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Before They Were ‘Ghostbusters’: The Early, Maybe Embarrassing Roles of Our New Favorite Squad

Before the all-star group was strapping on photon packs and zapping ghosts, they had roles that they might, or might not, want to forget.



Columbia Pictures

Paul Feig’s “Ghostbusters” reboot has debuted to widely positive reviews, thanks to an all-star cast including SNL leading ladies Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones, comedy powerhouse Melissa McCarthy and the god of thunder himself, Chris Hemsworth.

READ MORE: ‘Ghostbusters’ Review Roundup: Critics Generally Positive On Female-Led Blockbuster

Before the all-star group was strapping on proton packs and zapping ghosts — even before they appeared on “SNL” or “Gilmore Girls” — they made appearances in everything from strange short films to gay sketch shows. We’re taking it way back with a look at the early acting careers of the “Ghostbusters” gang.

Melissa McCarthy

“God” (1998)

In her first ever listed acting credit, McCarthy stars in a short film about a woman who has a very close relationship with God- as in, they talk on the phone for hours and share everything from juicy gossip to TV reruns. When that relationship turns sour, McCarthy’s character turns to The Devil for revenge.

“Charlie’s Angels” (2000)

The focus of this clip is, unfortunately, on Lucy Liu’s outfit, but McCarthy makes a short appearance as Doris, a begrudging office lady. Who knew she would make Charlie’s Angels look like amateurs years later in “Spy”?

“Curb Your Enthusiasm” (2004)

McCarthy’s early roles often skewed towards the awkward yet lovable, and her cameo in “Curb Your Enthusiasm” was no exception. When Larry goes shopping for a baby doll, he’s a little confused when the only one left is biracial. Who better to talk him through it than McCarthy’s sunny saleswoman?

READ MORE: ‘Ghostbusters’ Reboot Backlash: Melissa McCarthy Slams Trolls, Saying They Need to ‘Find a Friend’

Kate McKinnon

“Vag Magazine” (2010)

In this first episode of “Vag Magazine,” a web series about a “hipster third-wave feminist magazine,” Kate McKinnon shows off her awkward comedy chops in incredible fashion, hinting at what was to come later in her career.

“The Big Gay Sketch Show” (2006-2010)

Kate McKinnon’s first IMDB credit, “The Big Gay Sketch Show,” ran from 2006 to 2010 and acted as a sort of minor league “SNL.” Playing many characters, including the clip’s Barbara Walters, she showed off much of the brilliance we see in her SNL time.

READ MORE: Ilana Glazer, Kate McKinnon, and Jillian Bell Join Scarlett Johansson In Sony Comedy From ‘Broad City’ Veterans

Leslie Jones

Acting Reel

In an acting reel chronicling much of her early work, Leslie Jones shows off her upfront, unapologetic humor — we can see that her brilliant comedic timing was there from the very beginning.

READ MORE: ‘Saturday Night Live’: More than 90 Percent of Hosts Are White — Why These Numbers Need to Change

Kristen Wiig

“The Joe Shmo Show” (2003)

Check out the full first episode of 2003’s “The Joe Schmo Show,” a fake reality show with one real contestant surrounded by actors. Kristen Wiig stars as Patricia “Dr. Pat” Lane, a fake therapist who got to show off her comedic chops by fooling the real contestant into thinking that she had three terrible marriages before the show.

“Home Purchasing Club” (2006)

In “Home Purchasing Club,” a TV series spoofing home product sales, Kristen Wiig shines with her ability to spoof, exaggerate and play it straight when the lines are absolutely ridiculous — especially in this clip where she sells “Baby-No-Gos,” two cinder blocks one straps to his/her child’s feet to keep them from going anywhere.

READ MORE: Kristen Wiig Replaces Reese Witherspoon In Alexander Payne’s ‘Downsizing’

Chris Hemsworth

“Guinevere Jones” (2002)

As for everyone’s favorite chiseled, ghost-busting secretary, Hemsworth made his acting debut as King Arthur himself in “Guinevere Jones,” an Australian series about a high school girl who is the reincarnation of Camelot’s Queen Guinevere. His appearance in the clip above is brief but beautiful — worth a watch if only for the wig.

“Dancing With The Stars” (2006)

We all knew Chris Hemsworth’s muscles were magical, but it turns out that his hips don’t lie either. The God of Thunder made an early appearance on the Australian version of “Dancing With the Stars” in 2006, and among many ridiculous numbers, the above samba stands out as proof that Hemsworth can boogie with the best of them.

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