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Why Chuck From Better Call Saul Looks So Familiar

One of the more notable elements of "Better Call Saul" is the presence of Chuck McGill, Jimmy McGill (aka Saul Goodman)'s older brother. Though Jimmy doesn't even bother to mention his older brother throughout "Breaking Bad," the pilot episode of the spinoff series immediately makes clear that Chuck is someone who had an enormous impact on the con-artist lawyer's life. Though Chuck's status as a series regular on "Better Call Saul" ceased after Season 3, he later appeared in two episodes of Season 4. 

If you've been watching film or television for a while now, the odds are pretty good that you've seen Chuck's actor in something before, even if you couldn't quite place him at the time. During the course of his career, Michael McKean's has appeared in an extensive number of productions. In fact, according to IMDb, the veteran actor has 243 credits to his name. But instead of looking at each and every one of those, here's a quick recap of some of McKean's most recognizable roles.

McKean played Lenny on Laverne & Shirley

Television audiences around the world first came to know Michael McKean on the beloved ABC sitcom "Laverne & Shirley." The series, which began airing in 1976, originated as a spinoff of "Happy Days," one of the most successful sitcoms in television history (via The A.V. Club). Starring Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams as the eponymous characters, "Laverne & Shirley" tells the story of two women living in the 1950s and 1960s. During the course of its eight seasons, the series became renowned for its use of physical comedy (via YouTube).

McKean appears in 149 of the show's 178 episodes and was a series regular in seven seasons, in which he played Lenny Kosnowski, a friend of Laverne and Shirley's who lives in the same apartment building. Lenny's sidekick on the series, Andrew "Squiggy" Squiggman, is played by David Lander (via IMDb). Though McKean bowed out of the show as a series regular after Season 7, he returned as Lenny for a total of five episodes in the eighth and final season. Ultimately, McKean's role on "Laverne & Shirley" served as a vehicle that launched him into Hollywood stardom.

He starred in This Is Spinal Tap

After "Laverne & Shirley" wrapped in 1983, McKean wasted little time before finding himself at the center of another icon of pop culture with his role in the 1984 pseudo-documentary film "This Is Spinal Tap." Also serving as Rob Reiner's directorial debut, the so-called "mockumentary" places McKean in one of the central roles of an English heavy metal band. Struggling with all of the cliche problems that often seem to plague self-important artists, David St. Hubbins (Michael McKean) and the rest of his Spinal Tap bandmates embark on a tour across the United States of America. 

Upon release, the film received critical acclaim and remains one of the most revered examples of the "mockumentary" format. On Rotten Tomatoes, "This Is Spinal Tap" has a 95% critics score and a 92% audience rating, indicating widespread love and affection for the film. In 2002, the movie was added to the Library of Congress National Film registry, a clear mark that audiences view it as a classic (via CBS News). Outside of "This Is Spinal Tap," McKean has also appeared as David St. Hubbins in various other formats including appearances on late-night talk shows and "Saturday Night Live," a series that he would later spend even more time on during the mid-1990s.

McKean was Mr. Green in Clue

The 1980s were truly the heyday of McKean's career on the big screen. Only a year after the release of "This Is Spinal Tap," McKean appeared in "Clue," a 1985 comedy film loosely based on the popular board game of the same name. In the movie, McKean plays Mr. Green, one of six strangers invited to a New England mansion. Slowly, but surely, every member of the party is revealed to have a secret worthy of blackmail. Mr. Green hides the fact that he is a homosexual, something that could result in his firing from the State Department.

Like the board game, the goal of the film is to find the murderer. However, producers of "Clue" borrowed another idea from the board game and released three different endings. In one of them, Mr. Green drops to his knees and prays as police raid the house. In another ending, Mr. Green is simply slapped by Wadsworth (Tim Curry) and Colonel Mustard (Martin Mull). And, in another ending, Mr. Green is revealed to be an FBI agent. As police raid the house, Mr. Green says, "Okay, Chief, take 'em away! I'm gonna go home and sleep with my wife!"

