Rick and Morty has had some star-studded celebrity voice guests, particularly for a show so young.
Rick and Morty has taken the world by storm in a matter of just three seasons totaling 31 episodes. The bizarre cartoon takes everything to its most outlandish, meta conclusion, turning the boundaries of genre and storytelling convention on their heads. It is no wonder that the series has made an impression on the culture, and drawn in some major celebrity guest stars as well.
In its time on the air, A-listers, taste-makers and up-and-comers have dropped by the Starburns, Inc. studio to record lines for Rick and Morty. The show has a fast-paced style, yet actors find ways to leave their mark on the lines before they are drawn into hideous aliens or asymmetrical humans.
The show can afford to reach out for guest stars, considering its small and efficient main cast. The series' two eponymous heroes are both voiced by co-creator Justin Roiland. Along with him, the cast consists of Sarah Chalke as Beth, Chris Parnell as Jerry and Spencer Grammer as Summer. Other actors round out the list of recurring characters, while more and more stars throw their names in to take on new ones.
The show is only heading upward in the coming years. Rick and Morty has been picked up for a staggering 70-episode order by Adult Swim, meaning that there will be many more adventures to come. how many seasons those episodes will be divided into remains to be seen, but for now it seems like the production is moving along quickly toward a fourth season.
In the meantime, here is a look at some of the stand-out celebrity appearances that have graced the show so far.
Key and Peele
Right off the bat, let's cheat and count two massive stars as one.
Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele burst onto the mainstream together with their sketch comedy show Key and Peele. While they have gone their separate ways in many respects, they stuck together for their Rick and Morty cameo, as two fourth-dimensional beings who come to try and repair Rick's meddling with the time stream in Season 2, Episode 1.
The Flight of the Conchords' Jemaine Clement had Rick and Morty fans wrinkling their nose when he played a telepathic, gaseous alien that Morty simply named Fart.
Clement also gave the show one of its most beloved musical numbers — the original "Goodbye Moonmen."
Comedic legend Patton Oswalt technically played a whole race of characters when he joined Rick and Morty as the parasitic hive-mind Beta 7.
Oswalt's cameo was one of two in the episode "Auto Erotic Assimilation," where Christina Hendricks played another hive-mind, Unity, who was Rick's ex-girlfriend. The final scene found Unity hiding out with Beta 7 while Rick screamed drunkenly at their door.
David Cross played a bumbling nemesis for Rick in the episode "M. Night Shaym-Aliens" back in Season 1. Cross has a storied career in Hollywood, and Rick and Morty co-creator Dan Harmon has often talked about how he was influenced by Cross at an early age on his podcast, Harmontown. In particular, he points to Mr. Show, a sketch comedy series starring Cross and Bob Odenkirk.
In honor of that, he bestowed some of the funniest lines in the whole show upon Cross, including two painfully embarrassing mentions of his alien anatomy.
Stephen Colbert took a break from The Late Show to play the voice of Zeep Xanflorp, an alien scientist not unlike Rick in "The Ricks Must be Crazy." In the episode, Rick travels into a microscopic universe which he uses as a battery to power his spaceship, only to find that Zeep has done exactly the same thing.
Zeep even echoes a few of Rick's most infamous lines in so many words, and shares his penchant for unhealthy vices.
"I'm an alcoholic," Rick whispers as the two begin to make up.
"Opium addict," Zeep confides, and they both laugh.
Eccentric German director Werner Herzog appeared in Season 2's clip show episode "Interdimensional Cable 2: Tempting Fate." He played an elderly alien, speaking in his own grave tone about how human beings are obsessed with their own genitalia.
Harmon talked about working with Herzog on Harmontown. He confirmed that he had reached out to Herzog specifically for the role and had been starstruck in talking to the director.
"I've never met a famous person that was more, just exactly what you'd expect," Harmon said. "Which is not to say that he's predictable at all, because what you expect with Werner Herzog is that he's going to come in and be... Werner Herzog."
Sci-fi icon Nathan Fillion had a cameo that may have been over-shadowed by the long-awaited episode it was embedded in. Fillion played the alien interrogator that goes inside of Rick's brain with him in the Season 3 premiere.
After waiting for years to see the new episode, fans may have been too excited to notice at first that the star of Firefly and Castle was speaking from the alien's insectoid lips. Luckily, the show bears re-watching.
Joel McHale starred as the handsome, silver-tongued lead in Harmon's NBC sitcom Community, but he took on a very different role when he turned up for a cameo on Rick and Morty. McHale played Hemorrhage, leader of the Deathstalkers in an episode where Rick, Morty and Summer visited a Mad Max-style wasteland.
In the same episode, Veep's Tony Hale performed the voice of Eli, another denizen of the wasteland.
Susan Sarandon has perhaps the most infamous cameo in all of Rick and Morty. She plays Dr. Wong, the therapist who is trying to work with the family while Rick turns himself into a pickle in "Pickle Rick." The episode later won an Emmy.
The cameo is a significant one, as the character of Dr. Wong was named by staff writer Jessica Gao. Gao and Harmon later co-hosted a podcast titled Whiting Wongs, where they discussed the tangled issue of racial and ethnic representation, both on-screen and in the writer's room, in Hollywood.
As they noted several times in the podcast's first season, Harmon and Gao decided to start Whiting Wongs after Sarandon's casting incensed Gao. She explained to Harmon and the producers that she had given the therapist that name in the hopes of securing a job for an Asian or Asian-American voice actress, of which she complained there were too few. When Harmon suggested that at least Wong would represent Asian-Americans on-screen, Gao attempted to educate him, leading to hours and hours of recorded discussion.
Finally, another Community alum, John Oliver, got on the Rick and Morty train early.
Oliver played the part of Dr. Xenon Bloom, and amoeba that Rick had partnered with the build Anatomy Park. The theme park was embedded within an old man's body, and Morty was forced to go inside and help the doctor try and save it.