hero ("A whale is in trouble!") or as a super-egotist who claims credit for everything (as he was mocked for after his 'invented the internet' comment was misconstrued).
    Gore: "Finally! I get to save the world with deadly lasers instead of deadly slideshows!"
    Gore: "If we don't go back there and make that event happen, the entire universe will be destroyed... And as an environmentalist, I'm against that."
  • In The Venture Bros., Kevin Conroy, the voice of Batman: The Animated Series, does an absolutely hilarious parody of his performance as the caped crusader, in the form of Captain Sunshine, complete with massive Ho Yay directed towards his deceased sidekick, Wonderboy. While directing his performance, the creators were adamant that Conroy not "be afraid to be Batman."
  • Archer did it with Burt Reynolds, who turns out to be just as much a crack stunt driver and world-class ladies' man in real life as in the movies that Archer is obsessed with.
  • In the years between his initial burst of fame as the star of Doogie Howser, M.D. and his comeback role as Barney in How I Met Your Mother, Neil Patrick Harris guest-starred in an episode of Static Shock as a washed-up teen sitcom actor who turned to a life of crime after failing to find more acting work. As Harris himself was still struggling to get a steady gig, this casting could be seen as an allusion.
  • In Ultimate Spider-Man, Stan Lee plays a school janitor who is prone to delusions of grandeur and frequently talks to himself when nobody else is around. The students seem to think he is insane.
  • According to Mark Evanier, Kevin Meaney's role as Aloysius on Garfield and Friends was so good, it got him onto many other cartoons such as Rocko's Modern Life and Duckman.
  • Conan O'Brien plays talk show host Dave Endochrine in The Dark Knight Returns (Part 2). He ends up a victim of the Joker.
  • Mark Hamill appeared as himself in a sketch on Robot Chicken called "Meteorgeddon" where Harrison Ford is chosen to lead a mission to blow up a rogue asteroid (along with Aerosmith as the crew). He says he's not qualified but a Star Wars fan cheers him on: "Go get 'em Han Solo". Then there's another press conference called by Hamill who thinks he should lead the mission:
    Hamill: "Hey, I blew up the Death Star with my eyes closed."
    SAME Star Wars fan: "That was just a movie, dude."

    Other 

    Real Life 
  • While attending UC Berkeley, Jeff Cohen, who played Chunk in The Goonies, became student body president, using "Chunk for president!" as his campaign slogan, and would also do the "Truffle Shuffle" at home games, even though he had lost weight as an adult.
  • Rebecca Black seems to be forever tagged to Fridays as she starred as herself in Katy Perry's "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F)" music video.
  • Daniel Ellsberg is an economist who made a significant contribution to the theory of decisions under uncertainty, but he will always be known as the Pentagon Papers guy.


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