These famous stars guest appeared on Seinfeld before getting their own show

There’s nothing we love more than sitting down after a long hard day of work and checking out the latest box set or series. Nowadays, the likes of Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu are bringing us so many new TV series, it’s almost hard to keep up (even for major binge-watchers like ourselves). So, in times of modern struggle, we like to take it back to basics and watch some of the classics.

Of course, we’re talking about Friends, The Lucy Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and more. But in our eyes, the list of classic TV shows would not be complete with Seinfeld. This incredible sitcom graced our screen for a decade from 1989 until 1998, and filled our lives with a whopping nine seasons and 180 episodes – and we obviously watched every single one (duh). Seinfeld was created by Jerry Seinfeld himself, with a little help from Larry David, and followed the life of a fictionalized Jerry Seinfeld in the Big Apple. The fictional character was also joined by his George Costanza, his best friend, Elaine Benes, his ex-girlfriend, and Cosmo Kramer, his neighbor. Together, the cast created the ultimate ‘show about nothing’ that was the perfect example of life as a struggling actor.

Over the course of its ten-year run, Seinfeld opened up its set to some of the biggest actors and actresses of the time. With hundreds of guest stars, audiences tuned in each week to see who Jerry would be hooking up with next, who Elaine would be getting into arguments with, who George would befriend, and who Kramer would scare away. The show also served as a platform for up-and-coming actors who are now not-so-up-and-coming, but are a staple in Hollywood in their own right. Yep, Seinfeld made people famous. So if you wanna know more, check out the Seinfeld guest stars who bagged a main role in a show after they hung out with Jerry and his crew…

Courteney Cox as Merryl – Then

Let’s be honest; Jerry had A LOT of girlfriends (like a lot), so we don’t blame you if you’ve forgotten Meryl. This beauty was Jerry’s girlfriend in ‘The Wife’ and was one of the main characters in the episode. The couple seems as if they’re perfect for each other before Jerry goes and ruins it by letting another woman use his dry cleaning discount. Cor, men and their dry cleaning discount. What are they like, ey?

Courteney Cox – Now

After her time on Seinfeld, Courteney Cox became one of the biggest names in the world of TV – and if you didn’t know that, you seriously need to ramp up your obsession with ‘90s TV shows (it’s true). Of course, Cox was one of the main characters in the titular sitcom, Friends. We watched her make friends and break friends, get it on with Tom Selleck (oo-er) and finally end up with her best-friend, Chandler (spoiler alert).

James Spader as Jason Hanky – Then

We’re first introduced to Jason Hanky in season nine when we learn that he is also a member of Alcoholics Anonymous with George and that he was also George’s childhood friend. However, like everything on Seinfeld, nothing is ever easy. George hopes that this new step-by-step method in AA will lead Jason to apologize to him for embarrassing him years ago – but it never happens. Jason eventually ends up at Rageaholics Anonymous, as well as Alcoholics Anonymous, and it doesn’t end well.

James Spader – Now

Since his time on Seinfeld, James Spader has not only dominated the TV world, but he’s also dominated the movie world. In recent years, he has won a whopping three Emmy Awards for his leading role on Boston Legal and has also appeared in popular TV shows such as The Office, The Blacklist, and The Practice. As if he wasn’t cool enough already, James Spader has also starred in Avengers: Age of Ultron as the ultimate supervillain, Ultron.

Debra Messing as Beth Lukner – Then

Yep, we absolutely loved Beth Lukner. This character got some major airtime and some pretty impressive storylines. We first met her in ‘The Wait Out’ when she is married to David. However, their marriage is thrown into disarray when George and Jerry get involved. Although they seem to patch things up at the end of the episode, it’s not long before the dynamic duo get involved again – and Beth eventually ends up dating Jerry (shocker).

Debra Messing – Now

Let’s be honest, Debra Messing is the ultimate TV show goddess. With her bright smile and her iconic red hair, Messing has dominated the TV world since her time on Seinfeld. Just a few months after Seinfeld ended, Debra Messing landed her biggest role to date on Will & Grace – and of course, she was the title character (duh). Although the show ended in 2006, a revival series will be Gracing our screens (excuse the pun) pretty soon.

