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100 Best Comedy Characters Currently On Television (40-31)

March 19, 2012

Here is the next part of the countdown, going from number 40 to 31.
40. Ned Flanders (The Simpsons)

The longtime next-door neighbor of the Simpson family, Ned Flanders may be the nicest, most forgiving person in Springfield, which makes him an odd character in the context of a show built on violent and selfish characters.  However, his cheery persona and his unnecessary takes on words (Ok turns into Okilly Dokilly) are almost always good for a laugh from me.  The death of his wife Maude also gave the show one of its most emotional story lines, which are fairly rare on the show, but it allowed the character to grow as a single father and keep his optimism and faith in later years of the show.  While always a character with good intentions, the show seems to comment on how he should be out of place in Springfield with Homer’s typical commentary: Stupid Flanders.

39. Dwight Schrute (The Office)

Dwight Schrute, the long time Assistant to the Regional Manager, has provided The Office with some of it’s biggest laughs.  The Tom to Jim’s Jerry, Dwight is an ambitious salesman who is constantly undermined by indifferent or inept co-workers, and he is not above getting rid of all of them.  He has suffered a bit this season (as have all the characters that work for Dunder Mifflin) without the presence of Michael Scott, but because the relationship between those two was one of the more multifaceted relationships on the show, Dwight has been searching for direction this season, often becoming a blind antagonist to his co-workers.  However, when the show gives Rainn Wilson good material, he is one of the funniest characters on television. Fact.

38. Stan Marsh (South Park)

Stan is probably the main protagonist on South Park and is generally among the funnier characters on the show.  The show often uses him as a catalyst into satire, and since he among the more level headed of the children, he generally has the best grasp on what is going on.  He is also capable of being ridiculous (that statement is true of 99% of the characters on the show), but since he is usually something of a straight man, he can give the show an injection of wit amidst the vulgarity (even if he is being vulgar while making his point).

37. Brad Williams (Happy Endings)

Brad is a rising star on a rising television show, Happy Endings.  Played by Damon Wayans, Jr., Brad does a great job of balancing ridiculousness and stereotype rebuttals with quick wit and a pop culture enamored mind.  Brad is a very versatile character, and it is great to see the chemistry he has with his wife Jane.  On that note, this show is fairly progressive as it is one of the few shows I know to feature an interracial marriage, but you can’t imagine these two being with anyone else because the characters fit so perfectly.  Damon Wayans, Jr. brings so many things to this character, and I hope we continue to see more from him in the future.

36. Annie Edison (Community)

Annie is a smart overachiever mired in a community college, which is by its connotative definition, not the place for that type of person.  However, due to a nervous breakdown in high school, she ended up at Greendale, and we are all too happy to have her there.  A fascinating combination of innocent and worldly, sexy and prude, Annie is always surprising and like her co-stars is capable of having hilarious and poignant story lines.  Alison Brie brings so much to this character (in addition to also being great on Mad Men) and she just fits the world of Community so perfectly.

35. Malory Archer (Archer)

Malory Archer is the boss at the spy agency ISIS, in addition to being the mother of the top spy at the agency, Sterling Archer.  Voiced by Jessica Walter (previously known for her stunning work on Arrested Development), Malory is equal parts controlling mother, alcoholic, and vindictive woman in a position of power (sound familiar to a previous character she played?).  Maybe it is my love for her work as Lucille Bluth that places her so highly on the list, but her deadpan delivery of the clever wordplay present on Archer is just so funny that I had to put her this high.

34. The Lonely Island (Saturday Night Live)

Comprised of cast member Andy Samberg and writers Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone, The Lonely Island guys have come up with essentially all the Digital Shorts on SNL. Of those Digital Shorts, whenever the group does a song, it’s almost a guaranteed classic.  The hit list includes “I’m on a Boat,” “Dick in a Box,” “Jizz in My Pants,” “Like a Boss,” “I Just Had Sex,” “Shy Ronnie,” “The Creep,” “Jack Sparrow,” “Natalie’s Rap,” “Space Olympics,” “Lazy Sunday,” “Motherlover,” “Reba (Two Worlds Collide),” and “Threw It on the Ground.”  They have released two albums so far, Incredibad and Turtleneck and Chain.  While this season has not yet produced a great, there is still time for them to make a good one before the summer hiatus.

33. Max Blum (Happy Endings)

Max is, in my opinion, the best part about Happy Endings.  He is a slacker, a slob, and gay, which has lead to the creation of an interesting character who does not conform to the majority of stereotypes.  I made the Friends comparison previously when I compared Jane to Monica; if that comparison is still true, than Max is the Joey of Happy Endings.  However, he is smarter than Joey, in addition to being more self-aware and possibly funnier.  Another versatile cast member on a show full of them, he can be outlandish or reserved depending on what the situation calls for, but when the show lets him be outlandish is when I find him to be funniest (like when he was in hibernation and they just let him pretend to be a bear for an episode without talking).

32. Randy Marsh (South Park)

Possibly the most regularly absurd character on South Park, Randy Marsh is a geologist who is often sucked into acting childish and giving a voice to a group that isn’t really in need of defending.  Recent years have seen him become obsessed with video games (particularly Guitar Hero and World of Warcraft), the Food Network, and writing a Broadway musical (a nod to the brilliant The Book of Mormon written by show creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone), in addition to getting testicular cancer as a way to obtain medical marijuana and he was once in a boy band.  Anytime that an episode focuses on Randy, it is essentially guaranteed to be hilarious.

31. Cam Tucker (Modern Family)

Cam is one of Modern Family’s breakout characters, and rightfully so, as he is also one of the show’s funniest.  In a relationship with his partner Mitchell, Cam is a stay at home father where he watches over their adopted daughter, Lily.  Cam often makes mountains out of molehills, and although everything he does may be overly dramatic, Eric Stonestreet gives so much heart to the character that you can’t help but love him.  Cam is hilarious, and although story lines involving Cam and Mitchell are often relegated to third priority, he brings such energy to those plots that when he gets more to do, you are excited to see what he’ll do next.  Not to mention that his clown alter ego Fizbo is one of the funniest things involved with the show.

Tune in soon for characters 30-21.

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

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