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Party Down's Most Memorable Cameos, Ranked

The Starz original series "Party Down" only aired for two seasons, but it amassed a loyal following in that short time. The series stars Ken Marino as Ronald "Ron" Donald, a catering company team leader who struggles to keep his subordinates under control. While Ron sees Party Down catering as a serious enterprise, his crew members see it as a way to make ends meet while they chase Hollywood stardom. "Party Down" officially went off the air in 2010 but remains a popular streaming choice, retaining enough popularity to earn an upcoming revival season. 

 According to Rick Porter for The Hollywood Reporter, the upcoming six-episode "Party Down" revival will feature most of the original cast, including Ken Marino, Jane Lynch, and "Parks And Recreation" star Adam Scott. "Alias" star Jennifer Garner and "Brockmire" alum Tyrel Jackson Williams, and several more new cast members will also appear in the revival. Although the core cast is essential to the success of "Party Down," surprise cameos make each episode truly shine. 

Throughout the two original seasons, actors from various television and movie genres appear as party hosts, guests, and even fellow employees. The most memorable guest stars bring their unique brand of comedy to the already hilarious series and leave a lasting impression on viewers. Here's a look back at some of "Party Down's" standout cameos. 

Breckin Meyer

Any struggling actor can benefit from having connections in show business, including the "Party Down" crew members. In Season 1's "Taylor Stiltskin Sweet Sixteen," Henry Pollard reunites with a successful old friend, played by "Road Trip" star Breckin Meyer. In this cameo, Meyers stars as Michael, a working actor who knew Henry before his acting career came crashing down. Michael is shocked to see his talented friend working in catering and offers to help him get back on the path to fame. As luck would have it, the party's host is a renowned movie producer named Leonard Stiltskin (J.K. Simmons), who just cast Michael in his newest project about Edgar Allen Poe.

Henry is hesitant, but Michael's enthusiasm is enough to convince him to try talking to the producer. Unfortunately for Henry, Michael's networking efforts are all in vain. The producer is too busy dealing with one crisis after another to pay attention. Breckin Meyer does an excellent job of playing a well-meaning friend, but the character isn't insistent enough to capture Leonard's focus. He briefly acknowledges Henry's existence towards the end of the episode, but it's clear that there's no Leonard Stiltskin film opportunity in Henry's future. Ultimately, Henry has to reluctantly accept his current life as a Party Down employee, and Michael moves on with his upcoming role.

Rick Fox

Retired NBA star Rick Fox has maintained an active film and television career since the 1990s, taking on roles that span multiple genres. In Season 1 of "Party Down," Rick Fox took on a small comedic part in the episode "Brandix Corporate Retreat." Fox stars as himself, acting as a special guest speaker at the event. Naturally, everyone who sees him instantly fawns over him, but he takes their adoration in stride. Fox meets Ron Donald's reluctant team of caterers while waiting to give a keynote address to the attendees. He especially bonds with Casey Klein (Lizzy Caplan), an aspiring comedian-turned-server who offers to help Fox work on his event speech.

As much as Casey enjoys Fox's company, two of her fellow staff members, Henry Pollard (Adam Scott) and Roman DeBeers (Martin Starr), become unreasonably jealous of the former basketball player. However, an oblivious Fox remains charming and poised as he invites Casey to visit his hotel room and discuss her career. Although Casey's speech ideas are obviously terrible, Fox trusts her judgment and later attempts to get a laugh out of the audience with a cringe-worthy opening joke. Fox's delivery makes the poorly written speech amusingly awkward, and the audience's complete silence after the punchline is a memorably funny moment for fans.

Thomas Lennon

Thomas Lennon has built a successful career in comedy, including his iconic role as fan-favorite "Reno 911" character Lieutenant Jim Dangle. The actor lends his over-the-top comedic talents to the raunchy Season 2 episode, "Nick DiCinto's Orgy Night." Thomas Lennon plays the title character, a recently divorced man who hires the crew to cater an orgy party he's hosting. The party is complete with cheesy masks and plenty of attractive guests, but is far less exciting than expected. As it turns out, Nick DiCinto never told the attendees that the party was anything more than a traditional masquerade.