Sarah Silverman as Emily – Then

We were first introduced to Emily in ‘The Money’ – and of course, she just has to take a trip to Monk’s (I mean, it’s a given, right?) As Kramer’s girlfriend, their relationship seems to go swimmingly until they sleep in the same bed. With her ‘jimmy legs,’ Kramer is kicked, poked, prodded and pushed out of the bed. To combat these uncomfortable sleeping arrangements, the couple are forced to sleep in twin beds. Needless to say, the relationship didn’t last too long.

Sarah Silverman – Now

Sarah Silverman is one of those women that you really really really want to hate because she’s so darn talented, but you just can’t help but love her – because she’s so darn amazing. As an actress, producer, writer and stand-up comedian (wanna leave some talent for the rest of us) it’s no surprise that Silverman’s career took off after her stint on Seinfeld. In the past, Silverman has been a writer and performer on Saturday Night Live and has even been the star of her own show, The Sarah Silverman Program. We love you, Sarah.

Brad Garrett as Tony Abbado – Then

We just have to say that we have absolutely NO confidence in that gasket! Yep, Tony Abbado was Jerry’s mechanic in the season seven episode, ‘The Bottle Deposit.’ Like any true mechanic, Tony really really loved cars. Like, a lot. In fact, he got pretty darn obsessed with Jerry’s Saab convertible. He eventually stole it and took it for a nice long joyride. Neither Tony or the Saab were ever seen again. At least he made a lasting impression!

Brad Garrett – Now

Like many of the other actors on this list, Brad Garrett is an incredibly talented actor. However, his talents don’t stop there – he is also a stand-up comedian, voice actor AND professional poker player (wowza). After his first major appearance on Seinfeld, Garrett was offered one of the main roles in the hilarious sitcom; Everybody Loves Raymond. He has also lent his deep voice and his impressive height to play the leading character in ‘Til Death on Fox.

Lauren Graham as Valerie – Then

In 1997, we were once again introduced to Jerry’s girlfriend (one of many). This time, we said hello to Valerie. However, we don’t just say hello to Valeria – because we also said hello to Valerie’s stepmother. And yes, it was incredibly awkward. What made this situation even more awkward is that Jerry, Valerie, and her stepmother get caught in a massive row. But that’s not it. Later that evening, Valerie’s stepmother is poisoned, and Jerry doesn’t seem to care. Yep, they were over pretty quickly.

Lauren Graham – Now

After her time on Seinfeld, Lauren Graham was offered one of the best gigs of the ‘00s. Yep, Lauren Graham was offered the chance to play Lorelei Gilmore in Gilmore Girls – and of course, she totally accepted. For years, we watched Lorelei, and mini Lorelei (AKA Rory) go about their business in Stars Hollow, and we’re now pretty upset to find out that she doesn’t ACTUALLY live in Stars Hollow and eat pancakes at Luke’s Diner every day. Lauren also returned to star in the revival series of Gilmore Girls, which basically gave us life.

Bob Odenkirk as Ben – Then

Ahhhhh, Ben. You had to feel sorry for the guy. We first met Ben in ‘The Abstinence’ when he appeared as Elaine Benes’ boyfriend. Although Ben liked to say he was a doctor, Ben was not a doctor. Nevertheless, this little fact didn’t stop him from telling every man and his dog that that was his profession. Although we kinda liked Ben, we weren’t exactly THAT sad when he and Elaine broke up. Sorry, pal.

Bob Odenkirk – Now

Although he has gained major traction in the acting business since his days on Seinfeld, Bob Odenkirk was also pretty famous while he was filming for the show. Yep, during the late ‘90s, he was the man and the legend behind the ‘Mr. Show with Bob and David’ and has recently scored one of the best gigs in the business. In recent years, he has starred as Saul Goodman in Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul.

