You take the good, you take the bad — and you take the totally unexpected.
In a bizarre cameo for the ages, “Daily Show” alumnus Jon Stewart will be playing a “surprise role” on Tuesday’s live “Facts Of Life” revival episode. The program is part of the ABC’s third installment in the nostalgic “Live in Front of a Studio Audience” special, produced by Norman Lear and Jimmy Kimmel, which airs tonight at 8 p.m. EST, the Hollywood Reporter reported.
The snarky 59-year-old political commentator and comedian will join a star-studded cast in the “FOL” reenactment, including Jennifer Aniston as Blair Warner, Gabrielle Union as Tootie, Kathryn Hahn (“WandaVision”) as Jo, Allison Tolman (“Fargo”) as Natalie and Ann Dowd (“The Handmaid’s Tale”) as Mrs. Garrett.
Meanwhile, the second half of the 90-minute reenactment will entail a staging of the sitcom’s parent show “Different Strokes” featuring John Lithgow as Mr. Drummond, Kevin Hart as Arnold, Damon Wayans as Willis. The roles were originally played by the Conrad Bain, Gary Coleman and child star survivor Todd Bridges, respectively.
Dowd, meanwhile, will be reprising her role as Mrs. Garrett — a part that was played by Charlotte Rae in the original iterations of both “Facts” and “Different Strokes.”
ABC hasn’t yet disclosed which classic episodes they’ll be recreating, although TV experts speculate that they will be from the show’s preliminary seasons.
As such, they’ve predicted that Stewart be playing an early run “FOL” character, such as Eastland School headmaster Steven Bradley — portrayed in “Facts of Life” Season 1 by John Lawlor. Another possibility, according to internet sleuths, is Bradley’s on-screen successor Charles Parker (Roger Berry).
Either way, the role marks the first time that the “Big Daddy” actor, who currently hosts Apple TV+’s “The Problem with Jon Stewart,” will be portraying on-screen character that’s not a version of himself since 2002’s “Death to Smoochy.”
“The Facts of Life” ran from 1979-1988 and centered around students at a girls’ private boarding school where Mrs. Garrett served as house mother and then the school dietitian. She later went on to own and operate a gourmet food business staffed by the four main characters: Blair (Lisa Whelchel), Tootie (Kim Fields), Natalie (Mindy Cohn) and Jo (Nancy McKeon).
Tonight’s “Live in Front of a Studio Audience” isn’t the first time ABC has rebooted nostalgic hit-coms for one night only.
The network previously resurrected “All in the Family” “Good Times,” and even “The Jeffersons.”