Whenever a resemblance is noted In-Universe between a celebrity and someone else.
It's a relatively common phenomenon. Some people do look alike, but since celebrities have such well known faces, people tend to see their resemblances in other people.
In magazines, this is often poked fun at with side by side photos of celebrities with people who resemble them, often with the caption "Switched at Birth?", and often with the labels swapped.
In a brilliant bit of Refuge in Audacity, Albert Einstein would invoke this to anyone who approached him in the street, asking him to explain his theories. He would reply "Pardon me, sorry! Always I am mistaken for Professor Einstein."
It can be helpful for actors trying to break into Hollywood to already have this aspect. Some casting agencies will be asked by studios to look for someone who looks like [whatever] celebrity. Similarly, some writers and artists intentionally design fictional characters off of real life celebrities.
Although the audience can definitely feel that a certain character, actor or actress resembles a celebrity, this trope only applies if this resemblance is mentioned or purposely exploited in a work.
Might overlap with Celebrity Paradox if said celebrity appears in the work.
- When asked why they moved the apartment (why simply move when you've magic?), young Loki mentions that the neighbours kept mistaking them for Harry Styles. And when Mike and Bruno's "summoning" succeeds, Mike blurts out that Loki "really looks like that actor guy".
- In Noob, one of the male players gets told he looks like Viggo Mortensen by a random teen. This is a picture of the character's gaming avatar taken from the original webseries.
- Ever since the Marvel Cinematic Universe gained prominence, Marvel has loved nodding to it in the comics. For example, Storm has been mistaken for Halle Berry more than once, and in Marvel Comics 2 Peter Parker has said that he thinks Jessica Drew's son (the current Spider-Man) looks like Tobey Maguire.
- This is also the reason Ryan Reynolds was eventually cast as Deadpool (besides his being a fan of the character): Wade once described himself as looking like Reynolds cross-bred with a shar pei.
- Red Ears: One gag features a man who looks like Frank Sinatra. Everyone he meets notices the resemblance and it annoys him beyond belief. Then, an attractive young lady says to him: "Say, you look a lot like Frank Sinatra." Whereupon the man bursts out singing "My Way".
- People occasionally notice, and comment upon, the fact that Clark Kent bears a striking resemblance to Superman. Nobody ever makes the connection.
- In Ocean's Twelve, Tess, played by Julia Roberts, pretends to be Julia Roberts.
- In Dawn of the Dead (2004), Kenneth bonds with a Gun-Shop owner across the street by communicating via board and playing games on the rooftop. One of said games is "Shoot the Celebrity", which apparently consists of sniping a zombie that resembles a celebrity. So far, he's got to shoot "Jay Leno", "Freddy Mercury" and "Rosie O'Donnel".
- In Saturday Night Fever, a drunken girl at the disco mistakes Tony (the protagonist, played by John Travolta) for Al Pacino and urges him to kiss her. Lampshaded when Tony wakes up in the morning and asks himself "Do I really look like Al Pacino?"
- In Russian war drama Eugene, Little Eugene and Katyusha Colonel Karavayev is played by famous Soviet actor and singer Mark Bernes. At one point, main character tells that girls like Colonel Karavayev, because he look like Mark Bernes.
- In Looney Tunes: Back in Action, Brendan Fraser plays a stuntman who was the In-Universe Fraser's stunt double for The Mummy (1999). Then later the "real" Fraser appears for the protagonist to set things straight.
- In His Girl Friday, Walter Burns (Cary Grant) describes rival in love Bruce Baldwin (Ralph Bellamy) as "looking like, uh, that guy from the movies, you know... Ralph Bellamy."
- Parodied in Last Action Hero. Jack Slater goes after the Ripper in what people assume to be a studio-authorized stunt and is tackled by Arnold Schwarzenegger. After getting off him, Arnold praises him as the best celebrity lookalike he'd ever seen and starts offering him appearance gigs.
- Planet Terror: One of the evil soldiers (played by Quentin Tarantino) makes a point about how Cherry (Rose McGowan) resembles Ava Gardner. He also threatens her that if she continues to look at him with contempt that she "won't look like Ava Gardner no more".
