Though Bob’s Burgers has seen as many guest stars as most other primetime animated programs, there’s a key difference: rather than drum up convoluted reasons for the Belchers to run into a different real-life celebrity each week, the guests almost always play brand-new characters. Instead of adding to a growing list of cameos that become dated faster than you can say “Gangnam Style”, Bob’s has cultivated an eclectic roster of memorable supporting characters. As the show goes into its fifth season, we thought it was the right time to review the highlights of the last four years. We cut the “guest star” distinction off at semi-regulars like Kevin Kline’s Mr. Fischoeder and the Silverman sisters as Ollie and Andy Pesto, but you might be able to spot a few repeat offenders.
20. Zach Galifianakis as Chet
Episode: “God Rest Ye Merry Gentle-Mannequins”
It’s tough to picture Galifianakis and his formidable facial hair in a role depicting anything but a surly hobo or an amateur lumberjack, but he was almost unrecognizable in this Christmas episode. Not many could take Chet—a man who not only has a relationship with inanimate dummies but believes himself a former mannequin—and make him strangely lovable. Perhaps we shouldn’t expect anything less from the guy who made us laugh at a baby getting hit in the head with a car door.
“I used to be a mannequin. You don’t need to be afraid of me, I’m not one of those ‘murder mannequins’ or ‘satanic mannequins.’”
19. Fred Armisen as Tommy
Episode: “Nude Beach”
As the replacement health inspector, Armisen had the unenviable task of portraying someone so off-putting that Bob wishes for the return of his prickly predecessor, Hugo. The SNL and Portlandia vet pulled it off, in part thanks to his experience as a real-life musician. Armisen was able to reverse-engineer the qualities of truly terrible songs, as evidenced in Tommy’s many prostitute-based ballads.
Bob: “You’re saying a rat just came in here and tossed a bag of its poop on my floor?”
Tommy: “Yeah, that’s a thing that happens.”
18. Amy Sedaris as Samantha
Episode: “Weekend at Mort’s”
Next-door neighbor Mort has taken a backseat in the last couple seasons, but early on he got a chance to shine next to his equally weird date Samantha, played with trademark creep by Sedaris. Their morbid dirty talk is enough to want a risque Six Feet Under-style spinoff, if only to cure sex addicts of any and all libido.
Samantha: “So, what’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever found in a human body?”
Mort: “You first.”
Samantha: “Light bulb.”
Mort: “A football.”
Samantha: “A Far Side calendar.”
17. Jeffrey Tambor as Captain Flarty
Episode: “Mutiny on the Windbreaker”
On Arrested Development, Tambor’s George (and Oscar) Bluth never shied away from screwball, but those antics were tame compared to the flamboyant Captain Flarty. Bestowing his character with an amount of zeal heretofore unseen in seafaring kidnappers, Tambor is at his most exuberant when baby-talking his giant capybara.
“Oooh, Kiki! That’s a big BM! Yes!”
16. Patton Oswalt as The Moody Foodie
Episode: “The Moody Foodie”
If you squint at any episode of any TV show and ask “Is that Patton Oswalt?” the answer is “Usually.” Casting directors everywhere know he puts out consistent quality, and his turn as the titular angsty food critic is no different.
Bob: “Are you expecting someone?”
Moody Foodie: “Oh, that must be my next kidnapper.”
14 & 15. Thomas Lennon and Samantha Bee as Chuck and Pam
Kooky newscasters have been commonplace on TV since the days of Mary Tyler Moore, but Chuck and Pam are a special breed. As the secretly-divorced pair of “married” news reporters, Lennon and Bee lace their passive-aggressive barbs with enough venom to kill Bigfoot, or at least a small child in a Sasquatch costume.
Chuck: “It’s great! It’s like when they got a chimp on The Today Show.”
Pam: “Yeah, that was in the 50s, but let’s base all our decisions on that.”