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Why Larry From Groundhog Day Looks So Familiar

After nearly thirty years since its release, Groundhog Day continues to endure as one of the best comedies ever made. With its unique "trapped in a time loop" premise from writer Danny Rubin, stellar direction from Harold Ramis, and perfect leads in Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell, it seems impossible now that the movie could fail. But one of the best parts of the film is also its supporting cast.

Characters like Ned Ryerson (Stephen Tobolowsky), Nancy (Marita Geraghty), Gus (Rick Ducommun), and Doris (Robin Duke) all help fill out the small town of Punxsutawney in which Murray's weatherman Phil Connors can't, but desperately wants to, escape. And then there's Larry the cameraman, who travels with Phil and Rita to cover the Groundhog Day festivities. Played by Chris Elliott, Larry can't help but show disdain for Phil, offering a follow-up hit to Phil after Rita slaps him at his own request. As the movie progresses, we also see Larry is sleazier (he asks Nancy if she wants to see the inside of his van) and more of a cheapskate (he takes back his tip at the bar) than we realized.

But fans of the movie probably recognize Elliott from his various other roles throughout the years, as the actor and comedian has landed recurring parts on some of the most notable television shows of the last two decades.

He played Dom/Woogie in There's Something About Mary

Several years after taking on the part of Larry the camera guy, Elliott got another supporting role in a big screen comedy, this time with less philosophy and more bodily fluids. For 1998's raunch-fest, There's Something About Mary, from Peter and Bobby, the Brothers Farrelly, Elliott took on the role of Dom "Woogie" Woganowski, seeming friend to Ben Stiller's lead role, Ted Stroehmann, a somewhat-lovable loser still pining for the titular one-that-got-away, Mary Jensen (Cameron Diaz). Ted, of course, hires Matt Dillon's slightly-more-than-slightly skeevy private eye, Pat Healy, to track Mary down on Dom's advice. It turns out, Mary had to change her name as a result of an old high school boyfriend who was stalking her (not Ted, though he exemplifies the problem to some degree). Of course, it also turns out, Dom was the stalker ex all along and is only one of an entire menagerie of obsessive courters with love in their eyes. 

Elliot was Hanson the caretaker in Scary Movie 2

Seemingly not done with big-screen laughs based on big-time gross humor, Elliott played a supporting part in the Wayans Brothers' 2001 parody Scary Movie 2, the sequel to their breakout horror spoof from a year prior (btw, was Elliott in some weird contractural obligation to only appear in sophomoric comedies made by siblings?). The Wayans bros. stepped away from the teen slasher genre for this silly sequel and focused the main plot on skewering two horror movies from 1999: House on Haunted Hill — a remake of a 1950s film of the same name — and The Haunting — an adaptation of Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House (later made into a successful Netflix series). Elliott's role in the shenanigans came in the form of Hanson, a caretaker of the haunted mansion in which the main cast are staying. Hanson has a malformed left hand, which is the focus of many of the gags in which the character is involved.

Elliott played Peter on Everybody Loves Raymond

Elliott's characters tend to have issues transitioning from the safeties of childhood to the responsibilities of adulthood. And Peter MacDougall from Everybody Loves Raymond is no different. Elliott played Peter, Amy's brother and Robert's brother-in-law. He owned a comic book shop and is the blatant black sheep of his family, as Amy is the favorite. 

When asked by Larry King how he transitioned into playing the role on the CBS sitcom he told the host, "That was a really fun and challenging show to do because I think that was one of the last shows on television that was really sort of like All In The Family, a one act play." He went on to say that doing longer-paced scenes made it challenging because he had to learn his lines better than he would have for quicker-paced sitcoms. "You had to actually learn your lines and you had to actually act. But I think it made me a better actor. I never got another job afterwards, but I was a better actor."

Elliott played Lily's father in How I Met Your Mother

Viewers might have recognized Elliott from his recurring role as Lily's father, Mickey, on How I Met Your Mother. Mickey is an absentee father who was so passionate about launching his board game company, Aldrin Games, and creating the next great American board game, that he forced his elderly parents to forego retirement so he could live with them and work on his dream. Some of his notable game titles include "Tax Evasion," "Diseases!," and "Slap Bet."

In line with many of Elliott's characters, Mickey is an adult who's never quite grown up. Mickey can't see the errors in his blatant selfishness, which eventually cause a rift, but also a reunion with his daughter Lily. Coincidentally, Elliott's real-life daughter, Abby, also scored a role on the hit CBS sitcom. Abby played Ted's girlfriend, Jeanette, who exhibits "crazy" qualities which Ted tries his best to ignore. 

Elliott landed a major role in Schitt's Creek

Today, most viewers probably know Elliott as Roland Schitt on Schitt's Creek. Roland is the mullet-sporting mayor of Schitt's Creek who can make the blood of the show's characters boil. One Reddit thread asked how viewers felt about the character and most agreed that the he bothered them, but that the show wouldn't be the same without him. User, Flutegarden, wrote that they "find him cringey and annoying but I appreciate him as a character. He does have a few good moments."

Since its humble beginnings on PopTV in 2015, the Canadian TV Series went on to become massively popular and last year it swept the Emmys in every major comedy category. So how did Elliott land a starring role on the hit show? He told Larry King in 2018 that he got a call from one of the show's creators. "I got a call from Eugene Levy saying 'would you play the mayor in this show that my son is writing?' Why would I say no to that?" Elliott describes his character as a typical "Chris Elliott character," guys with blinders on who "only see things one way."