The Office might have been known for showing off the comedic talents of Steve Carell and launching careers of actors such as John Krasinski, but there were also a ton of guest stars appear on the show over its nine seasons.
Some of these guest stars appeared on the show early in the careers and have since gone on to be very popular, but The Office especially featured a variety of comedic guest stars over the years. We’ve put together a list of 10 of the best guest stars to ever appear on the show and ranked them from best to worst.
10 WILL FERRELL
Will Ferrell appeared on the show in 2011 in season seven when Michael Scott was preparing to leave Scranton and move to Colorado with Holly. Will Ferrell took over as manager for Michael at first, but this stint as office manager didn’t last long.
While Ferrell is a comedic actor who has had a lot of success, the character of Deangelo Vickers wasn’t very funny and was mostly just annoying. No one could ever really fill Michael’s shoes on the show, but this character was especially lacking.
9 JAMES SPADER
James Spader is another of the actors that were brought in after Michael Scott left. Spader played Robert California for 25 episodes and became CEO of Dunder-Mifflin during these episodes. Robert California was another character whose comedic elements the show just didn’t get right. The character got boring and tired quickly.
The humor on The Office generally works best when the characters have likable qualities and you come to care about them, and it was hard to like Robert California.
8 JIM CARREY
In season 7, many comedic actors made brief appearances as Dunder Mifflin Scranton was looking to find a new manager. Jim Carrey was one of these actors. He played a man who was applying to take over for Michael.
Other actors who appeared in this episode included Ray Romano and Will Arnett. While Carrey’s character didn’t really have a name and just had a brief appearance, it was great to see him and other well-known comedians appear in this episode.
7 IDRIS ELBA
Idris Elba appeared on the show earlier on in season four. His character, Charles Miner, was Vice President of the Northeast Region and acted as an intermediary between Michael and David Wallace. Michael hated Miner so much that he ended up quitting to start his own paper company during that season.
This guest appearance occurred before Elba started to get more successful as an actor, so it’s fun to be able to go back and see him in this role. The character was unlikable and uncharismatic and very different than the types of characters Elba plays now.
6 AMY ADAMS
Amy Adams appeared on The Office all the way back in the first and second seasons. While Adams is an extremely successful actress now, she wasn’t as well-known at the time. Adams played Katy, a purse saleswoman who ends up dating Jim for a few episodes.
This character mostly functioned to show that Jim was really in love with Pam and that no one else was right for him. However, it’s great to re-watch the show and see such a successful actress make an appearance.
5 JOAN CUSACK
Guest stars were making appearances on the show from the first season all the way through to the last. Even in the very last episode of The Office, guest stars appeared. Joan Cusack played Erin Hannon’s birth mother in the final episode of the series when the employees of Dunder Mifflin Scranton got together to talk with fans about the documentary they had starred in.
While maybe this addition was a little corny, most of the characters on the show ended up with happy endings. So, it made sense that Erin got what she had wanted most all along, a family.
4 EVAN PETERS
Evan Peters is best known for his many appearances in American Horror Story, but he also guest starred in one episode of The Office. Peters played Luke Cooper, Michael Scott’s nephew.
In the episode, Michael makes excuses for his nephew's poor work ethic at first, but ends up spanking Luke at the end after breaking down when Luke won’t listen to him. This episode is one of those ridiculous The Office moments that is hard to forget, which is why his appearance is so high on the list.
3 JOSH GROBAN
While many of the guest stars on the show were comedians or other well-known actors, that wasn’t always the case. Josh Groban appeared on the show in season nine as Andy’s brother, Walter Jr. In the episode called “Garden Party,” Groban plays the younger brother that Andy has always been jealous of.
When Walter Jr. sings a beautiful duet with his father, Andy reaches the end of his rope. It was definitely a surprise to see Josh Groban appear and sing on the show, and this guest appearance just speaks to how popular the series really was.
2 KATHY BATES
Kathy Bates appeared on multiple episodes of the show in season six. When Dunder Mifflin starts to go under financially, Sabre comes in to buy the company and save Dunder Mifflin Scranton. Bates plays the CEO of Sabre, Jo Bennett.
Kathy Bates is always a delight to see on screen, and the character of Jo was a good replacement to David Wallace. It was especially great for there to be a female character in a leadership position on the show who wasn’t as erratic as Jan Levinson was.
1 RICKY GERVAIS
One of the most satisfying guest appearances on The Office occurred in season seven as Michael Scott was preparing to leave Scranton (There were a lot of guest stars on season seven).
Ricky Gervais, who created and starred in the original UK version of The Office, meets up with Michael Scott briefly and the two get along swimmingly, talking about their comedic characters and joking around. This mini-crossover moment was enjoyable for fans and the perfect way to connect the two versions of the show.