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When a TV show gives a fictional character billing in the credits as himself. Frequently done as a joke or to give additional verisimilitude to a "based on a/an (un)true story", although it can also be used to hide a spoilerific cast change. Another reason this is done is if the "character" in question is an inanimate object.
When a fictional character is credited "as himself" because they actually were playing themselves (an actor plays a fictional version of themselves), that's actually As Himself.
Compare Not Named in Opening Credits.
Anime and Manga
- Sayonara, Zetsubou-sensei gives every single character a billing as themselves in the title credits, even going so far as to list characters who either don't have a voice or aren't even in the series! (Emperor Penguin as Emperor Penguin, Oriental Stork as Oriental Stork) Anyone they miss then gets the odd billing of "Everyone else - Staff".
- Sumiyoshi, a silent character in Excel Saga is credited as "Himself" in the ADV dub.
- Haruhi Suzumiya is credited as the director of Suzumiya Haruhi. And not just director, but Ultra Director.
- The sixth episode also credits series composition to "Haruhi and her friends" right before Kyon wonders if Haruhi "wrote this scenario".
- In the first episode (Broadcast order), we watch the movie, where Mikuru stars as Mikuru, Yuki stars as Yuki, Itsuki stars as himself... etc.
Films — Animated
- The Fox and the Hound had "and Squeeks the Caterpillar."
- South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut credits Saddam Hussein as himself, though the voice was actually done by Matt Stone.
Films — Live-Action
- The Muppets Christmas Carol credited "Rizzo the Rat as Himself," partially because most of the other Muppets were playing characters in the story, while Rizzo just happened to be hanging around.
- In Eloise at the Plaza and Eloise at Christmastime, Eloise was always billed "as herself", although a child actress' actual name was Sofia Vassilieva.
- Jabba the Hutt was credited as Himself in The Phantom Menace.
- Presumably partially done because Jabba was a purely CG character (so he didn't have a puppeteer) so there was no human being playing him. He did have lines, though, and some nonfictional person must have provided them.
- The opening to The Star Wars Holiday Special credits R2-D2 as R2-D2, as does the Droids animated series.
- Wes Craven's New Nightmare had "Freddy Krueger as Himself", to suit the Refugee From TV Land plot. Of course Robert Englund (who played Freddy in the movies, including this one, and figures into the plot), was also credited with playing himself.
- In one of the live-action Sinbad series, one of the characters is a falconeer and comes equipped with a real falcon. The falcon is named Dermott and is listed in the credits as played by himself.
- Ghostbusters II had "and Slimer" in the credits, which was a nod to the cartoon, where he got his name.
- Otto the Autopilot from Airplane!!.
- Field of Dreams has The Voice as Himself.
- Ocean's Twelve had a slightly different version: the character Tess (played by Julia Roberts) impersonates Julia Roberts as part of a caper. The end credits include the credit "Introducing Tess as Julia Roberts".
- Which was a callback to the first movie's credit of: "Introducing Julia Roberts as Tess"
- The end credits of The Wizard of Oz state "The Wizard... Himself". The Wizard's actual actor is credited, however.
- The credits for The Truman Show start with "Truman Burbank as himself", echoing the fact that in the show, he's the only person not playing a scripted part.
- And Starring Pancho Villa As Himself. (Villa was actually played by Antonio Banderas).
- The Little Rascals Movie has Pete as himself.
- The Amateurs is framed as a movie in itself. When the credits start, it lists several people from the movie with the role they had in making the movie within the movie that...is the movie? Eh, something like that.
- Space Jam bills Bugs Bunny alongside Michael Jordan.
- Tony Clifton, Alter Ego Acting persona of Andy Kaufman, was always billed and treated as a separate person from Andy. This carried over to the 1999 Biopic Man on the Moon (in which he is played by both Jim Carrey [Andy] and Paul Giamatti [Bob Zmuda, Andy's friend - who ultimately took over the role to maintain the illusion]), with the credits billing "Tony Clifton as himself".
- S1m0ne goes one step further, giving the eponymous computerised actress the starring role in the credits "And introducing Simone as herself". Interestingly, this PR move gave Rachel Roberts (who actually did play Simone) the world record for "most screentime by an uncredited actor/actress".
- Slight variation: In The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, the credit is "And introducing the Skeleton."
- 1959's House on Haunted Hill featured a sequence involving a skeleton emerging from a vat of acid. The end credits included: "SKELETON....BY HIMSELF (sic.)"
- Hot Shots Part Deux - "...and Saddam Hussein as himself." This is in the showcase credits; in the actual cast credits the real actor (Jerry Haleva) is credited.
