Celebrity Goo Game has changed a lot since it began in February 1998. The twenty goos in this theme recreate the twenty most impactful and game-changing goos from the last two decades, in order of their influence. Happy anniversary, goo game!



LL Cool J

publication date: Friday, February 23, 2018

category: Music

clue: This rapper was known for rocking the bells and knocking you out like Mama said, until he decided to go back to Cali to join the Naval Criminal Investigative Service in Los Angeles.

explanation: LL Cool J's hits include "Rock the Bells," "Mama Said Knock You Out," and "Going Back to Cali." He stars in NCIS: Los Angeles. more…

difficulty: very easy

solved by: Russ Wilhelm, Samir Mehta, Chris Lemler, Matthew Preston, Richard Slominsky, and Lori Lancaster

player landmarks: This was the last goo solved by Lori Lancaster.

trivia: LL Cool J (1998) was the very first celebrity goo, setting a template that all other goos have followed ever since. Like those of many goos in the early game, its clue relied on euphemisms rather than being straightforward with its hints, but otherwise it still resembles a modern goo when considered twenty years later. I originally regarded this goo as a poor choice to have been first, because LL Cool J at the time did not seem sufficiently famous (a few people struggled to recognize him), but Celebrity Goo Game has had to rely on far more obscure "celebrities" in order to produce some of the 4,266 goos to date. Looking back now on the game's twentieth anniversary, it seems like the perfect place to have begun. –Scott Hardie


Aaron Burr

publication date: Thursday, February 22, 2018

category: Government

clue: A mouthful of peanut butter might make it hard to pronounce the name of this early vice president and $10 assassin.

explanation: Vice-president under Thomas Jefferson, Burr killed Alexander Hamilton (who appears on the $10 bill) in a duel. A milk commercial in the 1990s made light of the difficulty of pronouncing "Aaron Burr" with a mouthful of peanut butter. more…

difficulty: medium

solved by: Russ Wilhelm, Samir Mehta, Chris Lemler, Matthew Preston, and Erik Bates

trivia: Aaron Burr (2005), a goo created by player Jackie Mason, saved the game from extinction. Celebrity Goo Game was inspired by Kai's Power Goo, a Windows 95 program that turned photographs into playful caricatures (and gave the game the word "goo"). The early game was utterly dependent on Kai's Power Goo. I had installed a Javascript tool called QGoo on the site that let players make their own versions of goos for fun, and used it myself to make a few goos in a pinch when I had computer trouble, but it was never my expectation that other software could permanently replace Kai's Power Goo's role in the game. By using Adobe Photoshop to create her goo of Aaron Burr, Jackie proved that it was possible to make "goos" with non-goo programs, and soon after that, it became necessary: Newer generations of computers were unable to run Kai's Power Goo, and the game would have been forced to end if Jackie had not redefined the concept of what a "goo" could be. –Scott Hardie


Penélope Cruz

publication date: Wednesday, February 21, 2018

category: Movies

clue: It would blow not to cruise to victory after a long winter season. Talk about an eye-opening disappointment.

explanation: Cruz starred in Blow and Open Your Eyes. more…

difficulty: medium

solved by: Russ Wilhelm, Samir Mehta, LaVonne Lemler, Chris Lemler, Matthew Preston, Erik Bates, and Lori Lancaster

trivia: Penélope Cruz (2004) was the first goo of the Goo World Tour, an event spanning the entirety of Round XXII, in which each goo came from a different country in geographical sequence around the globe. This event was so popular that it inspired week-long and month-long "themes" of goos that fit a shared concept (not to mention several more world tours). Some themes were inspired by goos, but much more often it was the other way around, with the idea of a shared theme inspiring most of the specific goos within it. 1,525 themed goos have been created to date, over a third of the entire game! Besides that, the Cruz goo has another smaller legacy: Thirty people played it in the first day alone, thanks to hype about the upcoming world tour, making it a landmark event in the game's early growth. –Scott Hardie


Yul Brynner

publication date: Tuesday, February 20, 2018

category: Movies

clue: He's been both a Siamese king and a robot gunslinger. Who's the pharaoh?

