While 30 Rock was on television, it became a huge hit for NBC and ended up strengthening the careers of its 30 Rock cast, which included famous names like Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan, and more. Several 30 Rock actors have only continued to succeed in their post-30 Rock lives, as there were also a lot of guest appearances.
Many of the actors who popped up on 30 Rock back then have gone on to star in huge shows, big hit movies, and more. Since it’s been so long, and everyone has had such influential careers, their appearances on 30 Rock might have flown under the radar. Here are eleven 30 Rock actors who appeared on the popular sitcom that you may have forgotten about.
Tituss Burgess (D’Fwan)
While many of us probably know Tituss Burgess from his breakout role as Tituss Andromedon on the Netflix original series, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, he appeared in 30 Rock as D’Fwan. A member of Tracy Jordan’s wife’s entourage, D’Fwan was a hairdresser and friend of Angie, who had plenty of sass who appeared on the show for four episodes, during Seasons 5 and 6.
Honestly, I could see why Tituss was cast in this role, as I feel like his character from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and 30 Rock are pretty similar in many ways.
Amy Schumer (Stylist)
I feel like at this point everyone knows who Amy Schumer is, from her hilarious comedy specials on Netflix to movies like Trainwreck. But, before she blew up as a stand-up comedian and actress, Schumer had some guest roles in TV. One of which was on 30 Rock.
While her moment was a “blink and you miss it” sort of deal, it’s still easy to point her out if you look hard enough. In the episode, “Mamma Mia!,” during Season 3 of 30 Rock, Amy Schumer plays a stylist who is working on Liz. Her only line is “Ugh, I’m gonna get some tape.” Again, super short, but it’s so funny to see her way before she was really famous.
Cristin Milioti (Abby)
Cristin Milioti has had quite the career in both movies and television. From her role as "the mother" with the How I Met Your Mother cast to her parts in big movies like the Leonardo DiCaprio-led, The Wolf of Wall Street or Palm Springs, she has truly become a star. However, she had a minor guest role on 30 Rock back in 2011 during the sixth season of the show.
In the episode “TGS Hates Women,” Milioti played Abby, an insufferable woman who was supposed to be something good for TGS when they were accused of misogyny, but that ends up backfiring royally for Liz. Her character was so much, and it was a great way to show her comedic timing before her breakout role on How I Met Your Mother.
Adrienne C. Moore (Various)
The Orange is the New Black cast was full of stars from beginning to end, and one of those who grew on me over time was Adrienne C. Moore’s character, Black Cindy, a hilarious inmate. However, before she ended up becoming one of the most popular characters on OITNB, Adrienne C. Moore guest-starred in not one, but two episodes of 30 Rock.
In Episode 2 of Season 7, titled "Governor Dunston," Moore played the manager of a supply store who catches Liz and Chris attempting to jazz up their sex life a little bit. Her second guest role, however, was more memorable, this time having a name, Shanice, and working as a marriage bureau employee in Episode 7 of Season 7, titled "Mazel Tov, Dummies!," who says that she’ll never get married and catcalls Chris. Definitely a fun moment.
Peter Dinklage (Stewart)
While Peter Dinklage did have a pretty successful career prior to this appearance, it wasn’t until he became a part of the Game of Thrones cast that he truly became famous, portraying Tyrion Lannister for all eight seasons of the show. But, before he was the smartest lion ever, he guest starred on 30 Rock for an episode in Season 3, titled “Senor Macho Solo.”
Dinklage portrayed Stewart, a man with dwarfism who is intelligent and looks to be exactly what every woman would want. The only issue is that Liz mistook him for a child when they first met - and everything else sort of starts to fall apart from there. This is personally one of my favorite guest spots because it’s always so funny to look back and see him before the Game of Thrones hype.
Anna Chlumsky (Liz Lemler)
Anna Chlumsky was in Hollywood for a time as a child actress, but had taken a break so that she could finish school. Afterwards, she made her big return to TV, with her biggest role so far being that of Amy Brookheimer in the popular HBO original series, Veep. Before that even show premiered, she had made a minor guest role on 30 Rock in Season 1, on the episode, "The Fighting Irish."