- A bit in Annie Hall where a passer-by is described by Alvy as being the winner of a Truman Capote look-alike contest. The guy is played by Truman Capote.
- Late Spring: Noriko's fiancé Satake is said to look like Gary Cooper, "the man from that baseball movie." (He never appears onscreen.)
- Scream 3 features a cameo from Carrie Fisher playing a receptionist who gets mistaken for the real Carrie. She grumpily says she got called back several times for the role of Princess Leia too.
- The Runaways has Kim Fowley going on about how much Cherie Curie resembles Brigitte Bardot.
- Adrien English, the bookseller/author in the series of gay mysteries by Josh Lanyon, is dogged by an occasionally remarked-upon close resemblance to Montgomery Clift. His attitude toward this is generally wry bemusement, once responding to one such observation by asking, "Before or after the accident?"
"You remind me of that actor from A Place in the Sun."
- Eleanor from Eleanor & Park says that Park's father looks like Tom Selleck.
- The eponymous protagonist of Gog orders for people resembling famous historical figures to be brought to his home, taught English and dressed in appropriate outfits in A collection of celebrities. They ended up saying nonsense and acting vulgarly. An Ukrainian peasant who looked like Leo Tolstoy told him that he just wanted to be sent home and that he understands his plight. Gog eventually sent them away, while letting them keep their costumes.
- Rivers of London: Biracial protagonist Peter Grant is occasionally teased for looking like Barack Obama. The comic book depiction of him drives home the resemblance.
- William Gibson's Virtual Light mentions the exploitation of this trope with an In-Universe computer application that scans a person's features and links them to that of a celebrity that resembles him/her the most, used mostly for laughs and the occasional search for missing persons (the reasoning that telling someone that the person looks like so-and-so celebrity will help them remember him better). The application is used on protagonist Berry Rydell, and it says back that Rydell has a resemblance to Tommy Lee Jones.
- In The Widow of Desire Natalie Stuart is told by her friends that she looks like a brunette Cybill Shepherd.
- Count Fosco in The Woman in White looks like a taller and fatter Napoléon Bonaparte, at least according to Marian Halcombe.
- In Rogue, Antonio tells Kiara she looks like Anna Paquin.
- Jimmy Carr's resemblance to tennis star Roger Federer has been remarked upon a few times on Carr's Channel 4 series 8 Out of 10 Cats, and during his appearances on shows like A League of Their Own.
- When David Tennant appeared as a Star in a Reasonably Priced Car on Top Gear, Jeremy Clarkson noted that he "really [is] a good-looking version of Richard Hammond."
- In Breaking Bad, Saul Goodman lampshades this trope when he explains to Walt, "If you're committed enough, you can make any story work. I once told a woman I was Kevin Costner, and it worked because I believed it!" No, seriously, he really does.
- In a flashback on All in the Family which showed when Mike and Gloria first met, Mike claimed that he grew his beard because he looked like Fred Astaire and it was easier to change his look than learn how to dance.
- In "And the Hidden Stash," the second-season premiere of 2 Broke Girls, Caroline disguises herself with a brunette wig to attend the auction of her family's property. Max introduces her to people as Zooey Deschanel (whom she actually does resemble in the wig), Jennifer Love Hewitt (which a security guard actually believes) and Katie Holmes.
- In an episode of Mad About You, Helen Hunt's character Jamie describes herself as resembling Jodie Foster. This references the fact that, throughout Hunt's career, she has been compared to Foster, due to the resemblance between them and the fact that Foster became an established performer a few years before Hunt.
- In Whose Line Is It Anyway?, there have been a couple of comments on how Ryan Stiles looks like Doogie Howser.
- In Castle, the title character, played by Nathan Fillion, is jokingly called Jason Bateman. This is a reference to a few real-life incidents where Fillion was mistaken for Bateman.
- Played more seriously, 3XK manages to frame Castle for murder by putting out a classified ad looking for lookalikes for famous writers. Once he finds one (played by Nathan Fillion's stand in), he rejects him for that job but hires him for a seemingly unrelated project, wherein he purchases some earrings found at the crime scene.