In true "Party Down" style, everything goes horribly, hilariously wrong when Roman tries to help Nick breathe some life into the orgy. Although Roman has never participated in this kind of event, he claims to be an expert who has done plenty of research on the matter. However, more than his help is needed to save the party from being a tame affair. Thomas Lennon expertly makes his desperate party host character into a likable failure as the evening continues to get worse. Eventually, Nick gets impatient and strips naked in front of his guests, completely humiliating himself. Fans can't help but laugh, but it's also easy to feel sorry for him in his moment of embarrassment.

Joey Lauren Adams

Joey Lauren Adams is famous for her roles in multiple Kevin Smith movies, including "Chasing Amy" and "Mallrats." Her characters are typically quirky and endearing, but she plays a very different kind of role in Season 1 of "Party Down." In the star-studded episode, "Taylor Stiltskin Sweet Sixteen," Adams plays Diandra Stiltskon, the wife of a prominent movie producer who throws their daughter, Taylor (Allison Scagliotti), an epic party. However, opportunistic Diandra is interested in something other than the birthday festivities. Instead, she's on the hunt for a younger man to serve as her new boy toy.

Diandra sets her sights on Kyle Bradway (Ryan Hansen), an amateur actor who works for "Party Down" while awaiting his big break. She offers Kyle a significant role in her husband's new film project, and Kyle is naturally thrilled. However, Diandra stipulates that he has to sleep with her to earn the part. Kyle tries to go through with it but loses his nerve at the very last minute. Joey Lauren Adams turns this voracious, philandering housewife into a cringeworthy but believable character, right down to her flippant attitude about her marriage. Furthermore, her awkward encounter with Kyle is a major highlight of this episode. 

Christopher Mintz-Plasse

"Superbad" star Christopher Mintz-Plasse is a familiar face in the world of comedy. He joined the "Party Down" cast for a cameo in Season 2's "Steve Guttenberg's Birthday." He plays Kent, Roman DeBeers' friend and screenwriting partner. Throughout the series, Roman exhibits an air of superiority about being a writer despite never sharing his script with any of his fellow staff members. Of course, he and Kent immediately lose themselves in discussing their co-writing project when they reunite at the party. Since the event is relatively dull, the guest of honor (Steve Guttenberg) involves himself in their conversation and turns the party into a screenwriting workshop.

Christopher Mintz-Plasse's performance creates strong chemistry between the two writers and features his signature brand of nerdy humor. He and Roman even wear similar glasses, which makes their friendship feel even more believable. When Guttenberg asks to see their script, it's immediately apparent that the overconfident pair has never heard their work read aloud before. Sarcastic Roman is more defensive about their talent than Kent, but Guttenberg graciously offers both of them some valuable advice. Kent's presence in this episode shines a fresh light on Roman and proves that his bravado about being a writer is relatively unfounded.

Kevin Hart

Multitalented performer Kevin Hart is no stranger to playing funny characters, so his Season 1 cameo is a perfect fit. Kevin appears in the episode "Taylor Stiltskin Sweet Sixteen" as a rapper named Dro Grizzle. Dro is supposed to provide entertainment for the birthday party attendees, but the episode's title character won't come out of her hotel room to join the festivities. While the party is at a standstill and Taylor's father scrambles to get things back on track, Dro Grizzle and his entourage make themselves comfortable in an upstairs suite. When too much time passes with no guest of honor in sight, Dro threatens to leave.

Determined to save the day, team leader Ron Donald visits the rapper and tries to convince him to wait a little longer. Despite having good intentions, Ron only adds to the list of problems with the party by abandoning his usual attempts at professionalism. Dro and his entourage allow Ron to stay in their suite, smoke marijuana with him, and even give some helpful business advice about running his own Soup 'R Crackers franchise. Although Kevin Hart's role is relatively small, his character's sage advice is compelling enough to make Ron feel comfortable leaving his wayward employees unattended. 