explanation: Brynner starred in The King and I, Westworld, and The Ten Commandments. more…

difficulty: medium

solved by: Russ Wilhelm, Samir Mehta, LaVonne Lemler, Chris Lemler, Matthew Preston, Richard Slominsky, and Lori Lancaster

trivia: Yul Brynner (2001) was the very first goo created by a player, Kelly Hardie. Prior to this, some goos had been inspired by players' interests, and all of Round XIII was dedicated to goos like that. But Round XIV took the idea a step further, letting players create the goos themselves by submitting names and clues to me. Brynner was the first to publish (Kelly submitted hers first), and its inclusion in this theme represents all of the goos of that round. The player-created goos were so much fun that player Dan Donovan suggested that the game permanently incorporate them. Since then, they've made up roughly 15% of all goos and been a major part of the game experience. –Scott Hardie


Elián González

publication date: Monday, February 19, 2018

category: Controversy

clue: This turn-of-the-century Cuban refugee is not a boy any more.

difficulty: easy

solved by: Russ Wilhelm, Samir Mehta, LaVonne Lemler, Chris Lemler, Matthew Preston, Richard Slominsky, Erik Bates, and Lori Lancaster

trivia: Two and a half years into the game, Elián González (2000) became the first of a major trend that would sustain the game thereafter: People from current events in the news, who were previously not famous and did not come from traditional fields of fame like television, movies, music, sports, and so on. In fact, González was the very first person to become a goo who was not already famous and well-known before the game started. In the early days there were countless famous people to turn into goos, but over the years, the game thoroughly mined the traditional celebrities and came to rely more and more on overnight newsmakers like González, ordinary people who made headlines just long enough to support a single goo before they were mostly forgotten. –Scott Hardie


Shia LaBeouf

publication date: Sunday, February 18, 2018

category: Movies

clue: He's too "shy" to talk about how starring in Eagle Eye transformed his career.

difficulty: easy

solved by: Russ Wilhelm, Samir Mehta, LaVonne Lemler, Chris Lemler, Matthew Preston, Richard Slominsky, Erik Bates, and Lori Lancaster

trivia: Sometimes the game's evolution was deliberate, but in this case it was a simple but important accident: Shia LaBeouf (2008) was the first goo of someone who had already been a goo, after I completely forgot about the first LaBeouf goo the year before. Prior to this, I had insisted that every celebrity only appear once in the game, and had in fact rejected some pretty good ideas for goos and themes because they would have broken this arbitrary rule. When the LaBeouf accident happened and Russ Wilhelm pointed it out, I decided on the spot to abandon the old policy, liberating the game to reuse famous people, something that became more and more necessary as the goo count grew into the thousands. –Scott Hardie


Ben Carson

publication date: Saturday, February 17, 2018

category: Government

clue: This brainy doctor was nominated for HUD secretary soon after his Republican rival became president.

difficulty: easy

solved by: Russ Wilhelm, Samir Mehta, Chris Lemler, Matthew Preston, Richard Slominsky, Erik Bates, and Lori Lancaster

trivia: Ben Carson (2015) was the first goo created in ImageMagick, a software library that allowed Funeratic to distort images itself, generating randomized effects that would twist and pull and pinch the images without the aid of an outside program like Photoshop. Carson dominated the news at the time thanks to the presidential election, and I found Carson's name short and easy to type over and over again, so Carson became my guinea pig while testing the form. Hundreds of goos of Carson were made before the work was complete, and I finished off the project with one last "real" goo of Carson. ImageMagick has created almost all goos since. –Scott Hardie


Takehito Koyasu

publication date: Friday, February 16, 2018

category: Music

clue: This imperial performer carries the burden of white hot popularity.

explanation: Koyasu starred in the anime series "Weisskreuz" (German for "White Cross"). One of his best-known roles was Emperor Hotohori from the TV series "Fushigi Yûgi," a narcissistic character. more…

difficulty: very hard

solved by: Russ Wilhelm, Matthew Preston, and Lori Lancaster

trivia: Takehito Koyasu (2003) was the goo that nearly broke the game, forcing permanent changes. Lori Lancaster, a fan of anime, had previously submitted goos of some of her favorite creators and performers of the genre, which non-fans found enormously difficult, due in part to clues that depended on close familiarity with the shows referenced. The Koyasu goo proved to be so tough, and the complaints about it were so specifically mean to Lori as the creator (instead of me who made the choice to publish it), that the game had to change. From this point on, there was usually a ceiling for how difficult and obscure a goo could be, especially a player-created goo, with very rare exceptions where the ceiling was briefly lifted for specific reasons such as tournament tiebreakers. –Scott Hardie


