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100 Best Comedy Characters Currently On Television (90-81)

March 2, 2012

The second part of the countdown as we run down numbers 90-81.

90. Dr. Leo Spaceman (30 Rock)

A walking malpractice suit waiting to happen, Dr. Leo Spaceman (pronounced Spa-che-men) is the resident physician for the characters on 30 Rock.  Incompetent, somewhat illiterate, and typically irreverent, Dr. Spaceman fits the world of 30 Rock perfectly, even if he typically does more harm than good.

89. Tammy Swanson 1 & Tammy Swanson 2 (Parks and Recreation)

Ron Swanson’s two ex-wives, both named Tammy, are among the strongest guest characters on one of the most hilarious shows on television.  Tammy 1 is an IRS agent and is able to turn Ron into a clean shaven wimp, a near-impossible task.  Tammy 2 works for the library and has the ability to turn Ron into a sex-crazed, Tiger-Woods-red-shirt-wearing machine.  You know you are in for a great episode of Parks & Rec whenever either one shows up.

88.  Darryl Philbin (The Office)

Darryl has turned from one of the least utilized characters on The Office into a prominent role in a season that many would say has lacked continuity and direction.  Always great for a subtle one-liner, Darryl is one of the few employees at Dunder-Mifflin who seems to have his act together and he is a great straight man to all the wackiness surrounding him.  Hopefully the writers can continue to develop him into a more interesting character.

87. Devon Banks (30 Rock)

The nemesis of Jack Donaghy, Devon Banks was an executive at GE competing with Jack for promotions and admiration from their boss, Don Geiss.  Devon will do whatever it takes to succeed, as he even went so far as to propose to Kathy Geiss, Don’s daughter, in spite of the fact that he is gay.  Now retired so he can raise his children, Devon still appears on 30 Rock every so often, and it’s always great when he does.  (I know I said I don’t watch Up All Night, but did you think I wouldn’t find some way to work Will Arnett on this list? COME ON!)

86. Jean-Ralphio Saperstein (Parks and Recreation)

Tom Haverford’s best friend, Jean-Ralphio is the amalgamation of every annoying person you’ve ever known.  Over-confident, dumb, with no self-monitoring instinct, Jean-Ralphio helped found Entertainment 720 after he got run over by a Lexus, which inevitably failed after a few episodes.  Always good for saying something outlandish and for daggering ladies on the dance floor.  To his credit, he takes rejection and failure quite well, and is never down for too long.  Even though E-720 failed, I’m sure he will be back again, and will be  “flushed with cash!”

85. Principal Seymour Skinner (The Simpsons)

One of the many nemeses of Bart Simpson, Principal Skinner is the sad-sack in charge of Springfield Elementary School.  He is a strict disciplinarian, but his efforts are constantly undermined, due to lack of funds, Bart’s constant pranks, and even his own mother.  Surrounded by indifference, he tries his hardest to make the elementary school on The Simpsons a pinnacle of learning, but more often than not, he comes up short.

84. Moe Szyslak (The Simpsons)

The bartender of Moe’s Tavern, Moe is a constant source of ridicule, both from his patrons and from Bart Simpson’s prank phone calls.  Essentially the definition of a shady character, Moe has been a constant source of inspiration for Simpsons writers when they want to focus on characters outside the family.  Moe has provided some of the biggest laughs of the show, and he has also provided Homer and friends with the alcohol necessary for some more of the biggest laughs of the show.

83.  What Up With That? (Saturday Night Live)

What Up With That? is an utterly ridiculous skit on Saturday Night Live that takes the typical talk show skit format, and does away with any of the pretense of needing to talk to the guests on the show.  Host Deandre Cole (Kenan Thompson) will interrupt his guests and break out into a song and dance number for the majority of the skit.  So many small things work so well in this skit: Jason Sudeikis dancing in a red jumpsuit, Bill Hader as a silent Lindsey Buckingham, and the big name guest stars who get almost nothing to do.  This skit probably shouldn’t work, but the absurdity of it makes me laugh every time they do it.

82. Cyril Figgis (Archer)

Cyril Figgis was a numbers man at ISIS, until this season placed him as an active field agent.  Generally relegated to being the straight man to his wilder Archer co-stars, Cyril has been known to act wild as well, as the character was a sex addict earlier in the show.  In a cast of crazy characters, Cyril is good for keeping the show grounded in reality, or at least as closely as a show like Archer can be grounded in reality.

81. Claire Dunphy (Modern Family)

Claire, the matriarch of the Dunphy family, is the character that should be the most normal in her family, but because she is surrounded by craziness, it has turned her crazy as well.  She borders on shrill, and is definitely one to make a mountain out of a molehill, but she always has her family’s best interest at heart.  She has one of the dryer senses of humor of the show’s characters, and is great for an under-her-breath aside.  When she gets other stuff to do, she can be hilarious, but, like Manny, the show doesn’t write her enough consistently funny material to rank her higher on the list.

Tune in tomorrow for numbers 80-71.

Hope you liked this post, and I hope you like what else I have to say.


From → Television

  1. I just can’t stand by your ranking of Dr. Leo Spaceman and Jean-Ralphio. They’d honestly be in my top twenty, if not higher.

    • Well, if I was doing it based on a funny line to spoken line ratio, then yes, they would be much higher (as would Creed, and a few others) but I was trying to get some of the “minor” characters out of the way before getting to the “big” characters later in the list.

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