Bradley Cooper Cameos in ‘Abbott Elementary’ to Poke Fun at His Own Oscars Campaign

Bradley Cooper may not have won an Oscar, but he did win a role on “Abbott Elementary.”

The “Maestro” actor stopped by to play himself in the cold open of the “Abbott” episode that aired directly after ABC’s telecast of the 96th Academy Awards. In the scene, a student in Melissa’s (Lisa Ann Walter) class brings Cooper to campus for show and tell.

More from Variety

“Whenever I’m in Philly, you know the deli across the street? That’s my first stop,” the Pennsylvania native says. “My dad used to always take me there. They have the best hoagies in the city.” His second grade friend retorts, “Everybody wanted to take a picture with him, so I figured he was famous.”

In an email, series creator and star Quinta Brunson said, “Bradley was actually incredible. He had a hectic schedule, of course, but was as eager to make it work as we were. We talked about the best creative way to have him join us for a cold open. Since he’s a local (to Philly) it was easy to imagine he was visiting his favorite deli. Besides that, he was lovely on set. Super kind and cool to the cast, crew and kids. He walked down to meet the crew before it was even time for him to film. It was awesome, and it was a joy to act with him.”

Though the scene was obviously taped well before the Oscars, it doesn’t seem the “Abbott Elementary” writers were predicting a win for Cooper. Instead, the scene allowed him a humorously self-deprecrating moment on the heels of his much-talked about awards season campaign.

“Oh, I just loved you in ‘The Holdovers.’ It was just so heartwarming,” says Barbara (Sheryl Lee Ralph).

“It’s ‘The Hangover,’ and no it’s not,” Gregory (Tyler James Williams) corrects.

“Guys, he’s literally in a critically acclaimed film right now,” Janine (Brunson) says, before Melissa adds, “Mhm, ‘Oppenheimer.'”

“Is that the one about Napoleon?” asks Mr. Johnson (William Stanford Davis).

“I wasn’t in ‘Oppenheimer,'” Cooper says. Ava (Janelle James) asks, “Are you sure? Everybody was in ‘Oppenheimer.'”

The kids also joined in on the fun: “If you’re famous, are you in ‘Spider-Man’?” one student asks. Another jabs, “Shouldn’t your teeth be whiter?” Cooper replies, “They should, but I can’t whiten them because they’re too sensitive.”

Cooper was nominated for the lead actor Oscar for playing legendary composer Leonard Bernstein in Netflix’s “Maestro,” which he also wrote, directed and produced. The film also received nods for best picture, lead actress, original screenplay, makeup and hairstyling, cinematography and sound, but didn’t take home any awards on Sunday.

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.