Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce will be a guest star in “Moonbase 8,” which will premiere on the Showtime cable network this Sunday.
The series joins other recent cable comedies like “Space Force” and “Avenue 5,” finding laughs by imagining a world in which space travel is an everyday occurrence — and in which garden-variety incompetents are part of the journey.
The series stars veteran comedy actors John C. Reilly as Robert “Cap” Caputo, Fred Armisen as Dr. Michael “Skip” Henai and Time Heidecker as Scott “Rook” Sloan. As the show begins, these three astronauts-in-training have been isolated in one of many NASA moon base simulators in the Arizona desert for more than 200 days, hoping they’ll be selected to become occupants of NASA’s new permanent Moon outpost.
Bu somehow, they never do. One of the show’s running jokes is that an additional trainee joins the three characters for an episode — and is then almost immediately chosen for Moon duty, leaving the three wannabes behind in the simulator.
This is where Kelce comes in. In the series premiere, he plays himself — a famous athlete NASA has chosen for space duty.
“Though Kelce is actually quite funny,” said The Ringer’s Miles Surrey in his review of the show, “he’s very mean to John C. Reilly, which should be a criminal offense.” In her review for The AV Club, Danette Chavez said that Kelce’s character “throws his weight around like they’re already on the moon,” and that “Kelce’s presence is tantamount to stunt casting (by NASA, not Showtime), but even he quickly finds himself out of his depth” — presumably as an astronaut, not an actor.
The original six episodes of the series were produced before the coronavirus pandemic began. But because of it, audiences may find themselves attracted to this show about three people forced into isolation — and can find no way to get out of it.
For his acting debut, portraying himself might not have been the greatest challenge Kelce could have chosen. But he told People magazine that it was a “dream” to work with Reilly, Amisen and Heidecker — who, along with series director Jonathan Krisel, share writing credits on the show.
Kelce says the actors even gave him “pointers here and there” during their time together on set.
“They saw it in me that I was in uncharted territory. I had never been in a scene trying to portray a certain image like that on camera,” he says of playing the bossy astronaut character.
Adding, “It was a real eye-opener for me.”
The series will premiere on Showtime at 10 p.m. (Arrowhead Time) Sunday.