LeVar Burton in Pop Culture: A Retrospective


Happy birthday, Levardis Robert Martyn Burton, Jr.! Whether you know him as Geordi La Forge from Star Trek, as Kunta Kinte from Roots, or as the Reading Rainbow host who kick-started your childhood book binge, you’re probably as thrilled as we are whenever LeVar Burton pops up in your pop culture sphere. Really, who couldn’t relate to Donald Glover’s Community panic attack upon his starstruck introduction to Mr. Burton? Needless to say, he is a master at the art of TV cameos, and to honor his 55th birthday, we’ve gathered a collection of excellent LeVar Burton pop culture appearances after the jump. Oh, and feel free to leave your birthday wishes in the comments. He might not read them, but we will.


In a Season 2 episode of Community, something marvelous happens — Troy gets an unexpected visit from his idol. Hilarity ensues as he has a mental breakdown, screaming that he only wanted LeVar’s signed picture; you can’t disappoint a picture. In related news, if you’ve been worrying about bringing kids into a world without Troy’s beloved Reading Rainbow, have no fear — Burton’s impending RRKidz app will bring sky-bound butterflies to an iPad near you.

Cameo — “Word Up!”

In the 1986 “Word Up!” music video, LeVar plays a determined police detective with a plan to bust the law-breaking grooves of Cameo. Alas, he ends up handcuffed to a hot babe at an impeccably choreographed rave. Don’t you hate when that happens?

Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!

Adult Swim phenomenon Tim and Eric is no stranger to celebrity cameos. So, naturally, the comedy duo recruited the best in the business for their ridiculous “Little Dancing Man” sketch (not to be confused with “Tiny Danson Man,” which is severely lacking in the LeVar department — er, LeVartment?).

The Big Bang Theory

The worst is when LeVar Burton walks in on your karaoke rendition of “Walking on Sunshine” and subsequently decides to forgo your friendship. Luckily, The Big Bang Theory isn’t real life, and we will continue to tweet him until he comes to a Flavorpill karaoke party. Please?

Family Guy

Here’s a quick appearance of the Star Trek: The Next Generation gang on an episode of Family Guy. Looking spiffy in cartoon form, eh?

The Soup

When Rich, Aaron, Michael, and Bryan from Mad Men showed up on The Soup set, the gentlemen explained that they were only there to wait for a special friend. Guess who?

The Weakest Link

Last but not least, here’s LeVar on The Weakest Link, Trekkie edition. Skip to the 13-minute mark to see who was deemed Star Trek‘s strongest link. Hint: Today is his birthday.