John Lithgow has had a very storied and, at times, high-brow career. However, perhaps the most delighted fans have seen him in a good long while was when he recently reunited with the cast of his last 1990s hit sitcom 3rd Rock from the Sun.
Over the weekend, John Lithgow reunited with his co-stars French Stewart, Kristen Johnson and Joseph Gordon-Levitt for an appearance at New York Magazine’s Vulture Festival in Los Angeles. Johnson took to Twitter to share the joyous selfie, showing all four actors from 3rd Rock from the Sun beaming with joy at being with each other once again. Joseph Gordon-Levitt shared the same image on his own Instagram, just in black-and-white.
The series aired for six seasons from 1996 until 2001. The plot focused on a family of extraterrestrials on a sort of long-term research mission to study Earth and human beings’ behavior. John Lithgow played High Commander Dick Solomon, the leader of the expedition that settled down in the fictional Rutherford, Ohio, said to be 50ish miles outside of Cleveland. His cover on Earth was as a professor at Pendleton. The show was immensely popular in its day, taking home more Emmy Awards than any other show, according to Us Weekly.
The group was on hand to participate in a panel discussion that reunited the cast just ahead of the 20th anniversary of the show’s final episode in January. As Today notes, as the cast joyfully reminisced about their time 3rd Rock from the Sun, both they and viewers were treated to several surprises, each one delighting John Lithgow more than the last. Seriously, the man is absolutely giddy in the below clip in which he and the rest of the cast are surprised by fellow 3rd Rock from the Sun cast member Jane Curtin, who showed up via Zoom to talk about how difficult it was to get through a scene with any one co-star without breaking into laughter.
In what was surely a treat for die-hard John Lithgow or 3rd Rock from the Sun fans, Will Forte also taped a brief video greeting to the cast. Many may not know that the actor got his start writing for the sitcom in its early days. However, perhaps the biggest surprise for the crowd and the thing that made John Lithgow absolutely scream into his microphone was the surprise live appearance of Wayne Knight. For those unfamiliar, Johnson’s character, Sally, had a relationship on the show with his character, Officer Don. When the actress fielded a question about how much fun she had working with Knight, a distant voice in the crowd says “Hello, Sally!”
With that, the crowd erupted, none more so than John Lithgow, who yelled into his microphone while trying to spot Knight in the crowd. Once he made himself visible, the entire cast got up and hugged him, while Dick Solomon himself simply giggled into his microphone, proving that, for all his success, John Lithgow still isn’t afraid to get silly with a group of people that truly delight him.