The 32 Most Memorable Celebrity Cameos On Girls

At this point, the stars of Girls are veritable celebrities in their own right. For six seasons, the HBO series has consistently generated a the maelstrom of talking points. In fact, for both its strengths and its flaws, Girls has been steering the zeitgeist itself.

Each season, Girls has churns out provocative, sometimes infuriating, story lines. Some episodes, like this season's "American Bitch," give rise to at least one think piece per pop culture publication unpacking the story's ins, outs, and broader implications.

As the four protagonists flail through their 20s and (maybe, finally) do a little growing up, they come in contact with many other characters who ultimately wind up reorienting how the girls see themselves and their place in the world.

In this way, Girls' structure has provided ample room for guest appearances from cultural icons to up-and-coming actors alike. So, for American actors, appearing on Girls is almost like British actors appearing in a Harry Potter film. It means you've made it, or will, pretty soon.

When Girls is over, we'll look back to these celebrity cameos with a wink.

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Shiri Appleby of Roswell and Unreal played Natalia, Adam's (Adam Driver) first post-Hannah girlfriend.

On her fast rise to stardom, Amy Schumer made a pit stop on season 2 of Girls as Angie, Natalia's best friend. While Schumer was only on Girls for one episode, she had actually previously auditioned for the role of Shoshanna.
Danielle Brooks, everyone's favorite ray of sunshine on Orange Is the New Black, guest starred as Laura, a closeted lesbian in rehab with Jessa. Appearing in season 3, Laura was — astonishingly — Girls' first Black woman character.
Of course Skylar Astin, acapella Romeo of Pitch Perfect, would play Matt, Shoshanna's (Zosia Mamet) former summer camp flame. After running into Shoshanna years later, he tries to rekindle things, but gets turned off upon finding out she's a virgin.
Courtesy of HBO
J. Crew president Jenna Lyons appears as Janice, Hannah's (Lena Dunham) boss at GQ. After 26 years, Lyons just announced that she's parting ways with J. Crew.
Courtesy of HBO
John Cameron Mitchell, the director, writer, and actor behind the acclaimed Hedwig and the Angry Inch, plays David, Hannah's e-book editor. Mitchell was apparently devastated by his character's sudden demise.
Courtesy of HBO
While Jessa (Jemima Kirke) is in rehab, she immediately clashes with Mindy — who just so happens to be played by Kim Gordon, the former bassist of Sonic Youth.
Jessa doesn't clash with everyone she meets in rehab. She strikes up a fast friendship with the borderline lecherous Jasper, played by Richard E. Grant. In his youth, Grant appeared in a slew of period pieces, from Dracula to The Age of Innocence and Portrait of a Lady.
Billy Farrell/BFA/REX/Shutterstock
Felicity Jones appeared as Dottie, the daughter of Richard E. Grant's Jasper. Apparently, Jones, who starred alongside Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything, refused to watch her Girls episode.
You may know him from his Netflix comedy specials or his six years on Saturday Night Live. In Girls, Colin Quinn ditches his sense of humor and plays Hermie, the coffee shop owner who employs Ray (Alex Karpovsky) at his store, Café Grumpy.
Courtesy of HBO
Rita Wilson is known her broad rom-com repertoire, ranging from Sleepless in Seattle to Runaway Bride, and for being part of a star couple herself. Wilson is married to actor Tom Hanks. But in Girls, Wilson plays Marnie's (Allison Williams) controlling mother.
Courtesy of HBO
Donald Glover had a brief stint on Girls as Sandy, Hannah's Republican boyfriend. Now, the multitalented star is now tending his other creative pursuits, like rapping under the moniker Childish Gambino and masterminding Atlanta on FX.
Courtesy of HBO
Which did we want more: Patrick Wilson's dashing doctor, Joshua, or the beautiful brownstone he called home? Hannah has a two-day tryst with Wilson's character. You catch Wilson in his other roles in Fargo, or alongside Charlize Theron in the 2011 film Young Adult.
Courtesy of HBO
Our girl Jenny Slate plays Tally Schifrin, Hannah's college friend who manages to become a published author before Hannah. Wait, did we say friend? We meant nemesis.
Courtesy of HBO
Comedy writer Jon Glaser plays Hannah's downstairs neighbor, Laird. You might also recognize Glaser from his role in Amy Schumer's film Trainwreck.
Courtesy of HBO