Butch Patrick

publication date: Thursday, February 15, 2018

category: Television

clue: This child actor had monstrous success, but remained less well-known than his on-screen parents.

explanation: Patrick starred in The Munsters. more…

difficulty: medium

solved by: Russ Wilhelm, Samir Mehta, LaVonne Lemler, Chris Lemler, Matthew Preston, Richard Slominsky, Erik Bates, and Lori Lancaster

trivia: Butch Patrick (2017) is less than a year old, and already it is a landmark in the game's history: The first submitted by a player (Steve West) using the new streamlined process for creating goos directly on the site, without forcing me to make parts of the goo myself, and without an extensive process of passing a submission back and forth between the creator and me until it is ready for publication. Other goos were made this way first, but Steve's was the first to publish, and represents them all. The already extensive series of player-created goos that has followed it has significantly changed how the game feels to play. –Scott Hardie


Goldie Hawn

publication date: Wednesday, February 14, 2018

category: Movies

clue: This once-private actress has had golden success since going overboard and becoming dead.

explanation: Hawn starred in Private Benjamin, Overboard, and Death Becomes Her. more…

difficulty: easy

solved by: Russ Wilhelm, Samir Mehta, LaVonne Lemler, Chris Lemler, Matthew Preston, Richard Slominsky, Erik Bates, and Lori Lancaster

trivia: The early days of Celebrity Goo Game were compulsively diverse: I made a point of including a significant number of female and non-white celebrities, and I insisted that each theme contain goos from a variety of categories. When a military veteran asked permission to create seven goos in a "Military History Week" in the game, I obliged the request on one condition, that he adhere to the game's diversity of gender and race and category. The result was a disappointment: The player was forced to submit goos that barely qualified as "military" celebrities, such as Goldie Hawn (2005) for Private Benjamin. After this waste of a good theme and a player's time, I gave up on this idea of forced inclusivity. The game has been better for it. –Scott Hardie


Kikawada Masaya

publication date: Tuesday, February 13, 2018

category: Movies

clue: He's best known for regaining his humanity after receiving a motorcycle, and for his romance with the largest planet.

explanation: Kikawada played an inhuman biker in Kamen Rider: The First and fell in love with Sailor Jupiter in Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon. more…

difficulty: very hard

solved by: Russ Wilhelm, Chris Lemler, and Matthew Preston

trivia: Kikawada Masaya (2005) was a turning point in how I ran the game. In the early days, my attitude was so casual that if a player asked me for the answer after guessing wrong (not wanting to wait for the goo to expire), I would satisfy their curiosity. But when I suspected a pair of players of sharing this information so that one of them could still guess right, I fed one of them a false and barely-plausible "answer" to the very difficult Kikawada goo and watched the other submit it as a guess shortly afterward. When I confronted them, they admitted to cheating and swore not to do it again. I agreed to keep their identities secret, but it was time for changes: After that, I established more boundaries with players and took seriously my role as an impartial arbitrator of the rules when running the game. –Scott Hardie


Long John Silver

publication date: Monday, February 12, 2018

category: Piracy

clue: If you wanted to open a fast-food restaurant named for this fictional pirate, copyright lawyers would say that you don't have a leg to stand on.

explanation: The one-legged Long John Silver of Treasure Island inspired the seafood chain bearing his name. more…

difficulty: easy

solved by: Russ Wilhelm, Samir Mehta, LaVonne Lemler, Chris Lemler, Matthew Preston, Richard Slominsky, Erik Bates, and Lori Lancaster

trivia: Long John Silver (2009) was the very last fictional goo to be published, not counting special exceptions made for a do-over goo and a one-week theme by Matthew Preston. Fictional characters had been a part of the game since Alfred E. Neuman in Round II, but I grew increasingly uncomfortable with their presence over time. This game is supposed to be about famous people, and it's one thing to include long-dead historical figures in that definition, but people who don't actually exist do not belong. After Silver, they would not return. It didn't help that the original Silver goo was riddled with errors, hastening their demise. –Scott Hardie


