By now, everybody knows Search Party is the back-handed smackdown and/or celebration of entitled and/or struggling millennials we’ve all been waiting for. But where there are millennials, there are hard-working members of Generation X toiling away in obscurity close by.
So while Dory Sief (Alia Shawkat) and her hipster friends grab the limelight, we figured it was time we gave a salute to the mature age guest stars of Search Party – those long-time comedy veterans whose faces you might vaguely recognise but can’t quite pin down where from. Don’t worry, Gen X pals – just because Herman’s Head aired before Search Party’s cast were even born, doesn’t mean your hard work on that show has been forgotten.
Brick (Parker Posey)
Parker Posey has been in everything. Or more accurately, she’s been brilliant in everything. She was the bad guy in Josie and the Pussycats – that’s an automatic lifetime pass to greatness. But if you don’t know her as Lex Luthor’s sidekick in Superman Returns, or for being easily the best thing in Scream 3, then how about her work in just about every one of Christopher Guest’s improv-heavy comedies such as Best in Show and Waiting for Guffman?
The list goes on and on – basically, if it was a cool film made between 1995 and 2005, she was the person in it making it cool. She’s been classing up television lately, too, appearing in Inside Amy Schumer, Portlandia, Drunk History and, perhaps most memorably, as Louie CK’s romantic interest gone wrong, Liz, on Louie. And she’s going to be Dr Smith on the new Lost in Space! C’mon, that’s pretty impressive.
In Search Party, Parker plays the owner of jewelry store Bellow & Hare - a retail space that might just have the clue to the disappearance of Dory's friend, Chantal. But what she discovers is beyond what either Dory or the viewers expected.
Chuck (William Ragsdale)
Two words: Herman’s Head. As the star of the early '90s sitcom about an average office guy and the four separate sides of his personality that would argue things out inside his head (hence the title), Ragsdale became a comedy icon to the five people who still remember this hilarious series. Fun fact: The Simpsons co-stars Hank Azaria and Yeardley Smith were also cast members (more than one joke about Smith sounding like Lisa Simpson was made in the series).
But Ragsdale’s been doing good work for years, whether as the hero in the original Fright Night, the producer in overlooked teen TV satire Grosse Point, a weasely low-grade dirtbag in Justified, and as Ellen’s boyfriend in Ellen before she came out as gay.
In Search Party, Ragsdale plays a lecherous married man hitting on the young women at the vigil for Chantal. He's maybe a little bit too good in the role.
Lorraine De Coss (Rosie Perez)
If you’ve ever seen Fearless, you know one thing: Rosie Perez can act. OK, you also know never to get into a plane again, but let’s stick with the acting. She started her career in dramatic roles – when your first movie is Do The Right Thing, people are going to take you seriously – but in recent years she’s mixed things up a little, appearing in both Pineapple Express and The Other Guys in the same year.
And while she wasn’t exactly getting big laughs in The Counselor as an incarcerated crime lord who had to hear second-hand that her son had his head sliced off while riding his motorbike as part of her drug courier network, she was definitely not someone you wanted to mess with.
Perez puts in a hugely memorable turn in Search Party as a fellow obsessive on the hunt to find the missing Chantal.
Gail (Christine Taylor)
Maybe you remember her as Marcia from the Brady Bunch movies. Maybe you remember her as The Sherriff from classic “lost” TV pilot Heat Vision and Jack. Maybe you remember her as investigative reporter Matilda Jefferies from Zoolander. Hopefully you don’t remember her from Zoolander 2, because that film was just no good at all. Or maybe you just know her as Ben Stiller’s real-life wife (albeit separated) who keeps being funnier than him in all his movies.
As Dory continues her quest for purpose in Search Party, she finds herself questioning her cushy, but meaningless job working for her vacant boss, played with great aplomb by Taylor.
Paulette Capuzzi (Judy Gold)
Stand-up comedian, podcaster, writer and producer for The Rosie O’Donnell Show, Gold’s comedy resume is pretty darn impressive, even before you get to her TV work. She’s been in Broad City, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Louie (as a lesbian mother-to-be), 30 Rock, 2 Broke Girls, Ugly Betty and let’s not forget the time she played a forensic gynaecologist in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. She’s probably best known right now for her Kill Me Now podcast – complaining about life has rarely been this much fun.
Gold delivers some common sense in Search Party where she advises the aimless Dory that she isn't particularly qualified to do much.
Keith (Ron Livingston)
Office Space is one of the funniest movies of the last 20 years. The star? One Ron Livingston. Sure, you might remember him best as Jack Berger in Sex and the City (he was the writer who dumped Sarah Jessica Parker's Carrie via post-it note) or maybe as the square-jawed, hard-drinking Captain Nixon in Band of Brothers. But it’s his ability to put the perfect deadpan spin on a line that’s made him a stand-out in comedy roles, whether as the cheating boyfriend in Drinking Buddies, the smarmy rival in Vacation or the dad stupid enough to move his family into a clearly haunted house in The Conjuring. That was a comedy, right?
If Livingston wasn't on your radar before Search Party, he definitely will be after watching the show where he plays a detective searching for Chantal - but does he know more than he's letting on to Dory?
Search Party is streaming now at SBS On Demand.