vulture festival 2021

Wayne Knight, Jane Curtin, and Will Forte Crashed the 3rd Rock From the Sun Reunion

Photo: Rich Fury/Getty Images for Vulture

Nineties prime time audiences couldn’t get enough of 3rd Rock From the Sun’s Solomons, an awkward brood of E.T. Earth tourists trapped in human bodies. The sitcom mined big laughs from the visitors’ struggles to make sense of the illogical and unpredictable human emotions suddenly foisted upon them. The cast, on the other hand, were deep in their feelings and effusive with love for one another when they reunited this weekend at Vulture Fest.

In honor of the show’s 25th anniversary, John Lithgow, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Kristen Johnston, and French Stewart sat down for a panel discussion about their favorite moments, what made them break, and in JGL’s case, how Lithgow’s enthusiasm at table reads ruined all future reads for him. Mostly, the old friends hugged, gushed about each others’ talent, and praised the show’s exemplary work environment.

No reunion of this magnitude would be complete without a few surprises. It started with Wayne Knight popping up from the back of the room to thunderous applause from the audience.

Photo: Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Vulture

The glaring omission from the dais was addressed shortly thereafter with another bonus guest: Jane Curtin, joining the group via Zoom.

Photo: Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Vulture

Other special appearances included a video greeting from Will Forte, who wrote on the show early in his career.

Then, while the cast was sharing which props and wardrobe they’d stolen from the set, Stewart surprised the audience by revealing he’d brought his character’s iconic furry coat with him to the event.

Photo: Rich Fury/Getty Images for Vulture

During a particularly sweet moment, JGL announced that he’d also brought a surprise item with him. Rather than a purloined prop, he held up a CD of the Pixies’ Doolittle, a gift Stewart had given him for his 15th birthday. Gordon-Levitt credits this disc as his first exposure to the band and went on to explain how it directly led to him singing “Here Comes Your Man” in the karaoke scene of 500 Days of Summer.

After the reminiscing, the group closed out the panel by trying to imagine what issues of modernity the Solomons would struggle with were the show rebooted today. After some collective chin scratching, Knight called out the issue.

“Society’s gotten too bizarre,” he sighed. “You couldn’t satirize it today.”

Wayne Knight Crashed the 3rd Rock From the Sun Reunion