Ken Jeong

Ron Donald may be the face of Party Down catering, but the true boss of the operation is CEO Alan Duk, played by "The Hangover" star Ken Jeong. He appears twice in Season 1, overseeing the team in "Sin Say Shun Awards After Party" and again in the season finale episode "Stennheiser-Pong Wedding Reception." Alan Duk is everything viewers would expect from a shady CEO: fast-talking, disdainful, and utterly focused on the bottom line. He mostly lurks behind the scenes while Ron deals with running his team, pleasing their clients, and solving the countless problems that crop up at events. 

Ken Jeong perfectly embodies CEO Duk, from his lack of interest in Ron's restaurant ideas to his stern threats when things go awry. Duk doesn't even need to speak; his disapproving scowl says it all. Jeong's cameos are both equally funny and memorable, but his appearance in "Stennheiser-Pong Wedding Reception" adds a little humanity to an otherwise unsympathetic character. After a whole season of dismissing Ron, he finally throws his second-in-command a bone by investing in a Soup 'R Crackers franchise restaurant with him. Unfortunately for fans, Ken Jeong later joins the cast of "Community" and never reappears on "Party Down." 

Kristen Bell

"Veronica Mars" star Kristen Bell makes two cameos in "Party Down" as rival catering team leader Uda Bengt. Her company, Valhalla Catering, is far more professional and organized than the Party Down operation, and she ensures that Ron and his team know it every step of the way. In the Season 1 finale, "Stennheiser-Pong Wedding Reception," she takes command of both groups while Ron is incapacitated by alcohol and self-pity. Although Uda is a very no-nonsense leader, she assures Henry that she also has a soft side. Her awkward, stiff attempt at hitting on Henry is both cringeworthy and memorably funny.

Ironically, her efforts pay off in Season 2 when she and Henry temporarily become a couple. She makes her second cameo in the episode "Party Down Company Picnic" while running a catering event for her biggest competitor. She not only leads Valhalla Catering to victory in a catering contest at the event but also wipes the floor with the Party Down crew in a kickball game. Uda's insatiable drive to succeed makes her a formidable opponent, but she does lose one thing: her relationship with Henry. Nevertheless, she quickly establishes herself as a superior team leader in the catering world.

Josh Gad

Josh Gad is a well-known television and voice actor who made an early career cameo in Season 1 of "Party Down." He stars as Jeffrey Ellis, a nervous college student and political secretary in "California College Conservative Union Caucus." Ellis is in charge of presenting two gifts to the event's guest speaker, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Ron sees a golden opportunity to meet the famous politician. However, all the charm Ron can muster is still not enough to persuade Ellis to let him get involved. He tells Ron in no uncertain terms that he isn't welcome to meet the governor or participate in the event outside of catering.

Josh Gad's display of sarcastic, dismissive humor is a perfect fit for the overworked secretary, who is deeply concerned about whether Schwarzenegger will appreciate the group's gifts. Unfortunately, one of the gifts launches a group-wide debate that adds unnecessary drama to the event. Group members argue over whether or not the present — a box of Cuban cigars — is a patriotic choice. The other gift is a retired American flag damaged in battle, but Ron makes short work of accidentally destroying this important artifact. The whole event quickly spirals into a stressful disaster for Jeffrey Ellis and Ron alike.

J.K. Simmons

Longtime "Law & Order" cast member J.K. Simmons has an impressively long show business resume, making him an excellent choice to play successful film producer Leonard Stiltskin. Simmons first appears as Leonard Stiltskin in a Season 1 cameo for the episode "Taylor Stiltskin Sweet Sixteen." In this episode, Stiltskin throws a lavish birthday for his teenage daughter, Taylor, but she initially refuses to participate in the party. Hot-tempered Stiltskin spends half of his time yelling at party staff, and the other half making obscene but hysterical threats to anyone who calls his cell phone. Henry hopes to convince Stiltskin to let him read for a movie role, but the producer is too busy being angry to give him the time of day.

The often crude film mogul appears a second time in the Season 2 episode "Precious Lights Preschool Auction," along with his wife Diandra. As expected, Leonard Stiltskin's behavior is consistently inappropriate and hilarious throughout the event. He goes to great lengths to keep anyone else from winning a valuable auction item: a lunch date with Tom Hanks. His rude one-liners and ongoing outbursts are the funniest highlights of the episode and make an otherwise tame event into something far more entertaining.