- Invoked in Bones, wherein one Victim of the Week is a pile of bones (obviously), and his facial reconstruction comes out looking like George Clooney. Everyone who sees the sketch brings up Clooney first, and the few who recognize the victim go "Huh, I guess he did look sort of like Clooney." It's actually an interesting Lampshade on the fact that Angela's facial reconstructions are usually spot-on for the victims, which is simply unlikely.
- Community has mentioned several
- As noted by both Abed and Jeff, Britta looks like Elisabeth Shue.
- Troy notes that the Dean looks like Moby.
- In real life, Jim Rash has quite the uncanny resemblance to J.P. Manoux. Guess who got hired to play the "doppledeaner?"◊
- An unseen biracial character is alternately described as a black Michael Chiklis and a white George Foreman.
Britta: HEY! His name is David, and he's a person!
- In the same exchange Jeff calls Abed "brown Jamie Lee Curtis."
- The many "Jeff looks like Ryan Seacrest" jokes.
- Garret is noted to look like Mark David Chapman.
- One episode features the entire gang working for a celebrity impersonator group to pay off Abed's debt to them (It Makes Sense in Context). Jeff plays Ryan Seacrest, Annie plays Judy Garland, Abed plays Jamie Lee Curtis, Shirley plays Oprah, Pierce plays a fat Marlon Brando (although he thinks he's playing Burt Reynolds), Troy plays a black Michael Jackson, and Britta plays a white Michael Jackson. This was also the episode where J.P. Manoux's character was introduced as a fake Moby who gets mistaken for the dean.
- Similarly, on How I Met Your Mother, in the first season, J.P. Manoux plays a character whom the gang mistakenly believes to be Moby. It takes a while for them to realize that it's not him, then they start calling him "Not Moby" (which is the name they use for him in the credits).
- The resemblance between Omar Epps, who plays Foreman in House, and Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was referenced in the episode "Ignorance Is Bliss":
House: Got all of my starters back plus a couple of free agents. I feel like Mike Tomlin. (looks at Foreman) Probably not as much as you do, but you get the idea.
- Auction Hunters featured one episode in northern Texas where a competitor bore an uncanny resemblance to George W. Bush, a resemblance that did not go unnoticed by the two Hunters, who quickly nicknamed him "W". He turned out to be their main competition at that auction.
- Arrow lampshades how much Jessica DeGouw (aka Helena Bertinelli) looks like Carly Foulkes (aka the T-Mobile Girl). Further emphasized by how both are motorcycle riders.
- A Running Gag in The Nanny. Maxwell Sheffield (actor Charles Shaughnessy): "I am NOT Pierce Brosnan!"
- In "Val's Boyfriend", Maxwell's business partner C.C. Babcock temporarily quits the partnership, so Fran helps them get back together by making her think Maxwell needs help signing Marvin Hamlisch onto a new production; in reality, he's Fran's former high school music teacher, Alan Neider, played by Hamlisch.
- The episode of iCarly "i Lookalike" makes it known that Malese Jow is Miranda Cosgrove's doppelganger.
- Iron Chef America took this and ran with it. When guest chefs Nicola and Fabrizio Carro (identical twins) came to compete, Iron Chef Michael Symon teamed up with Chef Michael Psilakis to compete. Due to identically cut facial hair, the Michaels actually looked more alike than the real twins they were competing against.
- Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith had already once◊ worn a shirt reading "I am not Will Ferrell". Then Jimmy Fallon arranged for both to attend The Tonight Show wearing identical outfits, making it impossible to tell them apart. The drum showoff later made it easier (without the jacket, Chad's tattoos are visible).
- My Kitchen Rules: In the second round of Season 6, when the contestants first met each other, many were quick to point out how much oyster farmer Rob looks like Thor's Chris Hemsworth. The two are apparently cousins, so this is justified.
- On Seinfeld, it's implied that George met someone offscreen who resembled actor George Peppard. He thought it was the real deal, and brags about it to Jerry, who points out that George Peppard died years ago.
George: Well, whoever he was, he knew a lot about The A-Team!
