Stephen Hawking: A Life in TV Cameos

The world’s most acclaimed physicist, Stephen Hawking, has passed away today aged 76. In 1964 when just 22 Hawking was diagnosed with a rare form of motor neurone disease and given just a few years to live, but he defied the odds to become one of the most brilliant scientists of our age. He didn’t let the fact he had to speak through his now trademark voice synthesiser and was almost totally paralysed and wheelchair-bound become barriers to his great academic success and he ascended to new heights in cosmic thinking.

Stephen Hawking leaves a staggering legacy behind, apart from being remembered for his phenomenal brain that came up with incredible theories on space and time, he’ll also be thought of fondly for his wonderful sense of humour. This led to multiple and pretty much always hilarious cameos in TV shows over the years. In celebration of his life we bring you some of his very best.

The Big Bang Theory

In a 2012 episode of The Big Bang Theory, Hawking meets brain box Sheldon, who turns out to be no match for the professor in intellect, getting his sums wrong and also in wit, getting taken apart by the genius. On learning of his mistake on a paper he gave to Hawking, Sheldon dramatically collapses to the ground, leaving the professor to crack wise saying, “Great, another fainter.”

Star Trek: The Next Generation

Surely the ultimate cameo for someone as synonymous with space as Professor Hawking was the time he pitched up in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. In doing so he became the first and still the only person to ever play themselves on a Star Trek show. In 1993’s ‘Descent’ the physicist plays a game of poker in hologram form along with Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton and an android called Data. We’re sure Stephen was a bit wary of him, he did had a few issues with A.I.

Little Britain

Another famed cameo was when he joined the ranks of Little Britain for a sketch in aid of Comic Relief. ‘Stevie’ is pushed around and patronised by carer Andy played by David Walliams leading to some very funny swearing blamed on a malfunctioning speech box. Sick of being continually dismissed as an actual academic, Professor Hawking snaps and turns into a transformer, taking out Walliams with a laser gun. Just a shame that it was only a sketch.

Late Night With Conan O’ Brian

One of his greatest cameos came on Conan O’Brien’s chat show in the States. In this hilarious segment scientific genius Stephen Hawking rang comedy genius Jim Carrey to discuss the revolutionary ekpyrotic theory of the universe. He tells the comedian not to bother explaining the idea to the audience as “their pea brains cannot grasp the idea” then says he has to go as he’s very busy watching Dumb and Dumber. Just brilliant.

The Simpsons

Last but very much not least is his work on The Simpsons. He made numerous cameos in episodes of the animated show, most notably in Season ten episode ‘They Saved Lisa’s Brain.’ Here Hawking rescues Lisa from Springfield’s MENSA members in his rocket powered wheelchair. He even has a beer with Homer, complimenting him on his theory of a donut shaped universe. Genius in every way.

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