Whether you love it or hate it, South Park has been going strong since its premiere in 1997 due to its eagerness to satirize anything and everything. One of the most frequent targets of their mockery has been celebrities who have been mercilessly skewered by series creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone on countless occasions. After all, who could forget Kanye West’s “Fishsticks” episode, the Caitlyn Jenner subplot, or the whole Tom Cruise trouble surrounding the show’s mocking of the Church of Scientology?
Throughout the animated series’ long run of celebrity scandals and star-laden controversies though, there have been plenty of times when Hollywood’s finest have voiced roles on the series. From music acts to comedic cameos, and even to a certain A-list actor appearing as Stan’s gay dog, these South Park guest stars had us laughing until our stomachs ached.
Updated on April 8, 2023, by Ryan Heffernan:
South Park yet again found itself in the media limelight recently with the show’s targeting of Harry & Meghan proving to be characteristically polarizing, garnering a strong reaction from the Royal couple and from the public. It certainly isn’t the series’ first run-in with celebrity personalities, but some surprising names have offered their voice acting talents to the show before, with these among the best and most memorable South Park guest appearances.
13 Natasha Henstridge as Ms. Ellen
Credited as “The Chick from Species” during the opening, Natasha Henstridge’s role as Ms. Ellen marked the first time a celebrity guest star appeared in a major role for the show. Filling in as the substitute teacher, Ms. Ellen quickly wins the hearts of the boys who romantically pursue her despite being told that she is a lesbian.
She even enraptures Stan, whose girlfriend Wendy Testaburger arranges to have Ms. Ellen eliminated in dramatic fashion. The Valentine’s Day-themed episode is among South Park‘s best with its trademark mix of social satire and absurd, offensive comedy striking a deft balance that fans enjoyed.
12 Elon Musk as himself
While celebrity guest appearances often happen on South Park, it is rare for a popular figure to land a recurring role. But that’s exactly what happened in season 20 when business magnate Elon Musk voiced himself through a three-episode run.
With Troll Trace – a website dedicated to unveiling the true identity of internet trolls – becoming a worldwide phenomenon and threatening societal collapse as a result, a reformed Cartman and his girlfriend journey to SpaceX to escape the planet. They are taken on a tour of the facilities by Musk who grows interested in accelerating his research as the global crisis worsens.
11 Henry Winkler as the Kid-Eating Monster
A loose parody of the original Star Trek series, South Park’s season 2 episode “City on the Edge of Forever” is an imaginative dreamscape, to say the least. When the school bus veers over a cliff, Ms. Crabtree instructs the children to stay put while she gets help, or else a “big scary monster” will eat them.
While Jay Leno and Brent Musburger made appearances in the episode, it was Henry Winkler’s voiceless cameo as the snarling kid-eating monster that was so spectacular. Completely random, no one would have guessed he voiced the part until the credits rolled, making for one of the most obscure casting calls in the show’s history.
10 Malcolm McDowell as A British Person/Narrator
While it’s not overly crude or particularly complex, season five’s “Pip” stands as one of the most contentious and obscure episodes of South Park to date. A comical retelling of Charles Dickens‘ Great Expectations, South Park’s English exchange student Pip was the only character from town to appear in the episode with Malcolm McDowell featuring as “A British Person,” the otherwise unnamed narrator.
His comedic timing, witty narration, and the fact that he made a live-action appearance make McDowell one of the show’s more memorable guest stars. This feat is made all the more impressive given the episode itself was met with mixed reviews and is remembered as one of the few episodes to have missed its mark.
9 Cheech and Chong as Cherokee Herbalists
Season four’s “Cherokee Hair Tampons” marked something of a significant return for cannabis-loving comedy duo Cheech & Chong after a contentious split in the 80s. They voiced a pair of supposed Native Americans who worked with Miss Information in a new holistic medicine store in town which takes off after Kyle’s mum speaks of the wonders it had done for her boy.
While the residents of South Park become enamored with the holistic healing craze, it’s Cheech & Chong’s characters who finally reveal the truth; that it’s all a scam, they’re actually Mexicans, and Kyle needs to be rushed to the hospital. The cameo appearance was not only hilarious, but it also played an essential role in their eventual reunion, even if they had to record their lines separately at the time.
8 Korn as Korn
With pirate ghosts and the mystery of Kyle’s grandma’s missing corpse, the aptly named season 3 episode “Korn’s Groovy Pirate Ghost Mystery” had plenty of craziness even before the nu-metal pioneers entered the fray. Venturing to South Park to participate in the ‘Halloween Haunt’, the band members play themselves as a hilarious parody of Mystery Inc. from Scooby-Doo.
