10 Famous Figures Who Would Make Excellent Dinner Guests

By: Jim Halden

It’s a classic question, often asked at chill hangouts between friends, office parties and even in the classroom, on occasion: Which historical figure, if given the opportunity, would make for the most interesting dinner guest? It’s an endlessly fascinating opinion, and one that’s sure to gather a wide variety of answers from most every individual present. We here at Goliath wanted to take a stab at it, and with that in mind we’ve brought together ten individuals we think would make for excellent dinner guests. Now, some are alive and some have passed on, but in this fictional scenario we’re going to let that slide; moreover, we’ve found most people include an obligatory Socrates or Albert Einstein when answering, and we’ve done no such thing, instead veering towards more contemporary (although some older) answers.


10. Joan Jett

There was a plurality of female musicians we could’ve chosen here; we could’ve went with Billie Holliday or Janis Joplin, Stevie Nicks or Debbie Harry. We’ve chosen Joan Jett, of the Runaways and The Blackhearts fame, simply because we feel like she’d have the best stories. Jett, who rose to prominence in the mid 1970s with the Runaways, eventually moved to New York and continued to make noise (pun intended) in the rock and roll scene, eventually joining forces with The Blackhearts so as to create some really classic rock and roll tunes. Best known for tracks like “I Love Rock and Roll,” Jett would make a fascinating dinner guest; who doesn’t like to listen to stories about rock and roll? Most importantly, she’d bring a feminine perspective on a traditionally male dominated genre, a welcome addition to any intelligent conversation.

9. Bill Clinton

A man so destined for the White House his middle name is Jefferson (seriously), we here at Goliath think good old Bill would make for an endlessly entertaining dinner guest. Looking beyond that Southern charm and the instantly recognizable dusty Arkansas accent, the former President of the United States would definitely make for some interesting conversation; whether it was in regards to his time as the Governor of Arkansas, or his excellent tenure as President (philandering aside, the man did incredible things for the United States, most of which has been undone at this point), or even his eventual impeachment, it’d be wildly entertaining to listen to some of the stories Mr. Clinton has accumulated over the years. Of course, you could get ahold of those stories simply by reading his massive autobiography, My Life, but of course then you’d miss out on that voice we just finished making a fuss about.

8. Keith Richards

Fresh off the release of his new Netflix documentary, Keith Richards: Under the Influence, we couldn’t help but include the king of rock and roll guitar riffs on this list. You’d have to keep an eye on him during the party, though; this wily old rocker has a habit of finding his way into some trouble, and we sure don’t want any of that nasty business happening at our dinner party! Richards, who is known throughout the world of rock and roll as an interesting (if odd) sort of fellow, would undoubtedly have a bevy of stories to tell…after all, he’s been the writer of some of the most iconic and recognizable guitar riffs of all time, and The Rolling Stones have endured one of the longest stretches of success any creative endeavour could hope for (although there was a brief period in the late 1980s where success may not’ve been the right word…).

7. Jon Stewart

Maybe we’re just experiencing withdrawal symptoms now that The Daily Show with Jon Stewart has come to a much celebrated end; even if that’s not the case, we’re having a tough time finding a reason we wouldn’t want to have dinner with Jon Stewart, the comedian, actor and social commentator whose vitriolic lampooning of the inconsistencies in American culture and politics led him to become the most trusted man in the media, an interesting paradox considering he’s never once claimed to be a reporter of any kind. Stewart, who took The Daily Show from a little watched variety show and turned it into one of the most followed and passionately defended liberal programs in America, wouldn’t even have to try to entertain at our fictional dinner party; we’re just assuming that his honesty, wit and talent for satire would be enough to justify his place at the table.


