This is the first in what will be an ongoing series.
I derive an inordinate amount of joy from finding odd or unexpected early appearances from actors who I’ve become familiar with later in their careers. So much so that I tend to collect a mental inventory of such appearances, and so I thought it’d be fun to start to catalog them. Most of these aren’t really unknown—Internet searches would readily turn up plenty of mentions, jokes, and discussions—but they tend to be a little obscure and more often than not largely forgotten. It’s my intention to post about some of these as I find them, as well as to write about those from my already-established mental backlog from time to time, as a continuing series.
One of the funniest such roles comes from Jon Favreau. In 1994, he made an appearance in season 5, episode 20 of Seinfeld. This show is a veritable treasure trove for finding bit parts and cameos by actors who would later be much more recognizable, several of whom became established television actors and would go on to star in their own series. None are as awkward—nor as presumably embarrassing—as this one, though.
In the episode, entitled “The Fire,” George Costanza finds himself at a children’s birthday party arguing with the hired entertainment about one of the forebears of his profession. In the role of the clown is Jon Favreau, who two years later would star in the generation-defining Swingers, which he also wrote. From there, several other film roles would come, as well as further television appearances (including a stint on Friends where he played a software billionaire with unrealistic dreams of becoming an Ultimate Fighting Champion). These days, Favreau is establishing himself as a respected director, coming off the resounding success of Iron Man, the sequel to which is currently in production.
Back in 1994, though, he was Eric the Clown:
“This is just a gig, it’s not my life.”