George Takei

George Takei is best known for playing Hikaru Sulu in "Star Trek," but he is also a talented comedic actor with an extensive list of television and film projects to his credit. In one of Season 1's most memorable cameos, Takei appears as himself in the finale episode, "Stennheiser-Pong Wedding Reception." He minds his own business as a wedding guest until he meets Roman, who just happens to be a "Star Trek" superfan. Roman gets overzealous about wanting to ask Takei some burning "Stark Trek" questions, so he follows him to the bathroom. Takei tries to be gracious at first, but oblivious Roman just keeps babbling.

Takei's annoyance is hilariously believable, and he extracts himself from the conversation as soon as possible. As if one run-in with Roman wasn't enough, George Takei once again finds himself face-to-face with the jaded sci-fi lover later in the episode. When Takei suffers an allergic reaction to a shellfish hors d'oeuvre, Roman gives him some unwanted help away from the other wedding guests. Even with his face too swollen to speak, Takei makes his disinterest in interacting with Roman abundantly clear. Unfortunately for Takei, Roman's ongoing excitement causes him to miss the message completely.

Steven Weber

The Season 1 episode "Celebrate Ricky Sargulesh" is arguably one of the funniest in the series. The Russian mob hosts this over-the-top party to honor their colleague, Ricky Sargulesh, for avoiding a guilty verdict in a murder trial. "Chicago Med" star Steven Weber has a cameo as the episode's guest of honor, a violent man who also considers himself a screenwriter. From his outlandish fake accent to a convincing tough-guy attitude, Steven Weber's performance makes Sargulesh a surprisingly likable character. He and his guests recognize some of the Party Down catering crew from their roles in obscure B-movies, which leaves Ron trying to run the event solo.

One of the most significant highlights of Weber's cameo is an ongoing bit involving a screenplay his character wrote. Sargulesh gives the script to Roman for proofreading, but it's so terribly written that Roman initially can't take it seriously. However, as he continues to read, Roman becomes convinced that the violent script is actually a murder confession. Naturally, Ricky Sargulesh is only interested in whether or not Roman thinks the script has merit and laughs off his accusations. Roman is too scared to tell Ricky how bad the script is, so the mobster leaves the party feeling satisfied with his writing abilities.

Quinta Brunson

Quinta Brunson has had an enormously successful year thanks to her work on the ABC sitcom "Abbott Elementary" as a producer, writer, and star. Brunson has a face that's been popping up in a lot of smart comedy over the past few years (she is particularly well-showcased in Season 3 of "Miracle Workers"), so it's both a fun surprise and not a surprise at all to see her pop up in Season 3 of "Party Down."

In Season 3, Episode 1, "Kyle Bradway Is Nitromancer," Quinta Brunson guest stars as Kyle's talent agent, Jaff. She plays a character who is basically the opposite of Janine Teagues — her compassionate-to-a-fault "Abbott Elementary" character — and one whose brief involvement in the show and Kyle's life feels representative of how quickly Hollywood can work for and against its many aspiring actors and creatives. 

At first, it seems like Jaff is successfully comforting Kyle over his impending cancellation thanks to the release of a problematic video by his former bandmate. It isn't until the end of the episode that Kyle realizes Jaff hasn't been comforting him at all, but rather reassuring herself out loud that she would not go down with Kyle's ship.

Fran Kranz

Fran Kranz has been around for a while but has not yet reached the level of success you might expect from a funny Joss Whedon favorite. To be fair, Whedon's reputation in Hollywood isn't what it used to be, and Kranz doesn't seem to have worked with the "Avengers" director since 2012's "Much Ado About Nothing." Still, Kranz's performance is a major highlight of Whedon's short-lived sci-fi series "Dollhouse," and Kranz's turn as Marty the stoner in 2011's "A Cabin in the Woods" is pretty legendary. Kranz has had plenty of other parts in projects like "Ballers" and "The Dark Tower" over the years since, but nothing especially notable.