- In Harvey, the eponymous character (a giant invisible white rabbit) is introduced as playing himself, while the camera shows an empty set.
- In Mac and Me, spokesclown Ronald McDonald is credited "as himself." (It was actually Squire Fridell, the fourth actor to play Ronald McDonald in nationally syndicated TV commercials.)
- Freddy Fruitcake (the Creepy Doll) is credited as "himself" in Psychoville.
- In the first Mortal Kombat movie, Goro is credited as playing himself.
- In the utterly Narm intensive, low-budget horror film The Eyes Know, the credits list Mr. Nibbles the mouse as playing himself. He's the director's pet mouse and was filmed running around the dirty hotel the film takes place in because they couldn't afford multiple rats or mice. His biggest scene is when he grooms himself for a minute and a half... And he gets top billing over the human stars anyway.
- The Hunt for Red October, lists Stanley the stuffed toy Teddy bear, "as himself".
- In Evil Toons the evil wolf beast drawing is credited as himself.
- The Live Action Adaptation of The Flintstones has Dino listed as himself. This made the family of Mel Blanc (the original voice of Dino) very angry, as some of Blanc's vocals from the show were used.
- One of Judy Blume's books is titled Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself.
- Some of Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next novels include credits that thank Public Domain Characters such as Heathcliff for agreeing to appear in the book and credit Shakespeare (William) Inc. for supplying the three witches and other characters from his plays..
- In Playhouse 90, Eloise was always billed "as herself", although a child actress' actual name was Evelyn Rudie.
- Inquizition's host the Inquizitor - to the point where ten years after the show was cancelled, still no one knows who played him.
- Doctor Who famously appended "and WOTAN" to the credits of the War Machines, possibly to reinforce the idea that the computer was so intelligent that it could speak for itself rather than through an actor.
- In The Addams Family series, Thing is credited "as itself". It was actually the hand of the same actor that played Lurch.
- In one Red Dwarf episode, spliced WWII footage was used. Inevitably: "...and Adolf Hitler, as himself."
- An early episode of Mash, "Captain Tuttle," featured Hawkeye and Trapper inventing a soldier so they could get out of Officer-Of-the-Day duty. They managed to convince everyone in camp that Captain Tuttle really existed, even though no such person existed... and in the ending credits, Captain Tuttle was credited as playing himself.
- This particular story may have been influenced by the fact that Kerry Thornley (who would eventually go on to create Discordianism) did something similar as a US Marine - creating a fictional private, Omar Khayyam Ravenhurst, which started as a joke and became a somewhat surreal example of how perception can shape reality. No word, however, on whether or not Omar Khayyam Ravenhurst ever starred as himself - though Kerry Thornley spent most of the rest of his life starring as Omar Khayyam Ravenhurst.
- Sean Williamson is credited as "Barry" in Extras, a play on the fact that in the show, everyone refers to him thus because he is most (only?) famous for playing that character in Eastenders.
- Mister Ed was always billed "as himself", although the horse's actual name was Bamboo Harvester and the uncredited voice was provided by Allan "Rocky" Lane.
- Cambot, on Mystery Science Theater 3000.
- First series of Blackadder's finale featured Mad Gerald. He was quite mad. Also he was Rik Mayall, but that's not what the credits say.
- The Adventures of Pete and Pete opening montage has clips of each character, with the character's names going where the actors' usually go. (The actors are put in the end credits, though.) The metal plate in Ms. Wrigley's head and Little Pete's tattoo Petunia are played by themselves, to the point where cast biographies on a website make passing reference to the fact that "Mom's Plate" has yet to appear in any other films or TV series.
- On 7th Heaven..."Happy the Dog as Happy".
- To maintain the mystery around the Big Bad Serial Killer for several seasons, Profiler ended the opening credits with "and Jack".
- The opening credits of Saban's Masked Rider read "and introducing Ferbus" when they credit him. This is could be down to the fact that in early episodes he was an animatronic puppet.
- "Cursor as Himself" in Automan.
- Out of This World credited Evie's father Troy "as Himself". Troy, an alien who only "appeared" as a disembodied voice from a communication device, was actually voiced by Burt Reynolds.
- "Pee Wee Herman as Himself".
- A two-part episode of Get Smart featured a villain (actually played by James Caan) billed only as "Rupert of Rathskeller as himself."
- In ALF, no one is credited as "ALF" or "ALF's voice", nor are the puppeteers listed as such. But the credits do list these people as "Personal assistants to ALF" (one of the series' creators, Paul Fusco, provided—and still provides—the voice).