From her work as Ali Pfefferman in Transparent, we already know that Gaby Hoffman has a knack for playing complicated characters. In Girls, Hoffman plays Caroline, Adam's wild sister.
Courtesy of HBO
A one-liner counts as a cameo, people. Lead singer of Vampire Weekend Ezra Koenig speaks at a party in Girls, uniting TV and pop music's intellectual darlings.
David X Prutting/BFA/REX/Shutterstock
Allison William's real-life husband Ricky Van Veen very briefly appeared on an episode of season 2. Van Veen is the millionaire co-founder of CollegeHumor.
Courtesy of HBO
Ben Mendelsohn has a knack for playing creeps and screw-ups. In Girls, Mendelsohn plays Salvatore, Jessa's flaky dad who continually disappoints her. If you can't get enough of that signature Mendelsohn lecherous stare, catch his masterful performance as the prodigal son in Bloodline.
Courtesy of HBO
As anyone who watched Heroes knows, Zachary Quinto can play a devious and terrifying master manipulator. Quinto brings back that vibe to the character Ace, the ex-boyfriend of Adam's girlfriend, Mimi-Rose. He briefly gets together with Jessa. Ace was almost universally reviled by fans.
Courtesy of HBO
Gillian Jacobs played Mimi-Rose, Ace's "former partner," and Adam's girlfriend. Mimi-Rose exudes the confident, independent, put-together artist vibe Hannah so craved. In the HBO show Love, Jacobs also plays a woman maneuvering another complicated romantic "partnership."
Courtesy of HBO
Marc Maron's character, Ted Duffield, went head-to-head with Ray for a spot on Community Board 8. The gruff comedian hosts a wildly successful podcast called WTF With Marc Maron, and has interviewed the likes of everyone from Barack Obama to Louis C.K.
Courtesy of HBO
We're still sad we only got one episode with June Squibb's Grandma Flo, the tough matriarch reigning over Hannah's family of fighting women. Under the impression that Adam was Hannah's fiancé, Grandma Flo gave the wise advice, "Someday, you will look at him, hating him with every fiber of your being, wishing that he would die the most violent death possible. It will pass." Catch more June Squibb performances in the Showtime series Shameless, or the film Nebraska.
Courtesy of HBO
Chris O'Dowd, the love interest from Bridesmaids, abandoned his reputation as an endearing Irishman for his Girls character. He played Thomas-John Anderson, Jessa's WASPy and conservative ex-husband with whom she's hardly compatible.
Courtesy of HBO
Sarah Steele plays Rebecca, Hannah's serious, judgmental, sharp-tongued cousin we're relieved we're not related to. Spewing gems like, "Writers are like this ridiculous class of people who make everything about themselves and they tend to have really strange, bizarre eating habits," it's no surprise that Rebecca and Hannah aren't BFFs. Steele recently starred in (and carried!) the film Speech & Debate.
Jim Smeal/REX/Shutterstock
Kathryn Hahn has been in essentially everything — why not Girls, too? Hahn plays Katherine Lavoyt, the mother of twins for whom Jessa babysits. If you like Girls, you might also like the Amazon shows Hahn appears in, Transparent and I Love Dick.
Courtesy of HBO
Comedian and writer of the indie film Don't Think Twice, Mike Birbiglia plays Brian, an employer whose opinion of Hannah is dashed after she makes an inappropriate joke about date rape.
Jessa and Thomas-John's wedding was cringe-worthy, but at least it brought SNL star Bobby Moynihan to Girls. Moynihan plays Thadd, Thomas-John's best man at the surprise wedding. He later hooks up with Shoshanna.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt fans would recognize Carol Kane from a mile away. In Girls, Adam meets her character, Cloris, at an AA meeting.
Courtesy of HBO
Patti LuPone plays herself, of course. In Girls, Hannah interviews the Grammy- and Tony-winning Broadway star for an osteoporosis advertisement.
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Jessa agrees to help her aging, exhausted employer in an assisted suicide. But after Bedelia (Louise Lasser) takes the drug, she changes her mind and rushes to the hospital. Natasha Lyonne comes onto the scene as Rickey, Bedelia's daughter.
Mark Schafer/HBO
Riz Ahmed of Rogue One and The Night Of plays Paul-Louis, Hannah's baby daddy in the last season of Girls.
We saw quite a bit of Matthew Rhys in the episode "American Bitch." Rhys plays a writer, Chuck Palmer, who's accused of assault, and makes a pass at Hannah, too. Though his penis was prosthetic, the creepiness was real. Rhys plays Philip Jennings, half of the Soviet spy duo on The Americans.
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