Kranz isn't easy to recognize when he arrives at Kyle's party. He has his hair styled like Billie Joe Armstrong with more of a side part, and he's wearing heavy high makeup, a black and gray ensemble, and a seemingly permanent scowl. Kranz plays Miles in the first episode of the returning Season 3 of "Party Down" ("Kyle Bradway Is Nitromancer"), a member of Kyle's former band, Karma Rocket.

Kranz easily slips into the role of Kyle's strange, disgruntled former bandmate, who blames the resident himbo of "Party Down" and his acting aspirations for the failure of their band. Kyle has often been hoisted by his own petard throughout "Party Down," and his association with dubious operators like Miles is exactly what loses him the biggest gig of his life so far.

James Marsden

James Marsden is probably the most prolific guest star to appear in Season 3 of "Party Down," and it makes sense that he's also the only guest star to be featured in more than one episode. Audiences first meet Marsden as Jack Botty — a successful action star who seems to be a central figure of the "Party Down" universe's MCU equivalent. 

In real-life, Marsden has played a Marvel superhero, having spent three movies and at least one surprise scene as the dashing X-Men leader Cyclops. Marsden has starred in other movies like "27 Dresses" and "Death at a Funeral," and despite his recent run in the decidedly not-comedic HBO drama "Westworld," he's spent a lot of his career building solid comedic chops. We recommend checking out his semi-regular role on "30 Rock" as Liz's spacy long-term partner, Criss.

Jack is, naturally, a pretty big jerk. He brushes Kyle off in Episode 1 after he's fired from the superhero movie he'd just landed, and in Episode 2 the entire Party Down staff discovers him cheating on his girlfriend, Evie (Jennifer Garner). His totally selfish and inconsiderate behavior is actually a little serendipitous, though, because it brings Henry and Evie together into the relationship they explore for the rest of Season 3. 

Calum Worthy

Calum Worthy's recent television show, "Reboot," may have been prematurely canceled by Hulu, but he's still a young, up-and-coming Hollywood actor who hopefully has a long career ahead of him. Worthy broke into public recognition as a zany best friend named Dez on Disney Channel's original series "Austin & Ally." After he aged out of the Disney Channel, Worthy joined the cast of "Reboot" and gave an energetic performance as a former child star who never really grew up. 

In "Party Down," Season 3, Episode 3, "First Annual PI2A Symposium," Worthy steps outside of the lovability of his former roles to play an ambitious alt-right organizer named Stuart Gluberd. Stuart employs Party Down catering to manage his alt-right symposium, much to the chagrin of the entire Party Down staff (except for Ron, who is desperate for the gig). 

His bumbling attempts to temper the more boldly racist and hateful rhetoric of some of his comrades is particularly funny to watch, especially when he is ultimately forced to allow Nick Offerman's Dermott to openly praise Hitler in his keynote address after asking him to pay Ron and the Party Down staff. 

Nick Offerman

Nick Offerman could probably spend the rest of his career just playing everyone's favorite guest star on everyone's favorite shows. Offerman will go down in cultural history as a comedic icon thanks to his work as Ron Swanson on "Parks and Recreation," and since the show ended, he seems to have taken on a large variety of roles, including co-host of a reality competition show and an emotionally engaging character on "The Last of Us." 

It's not a surprise that Nick Offerman would guest star in "Party Down," as his wife, Megan Mullaly, plays series regular Lydia. Offerman's character, Dermott, doesn't actually interact with Lydia at all, but the two actors have a history of working on each other's projects. Dermott is, in a word, unpleasant. He is a rich donor to Calum Worthy's Stuart in Season 3, Episode 3 and the event's keynote speaker. 

While Dermott's conversation with Stuart in which they barter over how much he's allowed to openly praise Hitler in his speech (Stuart would prefer that Hitler remain unmentioned, whereas Dermott proudly considers himself a fan of the genocidal maniac) is very funny, it's his moments with Party Down's new chef Lucy (played by new series regular Zoe Chao) that set him apart as the best guest star of the season. Lucy, desperate for her food to be appreciated as fine art, briefly chooses to forget that Dermott is a Nazi after he arrives to offer his compliments to the chef.