Teri Hatcher as Sidra Holland – Then

We’re going to give you three guesses as to how Sidra was linked to Jerry… you guessed it, she was his guuuurlfriend. We first met Sidra in ‘The Implant’ and the whole episode was basically about her voluptuous chest. After Elaine tells Jerry that Sidra’s assets are fake, he finds himself on a mission to prove whether they are or not. Sadly, their story did not end well (which isn’t much of a shock), but at least she left with a bang when she said, ‘They’re real, and they’re spectacular!’

Teri Hatcher – Now

Before her time on Seinfeld, Teri Hatcher was actually an NFL cheerleader (how cool is that?) She then managed to bag herself a few roles on major TV shows, including Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and Seinfeld. After her stint on Seinfeld, she managed to bag herself one of the leading roles in one of America’s popular television series – Desperate Housewives. In more recent years, she has also appeared on The Odd Couple and Supergirl.

Mariska Hargitay as Melissa – Then

Although she didn’t have a major part in Seinfeld, Melissa definitely made an impact. This brunette beauty first appeared in ‘The Pilot’ in season four and was an instant hit with Jerry and the audience. Melissa was an aspiring actress (like most of his conquests) and turned up to one of Jerry’s auditions. In fact, she was auditioning for his show-within-a-show. Any ideas who she was auditioning for? Of course, she was auditioning for the role of Elaine.

Mariska Hargitay – Now

Although Mariska Hargitay made her acting debut in the ‘80s, she only started making a real name for herself in the ‘90s – and it’s fair to say that Seinfeld helped her shoot to stardom. Since her time on the show, Hargitay has dominated the world of television and has become one of America’s most-loved TV detectives. In recent years, she has appeared as the popular Olivia Benson in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and as Olivia Benson in Chicago P.D.

Patton Oswalt as the Video Store Clerk – Then

Okay, so the Video Store Clerk doesn’t have a name – which is kind of rubbish, considering we really liked this guy. The video store clerk was first introduced to us in ‘The Couch’ in season six of Seinfeld. We first see the clerk after George visits the video rental store. He has just joined the local book club to impress a girl (what a shocker) and had to read Breakfast at Tiffany’s. However, instead of reading the book, he just wants to watch the movie. Well, it is a good movie, so we can’t blame him.

Patton Oswalt – Now

Although the video store clerk was not a major character, Patton Oswalt is a major actor. This actor, voice actor, writer and stand-up comedian is now one of the most popular comedians in Hollywood and has turned his talents to TV and movies. In the past, he has starred as a lead actor in The King of Queens, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and has even won awards for his Netflix stand-up show, Patton Oswalt: Talking for Clapping. He also voiced Remy in Ratatouille – which is so cool.

Michael Chiklis as Steve – Then

Even if you’re a hardcore fan of Seinfeld and remember every single episode (if so, kudos to your memory), you might not remember Steve. We first met this guy in season three, episode ten, in ‘The Stranded’ when George Costanza, Jerry, and Elaine go to a party on Long Island. The host of the party, Steve, later visits Jerry in his apartment – and brings a lady of the night with him. However, when Steve can’t pay, the cops believe Jerry invited the working girl. Oops.

Michael Chiklis – Now

Although he only appeared in a minor role in Seinfeld, it’s fair to say that Michael Chiklis is now a huge name in the world of TV. As an actor and TV producer, this guy has it all. Since his time on the show, Michael has bagged himself major starring roles on The Shield, The Commish, Vegas, No Ordinary Family and American Horror Story: Freak Show. He has most recently appeared as Captain Nathaniel Barnes/The Executioner on Gotham.

Molly Shannon as Sam – Then

Although Sam only appeared in one episode, she DEFINITELY made an impression, because we still try and copy her to this day. Sam is Elaine’s co-worker at the J. Peterman Catalog and first made her appearance in ‘The Summer of George’ – and what an appearance that was. Sam had a pretty odd way of walking, and would never move her arms. This led many of the characters to mock her – including Elaine. However, karma is truly a bee-eye-tee-see-aitch as Sam responded by sending her pretty evil voicemail messages. Take that, Elaine.

