Before they were famous…

But after they’d at least gotten an agent.

Last week, fellow Retroist contributor Brian Boone posted this fun piece about Matt LeBlanc in a ketchup commercial before Friends rocketed him to fame.

So, of course the first question I asked myself was, “Matt LeBlanc was on that show The Fanelli Boys, wasn’t he?”

Answer, no. And I am certain I am one in a very small handful of people who even remember that ill fated show that barely was able to pop out a full season on NBC in 1990. I don’t know, it amused me at the time. There was one episode where one of them was singing 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall, and it was really annoying the other brothers, who then yelled at the singing brother in an overly working class Italian way. Or something. I was 12. “Songs that never end” and “being reprimanded by someone doing his best Sonny Corleone” jokes still worked on me.

Anyway, that did get me thinking about bit parts that now extremely famous people played on television before they were household names. Matt LeBlanc, for one, actually appeared on an episode of Growing Pains spin off Just the Ten of Us–about Coach Lubbock and his very Catholic inability to keep it zipped, hence his gaggle of kids, four of them adolescent daughters. Like Fiddler on the Roof. But with more football. And Matt LeBlanc.

And since I mentioned Growing Pains, that 80s kid classic that followed the follies and subsequent lessons learned by the Seaver family–but who were we kidding, the show was about Boner and Stinky. Still, this is none other than one Brad Pitt making Alan Thicke bend over so he can use his back as a flat surface. Good times.

And finally, my personal favorite. Post Facts of Life, but pre Roseanne–from the 1987 episode of The Golden Girls “To Catch a Neighbor”, George Clooney as a young cop.

Now if only I could find that clip of Andrew Dice Clay as Crazy Larry on Diff’rent Strokes, well, then this day would be complete.

Sass Wagon

Sass Wagon (or Dana, if you prefer formality) grew up in Pennsylvania in the 80s and 90s. She kinda needs a haircut.

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