Best Recurring Sitcom Guest Star (that never became a regular cast member)?

I am watching the final season of Just Shoot Me in syndication, and though the Rena Sofer/“Vicki” character added to the main cast bogged down an otherwise decent sitcom, I am incredibly impressed by the “Simon Leeds” character played by Simon Templeman. He is one of the funniest characters I have ever seen on a sitcom.

The setup is that he is an aging British rock legend (I think he is a takeoff of Mick Jagger) who begins dating Nina.

But he has done so many drugs and had so much booze that he comes off as an affectionate space-case. Watching him and Nina grow in their first truly mature relationship is kinda funny and sweet at the same time.

I wish the show had been renewed so he could have been given a more regular spot on the show. I just find the guy hilarious.

I wonder how often after a guest star’s FIRST appearance do they start to dream that they’ll be the next Kelsey Grammer; turning a guest role into a two decade career?

There have been some good ones.

I always liked Tom Selleck’s “Richard” on Friends. Really, Friends had a lot of decent recurring characters (Paul Rudd, Elliot Gould, and Christina Pickle). Often times, the recurring characters were better than the stars.

I’d mention Newman from Seinfeld, but he was more of a “featured” character than a guest star. YMMV.

So who else has had a recurring guest role on a sitcom that you just found hilarious or interesting?

Brendan Fraser on Scrubs or Michael J. Fox on Scrubs
Lauren Graham on Newsradio

“Adam” on Northern Exposure, played by Adam Arkin, appeared in 11 episodes as everyone’s favorite Bigfoot/sociopath/gourmet chef.

Not exactly a sitcom, but Hercules and Xena were only really watchable for me when Autolycus or Joxer would show up.

David Putty from Seinfeld. That guy could get a 10-second laugh just by saying “Yeah”.

That guy’s alright. High five!

Brent Spiner on Night Court… Can’t remember his Characters name but his “Hellooo Judge always broke me up.”
Every time he came on it was another improbabale misery story from his family.

The Wheeler family (hillbillies from West Virginia, though later it was revealed they were European and just said they were from WV because “it was the first exotic place we could think of…”).

I’d nominate Maurice (Maurice Evans) and Uncle Arthur (Paul Lynde) from Bewitched.

Serena was great also, but strangely the actress who played her (Pandora Spocks) never acted much after that show. :wink:

I’m a pretty big fan of Barry Zuckerkorn, the Bluth Family’s incompetent (and perverted) attorney, played by Henry Winkler on Arrested Development.

Pretty sure Phil Hartman (RIP) was never inducted as a Simpsons cast member in the way that Hank Azaria was. So for his recurring Troy McClure and Lionel Hutz characters, I nominate him.

Col. Flagg & Major Sidney Freeman on MAS*H.

Flagg only made 3-4 appearances but they were always memorable.

I have to add Liza Minelli as Lucille 2. I’ve only watched the first season of the show, but she cracks me up every time.

Harry The Hat (the confidence trickster) on Cheers.

The Talkie Toaster on Red Dwarf

Don’t forget Buddy Ryan from Night Court.

“But I feel much better now.”

Q, baby!

“Ah, Worf. Eat any good books lately?”

Granted, I never wanted him to be a regular; a little Q goes a long way. And when he showed up Voyager with that awful civil war storyline, he jumped the trans-dimensional shark.

Yeah, Col. Flagg was great.

Not a sitcom, but a comedic character nonetheless… Lance White (Tom Selleck) on the Rockford Files. The two shows he’s in are amongst the best in a series that had lots of great episodes.

I’ll nominate Busy Phillipps as Kim Kelly on Freaks and Geeks. IIRC, there was some sort of legal/contractual brouhaha that prevented her being added as a regular cast member, even though she was in nearly every episode. I seem to recall that had the show made it to a second season ( :frowning: ) she would have been listed as a regular. (Too lazy to look it up.)

Scarlett, bummed that her schedule doesn’t allow her to go down to Milwaukee to meet Paul Feig tonight

You beat me to it, though with a different character than I was thinking of. Q was awesome in TNG, but I also rather like Guinan. Again, probably for the best that she never became a main character

There’s been a lot of great suggestions so far! My nominations are Jack Riley as Elliott Carlin on The Bob Newhart Show and Stuart Margolin as Angel Martin on The Rockford Files .

Jeff MacKay (you know, the guy from Black Sheep Squadron and Tales of the Golden Monkey), on Magnum P.I., as Naval Officer Mac MacReynolds.

God, I love that show!