Judy Reyes

If you've ever seen the successful TV shows "Scrubs" or "Claws," you're certainly familiar with Judy Reyes. As Carla on eight seasons of "Scrubs," she played the vocal heart of the show, and as Quiet Ann on four seasons of "Claws," she played a more reserved, tortured character. 

Judy Reyes appears, with quite a bit of nonchalance, at the top of "Party Down" Season 3, Episode 4, "KSGY-95 Prizewinner's Luau." Her character, Sacker, initially seems like a particularly type-A event coordinator for a radio station, taking careful note of attendance and responding poorly to any attempts from the Party Down staff at levity. 

Partway through the episode it's revealed that Sacker is actually a police officer running a sting operation to track down deadbeat parents who have failed to pay their court-ordered child support. She brings her usual brand of cool, confident assertion to the role and provides a good foil to Marino's Ron, who is giddy to be involved in such an important deception.

Bobby Moynihan

Bobby Moynihan also appears in "Party Down" Season 3, Episode 4, as Sacker's right-hand man, Mattea — an undercover agent roaming amongst their targets as another boozy, Hawaiian-shirt-clad prize winner looking forward to a Sting concert (get it? Sting?). Moynihan is a contemporary comedy veteran, having served a solid tenure on "Saturday Night Live" as a dependable performer with a talent for committing to the bit. He's popped up in a lot of different projects ever since, including a particularly funny turn as an awkward old classmate in Amy Poehler and Tina Fey's movie "Sisters" and two seasons as a series regular on "Mr. Mayor."

Moynihan's tendency toward offbeat humor fits into the equally offbeat rhythm of "Party Down," and he makes a fun guest star as he gets to play both a rude deadbeat jerk and a cynical, sardonic police jerk. Bobby Moynihan hasn't had as much post-"SNL" success as his talent deserves, but it's always a joy to see him guest starring and shining.

Seth Morris

Seth Morris is a name you may not recognize as easily as those of some of the other actors who've guest starred on "Party Down." But if you're a comedy fan, the odds are good that you've seen his face before. Morris has had featured roles on shows like "Superstore," "Veep," and "The Good Place," as well as some smaller parts in films like "The Dictator" and "Cedar Rapids." On "Party Down," Morris plays Ted Fine, one of the best talent agents in Hollywood.

At first, Fine presents a threat to one of the show's main characters, Lydia (Megan Mullally). Lydia becomes suspicious when she realizes that Fine has been in touch with her daughter Escapade (Liv Hewson), who has become a successful Hollywood starlet under the high-effort management of her mother. 

Because Lydia believes that Fine is trying to supplant her as Escapade's manager, she arranges for Sackson (Tyrel Jackson Williams) to spill wine onto Fine at Escapade's promo event (Season 3, Episode 5, "Once Upon a Time 'Proms Away' Prom-otional Event") before he can talk to her daughter. Later, Lydia finds out from Escapade that she wasn't considering leaving her for new management — instead, Escapade was attempting to set Ted Fine and her mother up on what folks in the biz call a "meet-cute."

Morris doesn't have a ton of great material to work with in this bit part, but he is, as always, a confident comedic performer and a fun face to see in another great show.

Lyric Lewis

It's a fun surprise to see Lyric Lewis arrive at Escapade's Prom-otional Event in "Party Down" Season 3 Episode 5 as Sloan, an important figure in the Los Angeles event planning community. Lewis worked on "A.P. Bio" — a wonderfully strange and underrated half-hour comedy, just like "Party Down" was during its original run – as history teacher Stef Duncan for four seasons.

Lewis hasn't done too much of note since her show ended in 2021, but her cameo on "Party Down" is a great addition to an episode otherwise heavily invested in main character development, as opposed to featured performers. Ken Marino's Ron is terrified and exhilarated to have a tastemaker at one of his events and spends the entire episode's C-plot attempting to fall into her good graces. 

Lewis gives a great performance as someone who hasn't been impressed by anything for a very long time, and she provides one of the highlights of the whole episode as Sloan orders different drinks from Henry only to swirl one sip in her mouth, spit it back out, and abandon the glass.