Before he was a stoic ad man and a perennial Emmy nominee, Jon Hamm was just another comedy nerd playing Party Down in Los Angeles, hanging out with Adam Scott and crashing on Paul Rudd’s couch.
Years later, Hamm’s mostly known for his dramatic turn as Mad Men‘s Don Draper, but he’s been cutting his teeth as a comic actor that whole time. A cameo performance here, an uncredited role there. Slowly but surely, Hamm has cemented himself as this generation’s king of the comedy cameo.
Being that you’re gonna call out of work to binge-watch Wet Hot American Summer on Netflix at the end of the week (in which Hamm plays a spy named “Falcon”), do your homework and brush up on his comedy work.
Be sure to note that it was old, white, male television executives who were the butt of the joke when Jon Hamm wore blackface during the live episode of Tina Fey’s beloved NBC sitcom.
7 Days in Hell
Sure, HBO had you on the hook for their tennis mockumentary when you realized it would be all about “Andy Samberg vs. Jon Snow vs. white shorts,” but you probably didn’t know that Hamm serves as its narrator. If that sounds like a comfortable fit, it’s probably because Hamm spent the past few weeks describing German automobiles to viewers in intimate detail as his Mercedes-Benz commercials broke up play at Wimbledon.
I’ll take “Voiceover Cameos By Actors Who Look Like Real-Life Secret Agents” for $400, Alex.
The funniest part about Hamm’s brief appearance in the long-running WB dramedy is Don Draper bidding on a glass of red wine. (We definitely prefer him with brown in his glass.)
The Greatest Event in Television History
No cameo of Hamm’s was gutsier than that time he froze to death playing a mustachioed version of himself who stretched with Adam Scott, while wearing nothing but boxers, while doing a perfect remake of the Simon & Simon opening theme.
Parks and Recreation
Hamm’s brief turn in Parks and Rec might have been slightly overshadowed by similar appearances in the same episode by First Lady Michelle Obama and Ginuwine, but it serves as the second piece of the holy triumvirate of cameos in NBC sitcoms with a strong female lead.
The Sarah Silverman Program
The most talked about part of Hamm’s appearance on The Sarah Silverman Program is that he tried to get her to read for the part of Rachel Menken in Mad Men, and she turned him down. Still, though: Don’t sleep on Hamm as the cable guy.
Perhaps channeling some of the things he learned on the set of The Town, Hamm lent his voice to the FBI director on The Simpsons. His character was aptly named… wait for it… “FBI Director.”
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
In Kimmy Schmidt, Netflix gave to us the best of both Hamms… bearded and shaven. Or was it musician and karate master? Either way, when you sat down to watch Tina Fey’s Netflix sitcom, you had to be bracing yourselves for Hamm to pop up. (I mean, he did teach Ellie Kemper’s high school drama class…)
As NBC sold a two-season order of Kimmy Schmidt to Netflix, this is the third part of that holy triumvirate I was talking about.
How Jon Hamm never chastised Lisa Kudrow for groping him at a Barry Manilow concert is one of the great mysteries of our time.