The year was 1982. Carrie Fisher, still in her mid-twenties, had already banked the first two Star Wars movies and played a trigger-happy bride in The Blues Brothers; Return of the Jedi would premiere the following year. On November 9, she appeared on the beloved sitcom Laverne & Shirley opposite the titular Laverne. By then Shirley, aka Cindy Williams, had left the show, forcing the producers to throw in one-off parts like Fisher’s. Laverne & Shirley would go off the air early the following year. But meanwhile, Fisher and another major notable would stroll into a single episode—one directed by Michael McKean, who played Lenny in the show and is adored by metalheads everywhere as Spinal Tap’s David St. Hubbins.
“The Playboy Show,” as the episode is helpfully named, features the two women donning bunny suits and competing for a spot in “the hutch.” Enter Hugh Hefner, playing himself and doing an excellent job of keeping a straight face as Fisher almost sets him on fire and Penny Marshall uses her bunny tail to sop up spilled milk.
It’s a sweet double cameo, all the more remarkable considering that it features two of the biggest stars of our time—Hef and Princess Leia!—and neither shows any interest in chewing the scenery or winking at the camera. For Fisher devotees, it’s yet another example of her natural grace and her gift for physical comedy.
Of couse, we’re all still reeling from the shock of her passing. As we said last month, that level of talent doesn’t come along every day. All we can do is remain grateful for the wealth of work she left behind—from the indelible classics to the countless buried treasures, like this one.