What is a celebrity paradox? Basically, it’s an instance where one character in a universe refers to a different character in another universe played by the same actor. They’re winks at the audience. They’re meta jokes. They’re fun. Here’s an example before the 15 other examples: In a Mad About You episode, someone asked the character, Paul Buchman, if he’d ever seen any of Alien movies. Buchman responded that he’d only seen the first one. Paul Reiser, who played Paul Buchman, was of course in the second Alien film, Aliens. Wink wink, nod nod, ha ha.
Here’s 15 much better examples of celebrity paradoxes.
1. In Stargate SG-1, a reference is made to “MacGyvering” a situation in a scene with Richard Dean Anderson, who was of course, MacGyver.
2. In an episode of Mork and Mindy, Mork Meets Robin Williams, who is the actor who plays Mork. This one tore a tiny hole in the space-time continuum.
3. In Seinfeld, Newman and Kramer talk about the magic loogie theory in the spitting on of Keith Hernandez. They refer to the magic bullet scene in the movie, JFK, a scene that featured Wayne Knight, who plays Newman.
4. In a scene in Scrubs, JD tells the Janitor that he saw him in a scene of The Fugitive, which was actually Neil Flynn — who plays the Janitor — as a cop in The Fugitive (this is an amusing subversion of the celebrity paradox, since the Janitor concedes that it was, indeed, him who was in The Fugitive).
5. Likewise, in the second-season finale of Cougar Town, Ted from Scrubs is confronted by all of his old Scrubs co-stars in different Cougar Town roles. It nearly causes him to have a nervous breakdown.