CREDIT: Scott Garfield/Netflix

I’d been meaning to watch Mascots for a while ever since it arrived on Netflix in 2016. Christopher Guest’s mockumentaries represent one of the most significant trends in American comedy, after all, so I need to stay on the up-and-up. So on May 16, 2020, I decided that it would finally be the day. And then after that personal resolution, I heard the news of Fred Willard’s passing. And well, I had no choice at that point. It was almost as if Willard himself had left me a note saying, “If I die, please have fun by watching this.” He seemed like the sort of guy who would leave behind such a message. Thanks for the laughs, Fred!

CREDIT: Scott Garfield/Netflix

So now that I’ve watched, I’ve decided to rank several of the main actors by how much their acting embodies the spirit of mascots, which consists of a mischievous mix of adorable and devious, plus a dash of uncanny valley. My evaluations are based mostly on Mascots, with some consideration given towards their performances in other Guest films (where applicable):

Unranked. Christopher Guest: He reprises his Waiting for Guffman role, Corky St. Clair, who seems more like a cousin to the mascot world rather than a fully costumed member.
10. Don Lake: He appreciates the mascot world, but he’s too straitlaced to become one himself.
9. Jane Lynch: As one of the judges, she gives off vibes more akin to an assistant coach or an athletic director.
8. Zach Woods: He puts in the effort, but he’s too distracted by other pursuits.
7. Susan Yeagley: It feels like she unwittingly falls into the game, but dang if she doesn’t pull it off.
6. Chris O’Dowd: His energy is a little bit more violent than you usually want in a mascot, but if you can wrangle it safely, kids can appreciate that edge.
5. Christopher Moynihan: He gives off the vibe of the mascot that kids accidentally see out of costume. Which is an important part of the mascot milieu.
4. Ed Begley, Jr.: Deceptively near-normal. He seems like an ideal straight man until you take another look and realize that he surely puts in plenty of quality hours as a workaday mascot.
Sarah Baker: The melancholy side of mascots is strong with this one.
3. Tom Bennett: There’s a reason Sid the Hedgehog goes all the way.
2. Fred Willard: Not many actors could remain thoroughly lovable while playing someone who’s a little too patronizing while joking around with a little person. Anyway, Willard’s aura is that of someone whom you can turn into a mascot by just slapping a bowtie on him.
1. Parker Posey: She’s a little sloppy and plenty open-hearted. I think she needs that mascot costume more than anyone else to contain all those messy human emotions.