The Good Place (co-executive producer Aisha Muharrar) is off to see the Wizard. Well, they're off to see a judge, more like, who will hopefully send them to the real torture-free afterlife. In the "Rhonda, Diana, Jake and Trent" episode, the humans make it through the Bad Place portal to get one step closer to the big reveal. Who plays the judge on The Good Place? The casting is likely to blow your mind faster and more effectively than a molotov cocktail.
UPDATE: The judge is played by Maya Rudolph. So this list isn't 100 percent wrong.
EARLIER: “You’re in for a very big treat," said Jameela Jamil, who plays Tahani, in an interview with Vulture. “I’m not allowed to say who it is, but you’re going to sh*t your pants. Sorry, shirt your pants."
Jamil did actually provide a vague clue as to the mystery actor's identity. "It’s funny," she says in the same interview, "because I asked D’Arcy [Carden, who plays Janet] the week before, ‘Who would you most like to work with in the world?’ And she said someone’s name, and then a week later we found out that person would be joining the cast. Now I think D’Arcy’s a witch. I’m not even overhyping it; it’s so insane.”
So it's someone famous, but at the same time not someone so famous that Tahani would name-drop them. That might be an important line to toe. We do live in an age where Meryl Streep joins the cast of Big Little Lies (director: Andrea Arnold, Season 2) and Helen Mirren has an HBO series, so all bets are off. So putting that, and what we know about D'Arcy Carden and who she might want to work with most in the world, here are some options.
A natural assumption is that Carden would most want to work a comedy legend like Poehler — who as the star of creator Mike Schur's Parks and Recreation (writer: Katie Dippold, 31 episodes) has a built-in connection. It's always fun when writers cast the heroes of old shows as villains in new shows, too.
However. Carden is a veteran performer at the Upright Citizen's Brigade (of which Poehler is a founding member) and also appears on Broad City (creators: Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson) that Poehler executive produces. So the two of them working more closely together would be awesome, but maybe not to an aspirational degree.
The Good Place (producer: Megan Amram) has many parallels to Lost (writer: Elizabeth Sarnoff, 19 episodes) and it would be fitting to have someone from the J.J. Abrams series show up in this mysterious role. However, there aren't a lot of comic actors, or even frankly a lot of megastars that are Lost (editor: Mary Jo Markey, eight episodes) alums.
Only one springs to mind — Janney, who appeared in one Season 7 episode as Jacob and the Man in Black's mother. She would be a hoot, and Carden is a West Wing fan.
It's not particularly clever, but you can't have an NBC comedy — or an NBC adjacent comedy like The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (creator: Tina Fey) — without a Hamm cameo, it seems.
Another homage that the series has made, particular this season, is to The Wizard of Oz (co-screenplay credit: Florence Ryerson). While most everyone involved in the 1939 film is no longer with us, Judy Garland's daughter is not only alive but literally kicking and no stranger to television comedy. It would be a bit of a stretch for a Wizard of Oz (editor: Blanche Sewell) reference, but who wouldn't want to work with Liza?!
Not only does it kind of track that the ultimate judge would be one of the ladies from The View (director: Ashley S. Gorman), but Goldberg is no stranger to other-worldly comedy.
Or another Saturday Night Live (director: Beth McCarthy-Miller, 218 episodes) cast member from decades past — like Molly Shannon, Cheri Oteri, Laraine Newman, or even Maya Rudolph.
True fans know that Carden is a huge One Direction fan, and one of the people she would most want to work with is Harry Styles. She talks about it on an episode of the podcast "Don't Get Me Started" where she is the guest. If you scroll through Carden's likes on Twitter, she's hit the heart on a few theories suggesting Harry is the one.
However, truer fans know that Carden technically already has worked with the boys. She and fellow 1D super fan Brandon Scott Jones were extras in a Saturday Night Live digital short starring Paul Rudd. This could be another Poehler situation and/or a red herring.
Got any other guesses for this surprise on high? Schur did manage to snag Bill Murray for the Parks and Recreation (director: Nicole Holofcener, four episodes) series finale, after all. Whoever the judge ends up being, lets hope the gang manages to keep their chill long enough to plead their case.