6. Katharine Hepburn

We’re reaching back a little bit to select the next woman on our list, and we’ve chosen an actress who went by the name of Hepburn to occupy a spot at the table. No, it’s not Audrey…we’ve chosen Katharine Hepburn, whose iconic film roles and legendary wit and fire would be sure to spice up the conversation a little. The actress, best known for her four Best Actress Oscars and her zesty and progressive personality, became famous with films like The African Queen and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? and was the recipient of an incredible 12 Academy Award nominations. More importantly, she is often recognized as one of the most independent and confident women of her era, helping to break the mold of female domesticity and pushing forward feminist ideals by consistently breaking conventions.

5. Robin Williams

This one’s going to hit us right in the feels, but we wouldn’t feel right making a list like this without including the late comedian, whose recent passing left the world in shock. Robin Williams, the actor whose films touched the lives of most everyone in the Western world, would absolutely be welcome at any dinner party we’re going to throw; his incredible stand up comedy routines, along with the innumerable classic films he was part of, would have more than earned him a place at our table. It’s the more sombre side of his person, however, evident in much of his work, that we’d also like to explore in conversations with the comedian. Regardless of whether you were getting Mrs. Doubtfire Robin Williams or Good Will Hunting Robin Williams, he’s one man whose energy and exuberance would make him the life of the party.

4. Hunter S. Thompson

We’ve gone and made a mistake, you see, by inviting Keith Richards and Hunter S. Thompson to the same dinner party; there’s no conceivable scenario where this ends well, folks. The king of all troublemakers, Thompson was a journalist and author whose best known for works like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Hells Angels, examples of his trademark “gonzo” journalism wherein the journalist becomes an active part of the story (objectivity be damned!). A man who often oscillated between deranged lunatic and intimate, articulate social commentator, Thompson’s antics and insight would be sure to entertain and enlighten so long as you were able to keep the notorious party animal sitting long enough to hold a conversation. Just don’t get him talking about Nixon, alright?

3. Gertrude Stein

We’re reaching way back into the annals of history again, this time even further than Katherine Hepburn to invite the literary innovator Gertrude Stein to our humble little dinner party. One of the preeminent writers of the Modernist period, Stein left America and spent most of her life living in Paris during its incredibly fruitful creative period in the early 20th century. The woman who coined the term “Lost Generation” to describe her cohorts such as Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Stein was an accomplished writer in her own right and is often looked upon as one of the earliest experimenters of the Modernist form. We’re sure that she’d have plenty of incredible stories from her time in Paris, and we’d also pay good money to hear what it was like to go out and have a round of beers with legendary authors like Fitzgerald and Hemingway. Plus, she got to hang out with Picasso. Can you imagine hearing those stories?

2. Paul McCartney

You had to know we weren’t getting through list this without including a Beatle, and at that point the real question becomes…which one do you invite? We’re big fans of George Harrison, who did some of the most impressive songwriting in the history of the Beatles, but we can’t rightly invite old George. Lennon? Too snooty, and we’re betting he’d bring Yoko along with him. But Sir Paul? Well, we can get on board with Sir Paul. One of the most celebrated musicians and songwriters of all time, Paul McCartney is also an active philanthropist and a man we can’t rightly imagine a dinner party of this magnitude without. He’d have stories of rock and roll, sure; stories of travel, stories of songs and stories of The Beatles. There’s really nothing we can think of that we’d feel remiss listening to Mr. McCartney talk about, and that’s why he’s all the way up here at number two on our list of legendary dinner guests.


1. Bill Murray

Bill &#@%@$& Murray. We don’t feel like the man needs much more an introduction than that, but we’ll do our best. The legendary actor and comedian has a reputation as one of the most interesting and unpredictable men in the world, and his antics range from showing up unexpectedly at college parties to pouring shots of tequila with the Wu-Tang Clan. Rest assured, no matter where Mr. Murray is, there’s something interesting going on. He could regale the party with funny stories of his time on SNL; he could engage in deep conversations about the nature of existence and working with Wes Anderson; hell, he could even tell us funny stories about stealing the French fries right off of people’s plates. Whatever Bill is saying, we’re listening, and that’s why he’s the number one guest we’d like to sit down to have dinner with.