The animation style, incidental mishaps, and the way the mystery unfolds masterfully mock the Scooby-Doo cartoons and saw Korn win over plenty of new fans with their willingness to laugh at their own expense. The episode also saw them debut ‘Falling Away from Me’ which went on to be their biggest hit.
7 Robert Smith as himself
“Mecha-Streisand,” the 12th and penultimate episode of South Park’s first season, had no qualms about making fun of celebrities, with Barbra Streisand the butt of most of the jokes. By the end of the episode, she has attained the ‘Diamond of Pantheos’ and transformed into Mecha-Streisand, a giant robotic terror destroying the town.
With no other options, Chef (Isaac Hayes) and the boys contact Robert Smith of The Cure to help out, which he does by transforming into a giant moth creature and saving the day. The collaboration fulfilled a dream for Trey Parker, who remains a die-hard fan of The Cure, while also making for one of the best moments of the first season.
6 Bill Hader as Alec Baldwin
A comedic legend in his own right, Bill Hader has made plenty of significant contributions to South Park with his multiple appearances as a guest star. His most memorable came in season 17’s first episode, “Let Go, Let Gov,” in which he voices Alec Baldwin.
After falling victim to a publicity scandal due to his “homophobic thumbs” misrepresenting him on Twitter, the actor agrees to endorse ‘Shitter,’ a social media device that audibly broadcasts users’ thoughts straight to the internet. Needless to say, hilarity ensues with Hader nailing his performance and solidifying his claim as one of the series’ greatest guest stars.
5 Elton John, Ozzy Osborne, Meat Loaf, Joe Strummer, DMX, Rick James, Devo, Rancid, Ween, and Primus as themselves
The season two episode “Chef Aid” saw the boys hold a benefit concert to help their friend Chef after he was imprisoned following a dispute with a record company. It turns out, they can gather one hell of an ensemble with rock stars, rap gods, and pop idols coming out to lend their support to the school cook.
From Elton John singing Stan’s song in the episode ‘Wake Up Wendy’ to Ozzy Osborne biting Kenny’s head off, the episode is jam-packed with gags which left fans of all music genres laughing. The episode also spawned an album ‘Chef Aid: The South Park Album’ with many of the artists who made cameos in the episode appearing on it.
4 Radiohead as Radiohead
“Scott Tenorman Must Die” still stands as one of the most shockingly heinous and hilarious episodes of South Park – or sitcom for that matter – ever made. Enraged at falling victim to a prank, Cartman vows to get revenge on eighth grader Scott Tenorman and goes so far as to have his parents killed and cooked into a chilly which she feeds Tenorman at a cook-off.
The icing on the cake is he even goes so far as to orchestrate it so Scott’s favorite band, Radiohead, arrives to see him crying. While their appearance was only brief, seeing them ridicule Tenorman brought one last suitably sadistic twist to the episode which left fans of the series howling with laughter.
3 Jennifer Aniston as Miss Stevens
Given her enduring fame as a versatile comic actor, it can be easy to forget that in 1999 Jennifer Aniston was largely recognized as Rachel from Friends. With that in mind, her appearance as Miss Stevens – the leader of the ‘Getting Gay with Kids’ environmentalist choir tour – in the season three premiere “Rainforest Shmainforest” was rather eye-opening.
Starting the episode as a devout environmentalist wanting to educate the kids on the wonders of nature, her joyful opinion of the rainforest changes quite dramatically as the episode goes on. Her profanity-riddled rant which targets everything rainforest-related was a severe change of pace for Aniston, and one that made for one of the greatest celebrity South Park episodes.
2 Sia as Lorde
One of South Park’s greatest-ever subplots came in the season 18 episode “The Cissy” in which it was revealed Randy Marsh had been leading a double-life as Lorde. Not only did it give us yet another hilarious example of Randy being in the limelight, but it also led to “Push (Feeling Good on a Wednesday).”
South Park is full of great musical numbers that are satirical, hilarious, and even surprisingly good, but this fantastic parody of pop music is the show’s absolute best. While Lorde herself didn’t voice the part, an NME report reveals that she responded positively to the episode and to Sia‘s performance.
1 George Clooney as Sparky and Doctor Gouache
A long-time fan and supporter of Parker and Stone’s comedy, George Clooney helped the duo’s first-ever joint creation – 1995’s The Spirit of Christmas – become a viral hit. Needless to say, when he caught wind of South Park, he was eager to help the creators out by lending his name to the show’s fourth-ever episode “Big Gay Al’s Big Gay Boat Ride”.
In a hilarious casting decision, Clooney voiced Stan’s pet dog, Sparky, lending his voice acting talents to a series of barks and yelps. Clooney got a more formal guest appearance later on as the voice of Dr. Gouache in the film South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, but an actor of Clooney’s character vocalizing a dog is pretty hard to surpass.
NEXT: The Best ‘South Park’ Seasons, Ranked