Don King

publication date: Sunday, February 11, 2018

category: Sports

clue: His hair is almost as famous as the boxers he promotes. Who's the king?

difficulty: very easy

solved by: Russ Wilhelm, Samir Mehta, LaVonne Lemler, Chris Lemler, Matthew Preston, Richard Slominsky, Erik Bates, and Mark VanZorn

trivia: One of the very first goos, Don King (1998), inspired a tradition that continues to this day. I was especially unimaginative when devising a clue and wrote "who's the king?" to hint at his name. Matthew Preston made fun of that lazy clue, and he was right to do so. I decided to make it a tradition every round and season thereafter to ask "who's the king?" again with more celebrities named King, as both a silly tradition and a reminder not to be so lazy again. –Scott Hardie


M. M.

publication date: Saturday, February 10, 2018

category: Crime

clue: "Those who'll play with cats must expect to be scratched." –Miguel de Cervantes

explanation: He made headlines in downstate Illinois in 2008 for strangling his wife's cat. more…

difficulty: very hard

solved by: Russ Wilhelm, Samir Mehta, and Chris Lemler

trivia: The previous version of this goo (2009) was a local "celebrity" at best, having made the police blotter page in the newspaper in Chris Lemler's hometown for being arrested. It didn't help any that the clue was ambiguous; no one could have solved such an obscure goo. Afterwards, I resolved not to publish any more local celebrities as goos, requiring each person to have made national news. This resolve was redoubled when I learned later that Chris personally knew the subject of that goo and had submitted it for ignoble personal reasons. –Scott Hardie


O.J. Simpson

publication date: Friday, February 9, 2018

category: Crime

clue: The controversy over this former running back getting away with murder has yet to run out of juice.

difficulty: very easy

solved by: Russ Wilhelm, Samir Mehta, LaVonne Lemler, Chris Lemler, Matthew Preston, Richard Slominsky, Erik Bates, and Mark VanZorn

trivia: In the early days of the game, certain celebrities kept being submitted as guesses: For technology goos, Bill Gates was frequently guessed, even though he had already been a goo. If it was a television or lifestyle goo, Martha Stewart's name often came up. And if it was a crime goo, O.J. Simpson was usually guessed at least once. Inspired by this, I deliberately made a goo of O.J. Simpson (2002), followed a few weeks later by Martha Stewart. Together these goos began the tradition of "do-over" goos that continues to this day, using incorrect guesses as inspiration. –Scott Hardie


Muhammad Ali

publication date: Thursday, February 8, 2018

category: Sports

clue: Born of Clay, it took this fighter years to shake off charges of dodging the draft.

explanation: Ali, born Cassius Clay, was famously a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War. more…

difficulty: very easy

solved by: Russ Wilhelm, Samir Mehta, LaVonne Lemler, Chris Lemler, Matthew Preston, Richard Slominsky, Erik Bates, Lori Lancaster, and Mark VanZorn

player landmarks: This was the first goo solved by Mark VanZorn.

trivia: Muhammad Ali (1998) was a very early goo created in bad taste, turning his Parkinson's disease into a "mover and shaker" joke. From then on, tastelessness became part of the game's DNA. It turned up in many goos like Terri Schiavo and Isadora Duncan and Lisa Lopes, and allowed for an entire "Naked Week" of nude celebrities. Sometimes it happened just because of in-jokes between friends, and sometimes it was merely reflected in choosing unpopular subjects for goos. –Scott Hardie


William Cottrell

publication date: Wednesday, February 7, 2018

category: Crime

clue: Upon his prison release, no one dared to pick him up in a Hummer.

