"It was my first guest-starring role on a TV show," Mowry says of his brief appearance in a 1990 episode of Who's the Boss?, in which he posed as Billy, the (white) neighbor of Tony Danza's character. "I remember I only had one line, and I was very aware that I was working. Like, I was so young, but I knew that it was a real job. Before that, I'd only done commercials." (Needless to say, no one was fooled.)
Easily his most iconic role to date, Full House's Teddy will always remain a personal favorite of Mowry's because, as he says, "It's where my sitcom life really started." He finds that, more than any other show, younger audiences are now discovering his work as Michelle's best friend on the family sitcom — including the son of his Baby Daddy co-star Melissa Peterman. "He's about six or seven, and he always freaks out when he sees me. He knows me as Teddy and doesn't understand why I look so much older in real life."
Mowry guest-starred on three episodes of his sisters' hit sitcom in 1994, 1995 and 1997… only he never played the same character twice. "It was ridiculous," he says in retrospect, "but I think people were OK with it. … One of them was a Christmas episode where I played a random kid waiting for Santa at the mall. I feel like they just didn't have enough time to do a casting call, so they were like, 'Yo, Tahj! Come on by!'"
"You wouldn't believe how many texts I get from people whenever that episode comes on," Mowry says, referring to his post-Superbowl guest appearance on Friends in 1996. And get this: "Our Baby Daddy director Michael Lembeck directed that episode of Friends, so he still says I helped him win an Emmy. I'm like, 'Sure, Michael, you're welcome!'" Mowry didn't realize what a huge deal it was to sit on Central Perk's iconic orange couch at the time, but says he's fully aware of the gravity now.
"You'd be surprised how often I hear someone's ringtone go off and it's the Kim Possible watch noise," says Mowry, who voiced genius recluse Wade Load on the Disney Channel animated series from 2002 to 2007. "I just shoot them an awkward look, like, 'Oh no, are they going to see me?'" As for his character's suggestive name, Mowry confirms, "It is a fat joke, which is great, because it's Disney Channel. So, yes, I played the fat African-American on Kim Possible. People are always like, 'Who did you play?' and I'm just like, 'Who do you think?' … Wade didn't come out of his room a lot, but there were a few episodes where he ventured out, and those were my favorites."
Don't feel bad if you didn't understand half of the words spoken by Mowry's whiz-kid character on Smart Guy — neither did he! "I remember reading a lot of dictionaries while I was on that show," he recalls. "I learned so many big words, none of which I remember now." Still, Mowry says he'll always be grateful for the series, which ran from 1997 to 1999 on The WB. “Smart Guy will always be one of my favorite jobs ever," he says. "That was my main thing growing up, and I'm so thankful for the opportunity." (Getting to work with Beyoncé [pictured] in a 1998 episode certainly didn't hurt.)
"This was my first [on-camera] job back from a little hiatus I took," Mowry says of his 2007 guest appearance on the ABC drama, in which his hard-partying character mistook Teri Hatcher's (pregnant) Susan for a stripper. "I had taken time off to live a normal life, and suddenly I'm playing this drunk kid. It was like, 'Hey, guys! Look at me, I'm older now!'"
Though it "wasn't too much of a stretch" recurring as the brother of his real-life sister Tia on BET's The Game, Mowry says it was a little strange upon his later appearances, once the show switched from a multi-cam comedy to a single-cam drama. "I was like, 'Wait, what's going on?'" he admits. Still, the show's drastic format change has given him a few ideas for Baby Daddy's future. "We always joke on our set that we should become a drama," he says. "We'd just put in a bunch of crying scenes for no reason."