- In one episode of The Games, fitting the name of this trope, but with none of the entities involved really fictional: John Howard (the character) played by John Howard (the actor) in order to be mistaken for John Howard (the then Prime Minister of Australia).
- The opening credits for the Children in Need special of Lark Rise to Candleford featured "and introducing Pudsey Bear".
- Deal or No Deal UK has The Banker as himself. A few lesser British game shows have done this gimmick since.
- The Cube has The Body as herself, in a game show example that's actually more similar to The Stig than The Banker.
- In BBC's Top Gear, The Stig is only ever listed in the credits as "and The Stig", even after supposedly unmasking.
- In the Maverick episode "Pappy", James Garner plays Bret and Bart's Dad, while Jack Kelly plays Uncle Bently Maverick. Pappy is listed as "Himself", while Uncle Bently is listed as "?".
- Done in every Supermarionation production. Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, Stingray, Joe 90...you get the idea.
- On Psychoville, the doll Freddie Fruitcake is credited as himself. As is, on at least one occasion, The Silent Singer.
- The music video for the Beastie Boys' "Sabotage" features Sir Stewart Wallace (played by MCA) guest-starring as himself.
- Sound Horiozn albums always credit Revo's vocals not to himself, but to whatever character he's playing in the album.
- "And Death as himself" in The BBC Radio adaptations of several Discworld novels.
- In Good Omens, the Dramatis Personae describes each of the characters, but the Horsemen are just described as themselves ("Famine - Famine")
- In the Japanese version of Space Channel 5, under the vocal cast Ulala is credited as herself.
- In the final cinematic before the actual credits of Final Fantasy VI, the characters are credited by the name you gave them, and then their full, official name, before a short cut-scene with them. If you kept the originally suggested names, this gives you stuff like "Cyan as Cyan Garamonde", or "Mog as Mog".
- The video game Left 4 Dead, which portrays its campaigns as horror movies, features movie posters and end credits which show the names of the four characters and their "actors" (being the players controlling them). When they're controlled by the CPU, they're credited as being played by themselves.
- In the Star Wars First-Person Shooter Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight, Gorc, The Voiceless member of the group of Dark Jedi the player character must hunt down, is credited "As Himself".
- At the end of the Sega Master System game Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap, instead of the closing credits, the word "Cast" would appear, followed by the names of every single variety of monsters the hero gets to fight through the game.
- Brick from Borderlands gets this, as his name more or less describes his character type. In the introduction and all other scenes/materials referencing him, it explicitly gives him this subtitle.
- An unusual zig-zagged version occurs like this: Some of the You Don't Know Jack games are hosted by Josh "Schmitty" Schmitstinstein, voiced by Phil Ridarelli. Ridarelli also voiced characters on several Mortal Kombat games, but was credited there as "Josh 'Schmitty' Schmitstinstein."
- In the Monkey Island series:
- A young scottish actor named Percy James Patrick Kent-Smith began his career in a show called "Ken Campbells Roadshow". Here, he starred in a play about a circus-stuntman by the unlikely name of "Sylvester McCoy". As a joke, the programs proclaimed "Sylvester McCoy played by himself". The critics missed the joke and assumed that was his name, and Kent-Smith decided to make it his stagename. I think he became a Doctor, later on.
- Marcus of Mega 64 is credited as himself.
- Cthulhu is credited as himself in the Calls for Cthulhu sketches.
- Stalkkus is credited as himself in the Godzilla Fan Film Godzilla vs the Kaiju Killer
- Episode 2 of The Dr. Steel Show credits Hamster 65 as himself.
- Everyone on Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Movie was listed "as him/herself" in the credits, including Kaiba's ego, Tristan's voice and Mai's breasts. Except Mokuba, he was listed as "Not in the movie".
- A credits gag in Dangeresque 1: Dangeresque, Too? has the character of Killingyouguy played by "himself" (actually, in-universe, he's played by Strong Mad).
- Whatever Happened to Robot Jones? listed Robot Jones as himself. In this case however he really WAS voiced by a computer for much of the series.
- In Eloise: The Animated Series, Eloise was always billed "as herself", although a child actress' actual name was Mary Matilyn Mouser.
- His credit did revert to the human actor upon recasting (or, in this case, casting).
- Thomas and the Magic Railroad ends its opening billings with "And Thomas The Tank Engine" (although voice actors are listed in the end credits). The same thing was done with in Shining Time Station, previously.
- Megas XLR Goat is listed in the end credits as being voiced by Himself.