explanation: Cottrell was an environmental activist jailed for destroying eight SUVs and a Hummer dealership. more…

difficulty: hard

solved by: Russ Wilhelm, Samir Mehta, Chris Lemler, Matthew Preston, and Lori Lancaster

trivia: William Cottrell (2011) didn't just cost this website one of its most popular and prolific participants in Ryan Dunn, it also forced permanent rule changes. Prior to this goo, I did my best to resolve mistakes fairly, but this led to inconsistent decisions: Sometimes when I made an error in the goo such as using a photograph of the wrong person, I accepted guesses for that wrong person, and sometimes I didn't accept them because the clue clearly indicated the right person. In this case, William Cottrell the environmental terrorist was the intended answer, but I mistakenly used a photo of Travis Cottrell the Christian singer. I ruled guesses by Ryan and other players wrong, costing them a shot at a tournament victory. Their objections and my regret for the mistake led to the development of the game's Advanced Rules to prevent any such inconsistency from ever happening again. –Scott Hardie


Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen

publication date: Tuesday, February 6, 2018

category: Television

clue: Now very wealthy adults, they have declined invitations back to the overfull sitcom house where they grew up.

difficulty: very easy

multiple: This goo was of multiple famous people. Players were required to guess all names for their answers to be correct.

solved by: Russ Wilhelm, Samir Mehta, Chris Lemler, Matthew Preston, Richard Slominsky, Erik Bates, and Lori Lancaster

trivia: Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen (2012) was the very first official goo to feature multiple people, after some unofficial goos played live at GooCon. This deliberately broke a tradition from the beginning of the game that every goo had to be one single person, allowing for better themes of siblings, spouses, and more duos forever connected to each other in the public consciousness. –Scott Hardie


Imelda Marcos

publication date: Monday, February 5, 2018

category: Family

clue: Was it fair that she was accused of enriching herself while her husband governed the islands? Hey, if the shoe fits...

explanation: Marcos, widow of Filipino president Ferdinand Marcos, was accused of using public funds and leveraging her position in order to acquire vast wealth, including over a thousand pairs of shoes. more…

difficulty: hard

solved by: Russ Wilhelm, Samir Mehta, Chris Lemler, Matthew Preston, Richard Slominsky, Erik Bates, and Lori Lancaster

trivia: Imelda Marcos (1999) was an otherwise unremarkable goo of the notoriously kleptocratic Filipino first lady, but the sole correct guess by Jason Peter Fedorow inspired an award: The "Golden Imelda," a gold-tinted image of the goo, was thereafter awarded to any player who alone solved a difficult goo. The award was eventually renamed to Solo Solution so that its strange origin didn't have to keep being explained years later, though players occasionally still refer to "earning an Imelda" to this day. This goo remains the only one ever to inspire a player achievement or trophy all on its own. –Scott Hardie


Mr. T

publication date: Sunday, February 4, 2018

category: Television

clue: Longtime fans of this on-screen boxer and mercenary must have been thrown for a loop when he gave up his signature gold chains. I pity the goo!

explanation: Mr. T, known for playing a boxer in Rocky III and a mercenary in The A-Team, gave up wearing his gold jewelry after volunteering in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, saying that an ostentatious show of wealth was un-Christlanlike of him. more…

difficulty: very easy

solved by: Russ Wilhelm, Samir Mehta, LaVonne Lemler, Chris Lemler, Matthew Preston, Richard Slominsky, Erik Bates, and Lori Lancaster

trivia: Mr. T (2000) was the 100th goo. At the time, the game only published one goo per week, so reaching #100 felt like a landmark worthy of something special. I was inspired to pick Mr. T because of a silly page about him on my website at the time, and from then on, a tradition began of doing something special for landmark goos: The 200th goo was Kate Winslet (an in-joke that inspired Celebrity Goo Game), the 300th was Kai Krause (creator of Kai's Power Goo), the 900th was Ozzy Osbourne (a callback to the game's early days), the 1000th was Goo, the 2000th was Johnny Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls, the 3000th was Goo Hara, and the 4000th was Guccio Gucci, with other occasional one-off goos like the 666th goo being Anton LaVey. –Scott Hardie


Other Themes in Winter 2018

Hidden Hollywood

Who better to embody the twin masks of comedy and drama than these seven actors, who disappear completely into their most famous roles? Through makeup, prosthetics, and motion capture, these actors are known for creating inhuman characters on the silver screen. You know their work, but you rarely see their faces. Go »