- One episode revolves around George noting a resemblance between his new boss and boxer Sugar Ray Leonard, and said boss assuming George thinks all black people look alike. After George spends the entire episode trying and failing to prove he is not racist, a black waiter actually mistakes George's boss for Sugar Ray. Unfortunately for George, his boss is already out of earshot at that point.
- The Graham Norton Show received two "victims" of this at once. Samuel L. Jackson acknowledged he and Laurence Fishburne are often mistaken for each other, even during interviews or attending the same place. Meanwhile, Keira Knightley admitted sometimes people get pictures with her thinking they're meeting Natalie Portman (something that landed Knightley a role in The Phantom Menace). Keira also claims that she's been mistaken for Kate Winslet and Britney Spears, joking that she prefers taking a picture as Britney than she does as herself.
- In Young & Hungry, Gabi mentions people in China thought she was Carrie Underwood whom people note Emily Osment looks like.
- The CBS prank show I Get That a Lot plays with this by presenting real celebrities such as their reality show hosts like Phil Keoghan working real-life jobs, such as a clerk at a gas station. If somebody recognizes them, they pretend not to actually be the celebrity in question, using the line "I get that a lot," or various variations of it. Sometimes, as an added gag, the celebrity will tell one of the people being pranked that they look like a particular celebrity. The denial will continue until the time comes to bring out the hidden cameras, at which point the celebrity in question reveals that they are in fact that celebrity and the folks who thought so aren't crazy.
- Sabrina the Teenage Witch has a seducer trying to charm Sabrina by saying she looks like a blonde Audrey Hepburn.
- On Corner Gas, Brent is embarrassed by high school photos of himself because he had feathered hair and "looked like a fat Shaun Cassidy".
- Mutually on the Food Network, there is a strong resemblance between Bobby Flay and Tyler Florence, to the point where they could be brothers.
- Played with in one episode of Murder, She Wrote, when a fan recognizes Jessica - which happens often enough, as she's a celebrity in-universe. However, the fan in question insists that Jessica is a soap opera actress, and when Jessica shows the woman her photo on the back of one of her books and tries to tell her who she really is, the woman snaps, "No, you're not!" and storms away. (As we never see the fictional actress in question, it's unknown how strong the resemblance really is.)
- One episode of Saved by the Bell has Slater recommending using Celebrity Resemblance as a way to impress your date's mother, telling her that she looks like an attractive actress; he had ingratiated himself with Jessie's mother by saying she looked like Candice Bergen. This backfires for poor Screech, who proceeds to ask his date's mother, "Has anyone ever told you that you look like Arnold Schwarzenegger?"
- On Trailer Park Boys, Julian is often made fun of for his resemblance to Patrick Swayze, and Ricky is often made fun of for his resemblance to Canadian stage hypnotist Peter Reveen. This is a huge Berserk Button for both characters.
- Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: White Josh thinks Darryl looks like Tom Selleck.
- Bargearse spoofs the Real Person Cameo by claiming that various actors are actually famous persons who resemble them, like fugitive embezzler Christopher Skase, cricketer Graham Yallop, Australian politicians Don Chipp, Senator Bronwyn Bishop, and Kim Beazley, as well as Sonny Bono and Lenin.
- In an episode of Just Shoot Me!, Nina admitted to Jack Gallo that when they first met, she thought he was Elliot Gould.
- Broad City:
- The Twilight Zone (1985): In "The Once and Future King", Gary Pitkin is an Elvis Impersonator who bears an uncanny resemblance to the King of Rock & Roll. After he is sent back in time to July 3, 1954, the real Elvis Presley mistakes him for his identical twin brother Jesse, who died at birth and has seemingly been brought back to life. After Elvis is impaled on the neck of his guitar, Gary assumes his identity and manages to fool everyone except Elvis' mother Gladys.
- In episode three of Mystery Show, a witness describes Hans Jordi, who Starlee is searching for, by comparing him to actor Armin Mueller Stahl.
- Chris Jericho famously compared Crash Holly to Elroy Jetson. The name caught on to the point that even commentator Jim Ross started calling him "Elroy."
- CHIKARA fans compared Arik Cannon to The Kool-Aid Man.
