Celebrities passing through cartoon locales is one of the
hallmarks of Adult Animation. For much of its early run The Simpsons was an
example of cameos done well. However, in later seasons, guest stars were used
to generate easy publicity. Many point to an over-reliance on such cameos as a
key reason for the show’s steep decline. The infamous Lisa Goes Gaga is a
damning indictment of this.
South Park has a different approach to celebrity cameos. As
they rarely involve the person being lampooned, Trey Parker and Matt Stone do
not have the hardship of having a celebrity ego to flatter, and are free to create
a fully realised satire of the person’s public image. The celebrities often fit
into South Park so well that they could become regular characters, in a similar
vein to Adam West being Mayor of Quahog in Family Guy.
Tom Cruise and Al Gore have had successful multiple episode
arcs in South Park. However, there are many more characters in the South Park
Hall of Shame who could become series regulars.
Note: Appearances as background characters with little
added to a character's in-world story arc have been omitted for length.