Cameos have become a fun and expected trope in almost all new movies and shows. It's a visual shorthand joke; a quick wink to the audience. We have an already established relationship with this celebrity and now the juxtaposition of their appearance in the fictional world we were in the middle of is making a statement. Or the fact that there's just a bunch of cameos is funny by itself. See the later Austin Powers movies.
But not all cameos are created equal. While most are pop culture celebrities dropping by a friend's film set or the hot act of the day, there are some people that could qualify as legitimate historic figures: novelists, philosophers, film legends, members of all time great bands, actual royalty. This is what happens when cameos gets to the big leagues and historic names come to play.
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