Friday, January 20, 2006

Friday's Frivilous List

Top Ten actors and actresses that are more often referred to by a character they once played than by their real names:

10. Shooter McGavin
9. Doogie Howser
8. Parker Lewis
7. Screech (or even Mr. Belding)
6. Rudy Huxtable
5. Blossom (and Six as well)
4. Mr. Furley
3. Punky Brewster
2. MacGyver
1. And the winner is: Ned Ryerson/Werner Brandis/Sammy Jankis

Raise your hand if you can accurately identify Stephen Tobolowsky. Exactly. But Tobes is actually the King of the That Guy realm...

Some people know him well as Ned Ryerson. Ned! Ryerson! Needle-nosed Ned, Ned the Head. Case Western High, Ned Ryerson! I did the whistling belly-button trick at the high school talent show. Bing! But other people know him as the strangely sexy Mary McDonnell's prey in the underrated film Sneakers, Werner Brandis. Hello, my name is Werner Brandis. My voice is my passport, verify me. And then there's the cult of Memento, who consider Tobolowsky's Sammy Jankis character as one of the keys to deciphering the movie's meaning.

Personally I'm a Ned Ryerson guy, it doesn't get better than that character for me. He's one for the ages. Just thinking about his well-delivered dialogue makes me smile downstairs. I don't really know what my point is here. But I do know that Stephen Tobolowsky should be a celebrated man, in a freakishly popular Christopher Walken kind of way, and I'm just trying to get the ball rolling.

Who else you got? Remember, the key to this is you have to say something like, "I was flipping through the channels and I caught that new CBS show with Doogie Howser and the Band Camp girl." But the Band Camp girl doesn't count, because that's not her name in the movie. Got it? Okay, now who ya got?

I actually would like to break my own rules here...ever since Sideways, everyone knows the name Paul Giamatti. But could you ever see that guy's face without thinking of Pig Vomit?


At 4:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Goose! I still don't know the guys real name. Ohh yeah, Anthony Edwards...that only took half an hour.

At 4:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


'Nuf said.

At 4:24 PM, Blogger Kevin said...

Good Lord how could you forget the "soup nazi".

At 4:27 PM, Blogger ethan said...

heh heh ho! that first step's a real dousy!

i vote for karl hungus - the HNIC (head nihilist in charge) from the big lebowski. also killed steve buscemi in fargo after putting that lady in the woodchipper.

At 4:27 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

Ha, there's gonna be a lot I left out or forgot -- Face and Murdoch from the A*Team, coach just brought up Boner Stabone, Tutti from the FoL, plenty out there.

List 'em all here, make your own, whatever, roam free.

At 4:47 PM, Blogger abby said...

Coach, as in Craig T. Nelson.

At 5:08 PM, Blogger hoobs said...

i mean, there's about a million from seinfeld who have been in other stuff: puddy, mr. pitt, kruger, etc.
what about mr. miyagi (r.i.p.) and the fonz, although everyone knows their real names. oh yeah, miyagi was in happy days too; guess that's why i thought of them both.
boner stabbone is an inspired choice. stinky sullivan could be another one.
another of my favs is a guy i've seen on the street a couple times: steve from the dell commercials, the one busted with weed.

At 5:13 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

Speaking of the Soup Nazi and Seinfeld, I totally forgot about Kramer. Kramer is a great one. Mr. Pitt, love that guy -- the Next Stop, Pottersville dance is a classic.

Steve from Dell though is 1. his real name, and 2. not an actual character name.

Ethan, Hungus is one of my faves, Peter Stormare -- he's a definite That Guy.

At 5:22 PM, Blogger hoobs said...

peterman is another seinfeld one, though his best role may be host of "to tell the truth."
how do you know steve is his real name? and can commercial character's not be real characters? they certainly call him steven in the commercials.
how about a more recent one: napoleon dynamite. or a classic one: spock, or scotty, or checkov, or any of them.

At 5:22 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

Ah, someone just came up with Booger...that's a great one.

At 5:26 PM, Blogger hoobs said...

bull, night court.

At 6:32 PM, Blogger DannyNoonan said...

How about Danny Noonan?

At 6:38 PM, Blogger ismateo said...

Bill S. Preston, Esquire.
the guy who wore a cowboy hat and shot himself on 90210. (he counts because that was actually his character's name. I swear!)

At 7:06 PM, Blogger hoobs said...

scott scanlon is david's friend who shot himself on 90210. what a nerd. his little sister came back on a later episode as a slutty girl who had been sexually abused by an uncle. tough family.

At 10:51 PM, Anonymous Greg said...

Cockroach. Kevin Arnold. Zack Morris/AC Slater/really Screech made me start thinking that anyone on that show is like that.
Bull from Night Court.

I don't know about Mr. Furley, I think people generally think "Don Knotts". Mr. Roper might be a better one actually.

At 10:53 PM, Anonymous Greg said...

Oops, someone already said Bull from Night Court, sorry...

At 2:57 PM, Blogger MDS said...

Bill S. Preston, Esq., is a good one, but I don't have to look him up to know he's Alex Winter. I actually think about Alex Winter sometimes, as well as D.J. Jazzy Jeff and the other guy from Wham. Do you think they really resent their former partners and wonder why they aren't getting roles in "The Matrix" or "I Robot" or "I Masturbate in Restrooms"?

At 11:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about Scully from the X-Files?

At 1:36 PM, Blogger Gypsy Rose said...

Is this a contest. Cause if it is I vote for Bull from Nightcourt.

What about the "time to make the donuts" guy who just died. He was just known by that sentence. Sentence fragment? Phrase? Whatever. He didn't even get a name.

At 2:56 PM, Blogger Some Dude said...


At 6:04 PM, Blogger DinaLove said...

Kenickie (aka Bobby Wheeler) - Jeff Conaway
Father Guido Sarducci - Don Novello
Newman - Wayne Knight
every Brady Bunch family member
every Gilligan's Island castaway
Herman Munster - Fred Gwynne
Mr. Jefferson - Sherman Helmsley
Rhoda - Valerie Harper
Uncle Leo - Len Lesser
Cliff Clavin - John Ratzenberger
Bobby 'Bacala' Baccalieri - Steve Schirripa

I could keep going, but I'm new here and don't want to act like a show-off.

At 5:44 AM, Blogger MDS said...

I think there has to be a separate category for Seinfeld characters. That show had such a great supporting cast that nearly every actor who had a small role on the show will be better remembered for that than for anything else.

At 9:04 AM, Anonymous Manhands said...

That's just not true. I went on to a very successfull celebrity roller derby career.

Oh and exnay on the enickiekay. He was Bobby the actor on Taxi for many years. So that could break either way.

At 9:42 AM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

This is a classic list. Keep 'em comin...

At 10:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about Otter from Animal House? I'm sure you oculd come up with a couple more from that flick.

At 10:40 AM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

Funny, I call Otter from Animal House "Hoynes," for his role in the West Wing.

Tim Matheson's everywhere.


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