Abbott Elementary emerged as one of the biggest surprises of the 2021-2022 TV season. The show – which is produced by, written by, and stars Quinta Brunson – managed to strike a chord with audiences and earn itself a second season as a result. It also landed historic Emmy wins for Brunson and co-star Sheryl Lee Ralph, who gave an incredible speech. Of course, with new episodes on the way, there are a few things folks might be pondering, like what kind of guest stars might pop in. And if you ask me, there are a number of high-profile comedians, such as Anthony Anderson, who’d be perfect for guest spots.
The school-centric workplace comedy, which has been compared to The Office, has already announced a few guest actors for Season 2. It was recently confirmed that Leslie Odom Jr., Lauren Weedman, and Keyla Monterroso Mejia are set to appear, though one can’t help but wonder who else could show up in the second season (and beyond, should the show continue). There are plenty are stars who would be a great fit for the sitcom, but it would be particularly fun to see a number of notable comedians lend their talents to the proceedings. So, let’s discuss the comedy vets who'd fit into the series:
When it comes to comedy, Anthony Anderson has certainly been around the block, so to speak. He’s starred in notable comedies like Me, Myself & Irene and Barbershop as well as dramas like Hustle & Flow and The Departed. But, in recent years, he’s led the cast of ABC’s Black-ish, which capped off its eight-season run earlier this year. Anderson’s trying new things right now, after having returned for a season on the Law & Order revival. Surely he could pop onto Abbott for an episode. I’d personally love to see him play a high-ranking school exec who comes into conflict with the gang.
It almost feels like there’s nothing Wanda Sykes hasn’t done at this point. The Emmy winner has a plethora of comedy films under her belt like Evan Almighty and Bad Moms. She’s also been a major fixture within the TV realm, having headlined her own sitcom, Wanda at Large, and having appeared on the likes of The New Adventures of Old Christine and The Good Fight. She also notably hosted the Oscars this year. At the moment, she’s also one of the stars of the Netflix family sitcom The Upshaws. She could certainly bring her comedic expertise to Abbott Elementary in any kind of role.
Honestly, what can you even say about Henry Winkler? The man has an illustrious career that spans nearly five decades and is marked with notable film and TV credits like The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Night Shift, The Waterboy and Parks and Recreation. And then, of course, there’s Happy Days, on which he played the iconic Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarelli. These days, Winkler stars on the HBO black comedy Barry, for which he won an Emmy in 2018. In short, Abbott would be lucky to have the seasoned actor. And, with his natural enthusiasm, I’d peg him to play the school’s over-the-top performing arts teacher.
David Alan Grier
There are plenty of potential ways that Abbott Elementary could utilize someone like David Alan Grier. Many comedy aficionados are probably aware that he rose to prominence in the ‘90s as a cast member on Fox’s In Living Color. From there, he’s starred and appeared on notable shows like Martin, My Wife and Kids, Happy Endings, and The Carmichael Show. Grier, who’s also a veteran of the stage, definitely knows how to get a laugh and could do that very thing on the ABC sitcom in almost any role. It’d be great to see him play the brother of Sheryl Lee Ralph’s Barbara Howard or even an old friend of William Stanford Davis’ lovable janitor, Mr. Johnson.
It’s really hard not to like Randall Park. The comedy vet has been at it for years now and has become a fan favorite in both TV and film. Trainwreck, Always Be My Maybe, Ant-Man and the Wasp, and Aquaman are only a few of the movie credits under his belt. On the TV side, he was the lead of ABC's comedy, Fresh off the Boat, appeared on HBO’s Veep and returned to Marvel and joined the cast of Disney+’s WandaVision. And yes, he famously played Steve/Asian Jim on The Office. I’d love to see him on Quinta Brunson’s series – and in a role as humorous as the one he played on NBC’s mockumentary.
If you’re looking for a funnyman with great comedic chops, look no further than Patton Oswalt. The veteran stand-up comedian has been a comedy staple for some time and has greatly endeared himself to audiences. There’s a good chance you’ve seen him on shows like The King of Queens, Parks and Recreation, Community, Two and a Half Men, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Oswalt has a sharp sense of humor and a sweet core that would make him perfect for Abbott Elementary. If he’s not cast as a substitute teacher at the school, then I don’t know what we’re even doing.
So, this one may be a long shot, but Donald Glover would be a fantastic guest star. He’s been one of the hardest-working people in show business for the past decade, having made a name for himself through NBC’s Community before starring in high-profile films like The Martian, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Solo: A Star Wars Story, and The Lion King. The Emmy winner is also the creator of the acclaimed FX dramedy, Atlanta, which is ending after four seasons this year. A fan of Abbott, Glover would be perfect as a potential new boyfriend of Janine Teagues, or even a sibling of hers.
Speaking of Janine’s family, you can’t tell me that Whoopi Goldberg wouldn’t be a strong pick to play her seemingly negligent mother. Most are pretty familiar with the EGOT’s work, which ranges from movies like Ghost, Sister Act, and The Color Purple to TV shows like Whoopi, Everybody Hates Chris, and Star Trek: The Next Generation. Of course, she’s also been a co-host on The View for the past 15 years. The stand-up comic’s sharp wit would be a great addition to the show – and quite a match for the dry humor of Lisa Ann Walter’s Melissa Schemmenti.
There’s only one Carol Burnett, and she’d be an amazing Abbott Elementary guest star. The comedy icon’s career is legendary and was launched into the stratosphere with the debut of her self-titled variety show in the late ‘60s. The six-time Emmy winner has also become quite famous for her guest appearances in numerous shows like Mad About You, Hawaii Five-0, and Better Call Saul, which earned her massive love from fans. Right now, some are even campaigning for her to host Saturday Night Live. The 89-year-old actress is showing no signs of slowing down, and Abbott would be a firm addition to her already-illustrious resume.
Abbott Elementary has the potential to tell some great stories should it remain on TV for years to come, and one would hope that Quinta Brunson and her collaborators utilize these stars and more at some point. But, more immediately, check out new episodes of the comedy when they air on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET as part of the 2022 TV schedule. You can also stream episodes next day with a Hulu subscription.
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