He was a series regular on two seasons of SNL

In 1994, Michael McKean joined the cast of Season 20 of NBC's "Saturday Night Live." McKean appeared as a series regular on the long-running sketch comedy in two seasons, both of which are often remembered for their many jokes about the murder trial of O.J. Simpson. Throughout the 1994 and 1995 seasons, the stars (most notably, Norm MacDonald on "Weekend Update") lampooned the various courtroom antics of the former actor and NFL running back.

In one particularly memorable cold open, McKean plays the role of Robert Shapiro, one of the members of Simpson's so-called "Dream Team" of attorneys. The skit, which also stars Tim Meadows as O.J. Simpson and David Spade as Brian "Kato" Kaelin, humorously portrays Shapiro as hiding a murder weapon, encouraging members of the jury to pose for photos with Simpson while shouting "not guilty," and motioning that the jury be provided with free beer.

During his two seasons on "SNL," McKean also did impersonations of Howard Stern, George Will, Elvis Costello, and Bill Clinton.

McKean played the state trooper in Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Though some argue that "Die Hard" is not a Christmas film (even though it most certainly is), there don't seem to be many arguments over whether "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles" is a Thanksgiving movie (via Rolling Stone). The heartwarming film tells the long and somewhat perilous journey of Neal Page (Steve Martin) as he attempts to make it home to his family in time for Thanksgiving, all the while doing his best to avoid his forced travel companion, Del Griffith (John Candy).

Somewhere near the end of the duo's long pilgrimage home, their badly-damaged and barely-operable vehicle is pulled over by a state trooper played by Michael McKean. In his first and only scene, McKean's stupefied trooper simply asks Del, "What the hell are you driving here?" The two engage in a back-and-forth about the safety of the vehicle, and while Del insists that it is workable, the trooper is unwilling to let them drive any further. 

McKean's role in the film is short and simply serves as one more obstacle that the two central characters must face on their long journey home.

He hosted Food: Fact or Fiction?

In the same year that he began appearing as Chuck McGill on "Better Call Saul," Michael McKean also picked up hosting duties on a series called "Food: Fact or Fiction." The television series, which originally aired on the Cooking Channel, serves as an antidote to the various culinary myths that have been spread for decades without any genuine testing or facts to back them up. 

One promo released on YouTube by Food Network Asia gives audiences a preview of the types of questions that the series aims to answer. "Who really invented French fries?" McKean asks, in the first part of the 30-second clip. Another 5-minute scene posted to YouTube delves into the history of the hamburger, asking the question, "Was the hamburger shaped by war?" McKean's answer to the question provides an amusing origin to the delicious meal that somehow goes all the way back to the time of Genghis Khan.

The series aired its last episode in 2018 (via IMDb), but fans hungry to revisit it can check out the first season on Amazon Prime Video.

McKean guest starred in five episodes of Grace and Frankie

This list started with "Laverne & Shirley," the series about two women that made Michael McKean famous, and now we're ending with a more recent series also about two women, Netflix's "Grace and Frankie." McKean first appeared on "Grace and Frankie" in Season 6, Episode 3, an episode titled "The Trophy Wife." In his first scene, McKean is introduced as Jack (aka Bidder 210), a man who wages a bidding war against Frankie for a pair of late Grateful Dead band leader Jerry Garcia's sneakers. Jack winds up winning the prize, but agrees to give Frankie one of the two sneakers and suggests that the two meet up later for a date. 

Jack returns for four more episodes that season and makes his final appearance in Season 6, Episode 9, an episode titled "The One-At-A-Timing." After doing her best to date both Jacob (Ernie Hudson) and Jack at the same time, Frankie's two-timing efforts are called out when Jack surprises Frankie (and, unexpectedly, Jacob) while wearing Frankie's robe. After discovering that "we" meant three and that the two actually shared the same pet names, Jacob and Jack both decide that they have had enough of Frankie and leave her. Jack asks Jacob, "Want to go grab a drink?" and Jacob quickly responds, "No!" 

Neither Hudson or McKean have appeared on the series since, but its possible fans could see them again when the series returns for the latter half of its seventh and final season sometime next year (via IMDb).