Molly Shannon – Now

Unfortunately, Sam didn’t stay too long on the Seinfeld show, as it seems she had somewhere better to be. Where’s better than Seinfeld, you ask? Well, since 1995, Molly Shannon has been a major contributor to Saturday Night Live – so we guess she can be forgiven. In more recent years, Shannon has been the star of numerous TV shows, including Kath & Kim, Neighbors From Hell, Divorce, and the hilarious Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later.

Anna Gunn as Amy – Then

Oh, surprise surprise… we have another girlfriend of Jerry’s. Yep, Amy was Jerry’s girlfriend in ‘The Glasses’ and everything seemed to be going so well, until it all went downhill. After George thought he saw her kissing another man, the two went on a mission to prove that she was being unfaithful. Of course, she wasn’t being unfaithful – George just wasn’t wearing his glasses. However, the tricks and scheming proved all too much for Amy, and she dumped Jerry.

Anna Gunn – Now

Although Amy only appeared in one episode of Seinfeld, Amy Gunn definitely made an impact with her prolific acting talent. Since her time on Seinfeld, Gunn has appeared in numerous TV shows, including Men Behaving Badly, ER, Deadwood, Six Feet Under, Law & Order, Boston Legal and Miss Match. However, she has managed to bag herself a leading role in recent years as Skyler White in Breaking Bad, alongside many of the other actors on this list.

Kathy Griffin as Sally Weaver – Then

If you’re a fond lover of Seinfeld (which is everyone, right?), you’ll probably remember Sally Weaver – who could forget that hair? We first met Sally in ‘The Doll’ as Susan Ross’s college roommate turned aspiring comedian and actress. Although she made an impression on us, she didn’t make a great impression on Jerry. In fact, Sally ruined Jerry’s bit waaaaay more times than he’d like. We later see her working at Federal Express (probably because she ruined Jerry’s bit).

Kathy Griffin – Now

There’s not a soul alive who hasn’t heard of Kathy Griffin. This actress and comedian first started her career on numerous TV shows, including The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, The X-Files, Civil Wars, and of course, Seinfeld. Since then, she has made a name for herself as one of the funniest stand-up comedians and actresses in the business. In the late ‘00s, Kathy actually won herself a few Primetime Emmy Awards for her hilarious show, Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List.

Brenda Strong as Sue Ellen – Then

Brenda strong was still making her way in show business when she appeared on the show as Sue Ellen Mischke, Elaine’s arch-nemesis who she knew since their high-school days in Maryland. Before her portrayal of Sue Ellen on Seinfeld, Strong had already appeared in various films such as the cult-comedy Spaceballs and in countless TV series including Twin Peaks and Star-Trek : The next Generation.

Brenda Strong – Now

After she appeared in several episodes of the show, Strong decided to focus her career on playing on television. After appearing in Ally Mcbeal, Gilmore Girls and Dawson’s Creek, she landed a lead role in the successful TV series Desperate Housewives, playing the role of the deceased narrator Mary Alice Young, which soon propelled Strong’s career to worldwide fame. The show lasted for 8 seasons, won the Screen Actors’ Guild award for a comedy series and broke a record for being the longest-running TV show to feature lead female characters.

Bryan Cranston as Tim Whatley – Then

If you think back to season six of Seinfeld, you might remember the so-called ‘Dentist to the Stars.’ Yep, Tim Whatley was Jerry’s dentist (so of course, he’s a pretty big deal) and was first introduced to us Seinfeld fanatics in ‘The Mom and the Pop Store.’ After this first appearance, he then becomes a recurring character where he hosts epic parties full of major celebrities, re-gifts a label maker, and even converts to Judaism. He’s the kind of guy we loved, but hated a little bit at the same time.

Bryan Cranston – Now

Of course, we would never use the word ‘hate’ when it comes to Bryan Cranston because this guy is an absolute genius. Since his time on Seinfeld, Bryan Cranston’s career has skyrocketed into the TV stratosphere (and so has his hair). He is now most known for his leading role in the awesome TV series, Breaking Bad. In the early ‘00s, Cranston was also a major character on Malcolm in the Middle. Basically, we wish we were as cool as this guy.