- During John Cena's feud with The Nexus, he called Heath Slater "the chick from Wendy's" and compared Darren Young to Buckwheat.
- Jeremy Hotz once had an interesting encounter while walking his dog in the park.
Man: [yelling from far away] Is that you, Nicolas Cage, you motherfucker?!
Jeremy: No, I'm not Nicolas Cage!
Man: Oh, I know my Nicolas Cage, and you're Nicolas Cage, you motherfucker!
[The man walks up to Jeremy and studies his face closely]
Man: [angrily] You're not Nicolas Cage, you lying motherfucker!
Jeremy: I told you, I'm not Nicolas Cage. [beat] ...I'm Al Pacino. [to audience] So I signed an autograph for him and got the hell out of there.
- Brad Williams describes during an episode of This Is Not Happening about being mistaken for what he calls 'The midget of the moment''. That being Wee-Man. He rolls with it until a woman who had sex with Wee-Man outs him. And the kicker when she shows him a picture...
Brad: That's my other dwarf friend, Shaun.
- In The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II, when a merchant in Celdic sees through Princess Alfin's Paper-Thin Disguise of wearing her schoolgirl uniform, she plays it off as this, and the game's main playable character, Rean Schwarzer, plays along by claiming she's his little sister.
- In Hitman (2016), 47 happens to look just like male model Helmut Kruger. In the Paris level, Kruger himself is scheduled to meet with one of 47's targets. You can see where this is going. It also comes to play in the Hokkaido level, where 47 can infiltrate a hospital by pretending to be a plastic surgery patient who wants to look like Kruger.
- Profound Moments In Left 4 Dead 2: The first appearance of a Boomer prompts djy1991 to shout "Hey guys, it's Gabe Newell!"
- Retsupurae, when riffing on Newgrounds horror-themed Flash games, generally doesn't have the kind of reaction the creators were probably expecting. One particular instance from "Assjoe's Sacrificium" involves a Jump Scare with the girl from The Ring - while usual host slowbeef barely acknowledges that the jumpscare happened, PA Master is rather concerned... because he thought it was Macaulay Culkin's screaming face from Home Alone.
- The React series is rife with these due to Loads and Loads of Characters, but here's the ones mentioned in-series:
- Rachel has a passing resemblance to Sibel Kekilli. It finally pays-off during "Teens React to Game of Thrones" in which Rachel remarks that Tyrion Lannister is her favorite character. Unsurprisingly, one of the most liked comment in that video is from someone saying that "she looks like Shae."
- The flip-side happens during the "Try Not To Laugh or Grin Challenge" featuring the WWE superstars when a few of them have commented that one guy in the video they were watching looks a lot like their colleague Dean Ambrose.
- During the second "Try Not To Feel Old Challenge", the original Madison compares herself to Pamela Anderson.
- During "Adults React to Marina & the Diamonds", Dionte mentions that the singer reminds him of fellow reactor Sheila (the scene then follows with Sheila fangirling over the singer).
- In The Boondocks episode "It's a Black President, Huey Freeman", Werner Herzog notes that Tom DuBois bears a strong resemblance to Barack Obama; both of them are very liberal, light-skinned black attorneys, however Obama is more wealthy, powerful, and attractive than DuBois. Herzog explains that this is the reason why Tom's wife Sarah has such a fangirlish crush on Obama.
- In American Dad!, many claim that the Principal Lewis has an uncanny resemblance to the rapper Rick Ross.
- In The Simpsons "Treehouse of Horror IX" story "Hell Toupée", Snake is executed and Homer gets his scalp for a hair transplant. When he shows it off, Marge says "If your fly weren't open, you'd look just like Roger Moore."
- In "Mother Simpson", when Homer is reunited with his long-lost mother Mona, he tells her "Some people say I look like Dan Aykroyd."
- This is a Running Gag in Histeria! where Loony Fan Pepper Mills keeps confusing famous historical figures for celebrities. She'll go up to someone like George Washington, make a big deal about how she's their biggest fan, and then ask for an autograph before realizing "Hey, you're not Michael Jackson!"