While her appearance is brief, it is memorable. Anna Chlumsky played Liz Lemler (a play on Liz’s name, Liz Lemon), who was Floyd’s girlfriend. However, Liz (Fey) made quick work of her and fired her from TGS when she was told to get rid of 10% of her staff. Talk about making sure you’re the only Liz around. Even so, it’s always fun to watch the show and remember she was on here before Veep came out.
Aubrey Plaza (NBC Page/Tour Group Leader)
I know. It’s hard to imagine a world where Aubrey Plaza wasn’t famous, after her huge role as part of the Parks and Recreation cast, or with her amazing movies, like Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Child’s Play, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, and so many more.
But, for a couple of seconds in Season 1, Aubrey Plaza popped up as a NBC Page (a real-life position) that was leading a tour group, in the episode, "Tracy Does Conan." It’s crazy to think that only a few years after his appearance she got the part on Parks and Recreation.
Donald Glover (Various)
Donald Glover has truly become a mastermind of the entertainment world. Not only is his a big musical act, making music through his alter ego, Childish Gambino, but he’s had so many hits that it’s hard to keep track. This includes being a part of the Community cast, creating his own FX comedy, Atlanta, appearing as young Lando in Solo: A Star Wars Story, and so much more.
Before all of those success, Glover worked on 30 Rock. While it’s known that he was a writer on the show, Glover actually appeared on screen four times, in Seasons 1, 2, 3, and 6. While many of his roles were small, uncredited or improvised, it’s so much fun to see him pop up from time to time, knowing about the success he had not that long after.
Ben Sinclair (Brooklyn Idiot)
There’s something about Ben Sinclair’s appearance on 30 Rock that sits so perfectly with me. If you don’t know, Sinclair created High Maintenance, an anthology series that tells the story of a cannabis courier, otherwise known as “The Guy,” who delivers his products to people in the borough of Brooklyn in New York City. The show started off as a Vimeo series and then went on to become a television series on HBO.
Why do I say this appearance is perfect in 30 Rock? Because of his character’s name - Sinclair’s character was literally called Brooklyn Idiot for the one episode he was on in Season 5, called, "100: Part 1." I mean, come on, could there not be a better pairing of character name / actor? It’s hilarious to think he went on to create a show about a Brooklynite years after his appearance. You gotta love it.
Chloe Grace Moretz (Kaylie Hooper)
Kick-Ass had come out a year prior to Chloe Grace Moretz's first time on 30 Rock, but her career has only gotten bigger since, with appearances in movies like Dark Shadows, The Addams Family, Tom & Jerry and more. For three episodes, from Season 5 to Season 7, she played Kaylie Hooper, who was the granddaughter of Hank Hooper, the newest boss of NBC.
Y'all, I could re-watch her interactions with Alec Baldwin’s character, Jack Donaghy, all day. While her character was only on three episodes, her appearances were so memorable, and I wish she was on the show more. I would have loved to see her rivalry with Jack play out, but it’s great to see how far Moretz has come in the film industry since then.
Matt Lauria (Winthrop)
Last but not least, we have Matt Lauria, who played Winthrop in the second episode, "Jack Gets In The Game," of Season 2 of 30 Rock. While his appearance was brief, the main reason I put this here is that this was actually Matt Lauria’s television debut, before he would go on to star in the highly successful sports series, Friday Night Lights, as Luke Cafferty two years later.
Lauria has also appeared in a variety of other shows as main or recurring characters, such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Parenthood, the Apple TV+ series, Dickinson, the drama Kingdom, and currently has a main role in CSI: Vegas. It’s insane to think that this incredible career in television all started out with this one minor appearance, that you might have forgotten about, on 30 Rock.
With several seasons under its belt, there are plenty of other celebrities or actors who have appeared on 30 Rock, but these are truly the ones who have become huge stars. I need to see if they’ll be popping up in any other TV shows or movies soon.
Big nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire. Will forever hate season eight. Superhero and horror geek. And please don't debate me on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!
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