RIP Stephen Hawking: His Best Cameos
Famed scientist Stephen Hawking has died at the age of 76. The British theoretical physicist and cosmologist was known for his work on black holes, relativity, and quantum physics, with his book, A Brief History of Time, one of the best-selling science books of all time. But while his work gained him notoriety, he was also renowned for his sense of humour and game attitude. As such, he’s had cameos in some of TV’s best loved shows. Here’s some of his best…
One of Hawking’s most famous set of cameos was in The Simpsons. Having appeared in 4 episodes in total – most recently in the Season 22 episode, ‘Elementary School Musical’, where he raps with Flight of the Conchords for Lisa – Hawking was almost a Springfield regular. Through the years, he’s helped to explain black holes to Bart, humoured Homer’s theory that the universe was shaped like a donut over a beer, and caused a riot by punching Principal Skinner before fleeing the scene by a helicopter built in to his wheelchair.
The Big Bang Theory
It may not be everyone’s favourite show but you’d struggle to find a more perfect show for the professor to appear in than the aptly named science-based sitcom, The Big Bang Theory. Which is exactly what he did when budding theoretical physicist Sheldon Cooper showed his thesis to Hawking. Unfortunately, Hawking pointed out an “arithmetic mistake on page two”. They do say you should never meet your heroes!
Little Britain (Comic Relief)
It may not have stood the test of time when it comes to political correctness but by the mid-2000s, Little Britain was one of the most popular shows on UK TV. So naturally, David Walliams was asked to do a sketch as carer Lou for Comic Relief, with Hawking replacing Matt Lucas as his wheelchair-bound friend. Hawking was given a string of one liners, blaming his speech box for his profanity and comparing a nun played by Catherine Tate to a penguin. Tired of being patronised, Hawking turns into a Transformer and strikes down Lou before riding into the sunset.
It’s not only us who hate the Go Compare opera singer… Professor Hawking isn’t a fan either. So much so, he starred in an advert for the insurance comparison site, using his knowledge of black holes to summon one to suck the opera singer into oblivion.
Having pioneered inter-galactic thinking, Hawking managed to master inter-galactic travelling during his cameos in Futurama. He appeared in various episodes through the series, one of which saw him team up with Al Gore, Nichelle Nichols and Gary Gygax as Vice Presidential Action Rangers, whose job it was to protect the space-time continuum. They tried kidnap Fry but instead were left floating in a void playing Dungeons and Dragons. He also appeared as a head in a jar in the film, The Beast with a Billion Backs!
Star Trek: The Next Generation
And finally, Stephen Hawking also had a cameo in arguably the biggest sci-fi show of all time, Star Trek: The Next Generation. During Season 6’s ‘Descent, Part 1’, Data is seen playing poker with holographic depictions of Sir Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein and, you guessed it, our hero professor. Though Newton and Einstein couldn’t break out of their eternal slumber, Hawking portrayed his own hologram for this episode, making him the only guest in any Star Trek series to play actually himself.