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100 Best Comedy Characters Currently On Television (10-1)

March 30, 2012

After weeks of waiting, here it is, the top 10 comedy characters currently on television!

10. Liz Lemon (30 Rock)

Liz Lemon is the heart and soul of 30 Rock, and she is the funniest female character on television in my opinion.  She is the head writer of the sketch comedy show TGS with Tracy Jordan and she holds the show together.  However, due in part to Tina Fey’s self-depreciating humor and the “recycled” story lines that Liz endures (lack of a love life, craziness at work, trying to balance work and personal life), I can’t put her much higher than this.  She is a smart character and a very funny one, but Fey’s willingness to allow the other characters to have the spotlight is a good thing for 30 Rock as it allows funnier characters more airtime.

9. Tracy Jordan (30 Rock)

Tracy is arguably the funniest character on 30 Rock and that is a combination of Morgan’s delivery and the writing.  Tracy is an absurd celebrity and is the show’s way of mocking celebrity in general.  He makes terrible choices and has starred in an impressive list of films that sound like rejected ideas for Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence or Adam Sandler movies.  Somehow, this character pulled off being an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony winner).  He is eccentric, selfish, and fairly ignorant, but just as soon as you think he couldn’t be any dumber, he knows some intelligent (generally an obscure) reference and surprises you.  Tracy is an extremely funny character, and I hope the show is able to keep giving him good, funny material.

8. Jack Donaghy (30 Rock)

Jack Donaghy is the best character from 30 Rock in my opinion.  A powerful executive, Jack is ambitious, rich, powerful, and knows how to get what he wants.  He is Liz Lemon’s mentor, has a smoking hot wife in Avery Jessup, possesses several nemeses and runs the 4th most powerful network in television.  Jack set the bar (pun semi-intended) for many men in the 21st century and is generally unwilling to bend his standards.  Part of the thing that makes this character so brilliant is he is so different from the actor that plays him.  However, Baldwin’s delivery and willingness to do silly things and laugh at himself make Donaghy one of the best characters on television.

7. Abed Nadir (Community)

On a show full of pop culture references, meta humor, and willingness to fly into various genres on a whim, there is no character that does that stuff better than Abed.  Abed has an encyclopedic knowledge of television and film that he uses to relate to people because he doesn’t function well in most social circumstances and uses those to understand what is going on around him.  Abed is an aspiring filmmaker and can take on the persona of various characters that he enjoys (Batman, Don Draper, and Han Solo to name a few).  His detachedness allows him to comment on what he sees in a blunt, honest way, and he has inspired some of the show’s best episodes.  Greendale would be very different without Abed, as it would without any of the main cast, but he is a perfect fit for one of the best shows on television, and that’s why he fits into the top 10 on this list.

6. Louis CK (Louie)

Louis CK is probably the funniest working standup comedian in the country right now.  The character that he plays on Louie is a fictionalized version of himself, and he is extremely funny on that show.  He is a very sympathetic character, one that can’t seem to catch a break, and your heart breaks almost every episode for this guy.  Louis CK is in charge of essentially every aspect of the show, and he finds humor in that sort of “kick them while they’re down” idea, much like fellow list member Larry David does on Curb Your Enthusiasm.  However, unlike David, this is a guy that you are rooting for and want to win.  Louie is unlike any show on television, both visually and thematically, and that is thanks in large parts to Louis CK himself.  There are really no other regular characters on the show, although we see his daughters and other comics pop in from time to time.  If the show continues to display the brilliance of the first two seasons, then this character has nowhere to go but up.

5. Phil Dunphy (Modern Family)

Phil Dunphy is unquestionably the star of Modern Family and Ty Burrell won an Emmy for Best Supporting Actor for this character. A self-proclaimed “cool dad,” Phil is the funniest character on the Emmy winner for Best Comedy Series.  When I first heard about the show, he seemed like Michael Scott as a dad, but once I began watching the show, I saw he was way more than that.  Sure, he makes verbal faux pas, is naive and optimistic, but he is also a caring father, loving husband and all around good guy.  Phil is the glue of the comedic structure of Modern Family and he has earned a spot in the top 5 of the countdown because of it.

4. Eric Cartman (South Park)

Cartman is the foul-mouthed, racist, bigoted backbone of South Park.  Voiced by series co-creator Trey Parker, Cartman is always coming up with some plan to destroy his friends, change society (generally for the worse) or serve himself.  Cartman is a character that you should easily hate, but he is just so funny that you can’t really bring yourself to do it.  He took the Bart Simpson prototype and perfected it, going way too far all the time, but while being the funniest character on a show that is far smarter than it is generally given credit for.  Without Cartman, the show would not have found the success that it currently enjoys.

3. Charlie Kelly (It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia)

The sloppy, illiterate, selfish, short-tempered janitor of Paddy’s Pub, Charlie is the glue of Always Sunny. He has given the show so much (Green Man, his musical The Nightman Cometh, Kitten Mittens) that for fans of the show, that should easily solidify his position on this list.  He lives in terrible conditions and is essentially a scavenger, keeping things that he finds in the trash and under bridges such as Ali Baba swords, denim, and food.  Unquestionably the breakout star of one of the funniest shows on television, Charlie just fits the world of Always Sunny perfectly.  His real life wife stars as a waitress that Charlie has an obsessive one-sided romantic relationship with.  Fantastic.

2. Homer Simpson (The Simpsons)

The patriarch of the titular Simpson family, Homer is one of the best television characters of all time.  Dumb, alcoholic, and negligent, Homer is the best part of the long running show.  He has so many great moments over the course of The Simpsons that it would be nearly impossible to list them here, but his non-sequiters, physical gags, and relationships with his friends and family have created so many laughs over the years.  Homer is a blue-collar worker trying to provide for his family, even if his flights of fancy often result in him saying “D’OH!”  Without Homer and his family, we may not have as many not have anywhere near the level of groundbreaking comedies that we have seen in the last 20 years.  It’s all because the Simpsons did it.

1. Ron Swanson (Parks and Recreation)

Ron Swanson, television and American champion.  The head of the Pawnee Parks and Recreation department, Ron loves whiskey, bacon, breakfast, steak, Lil Sebastian, freedom, and small government.  He has two ex-wives, both named Tammy, and whenever they show up, you are in for a great episode from him.  Ron is such a great character; he tries to act as if he doesn’t care about any of his co-workers, but he will always protect those close to him.  He is a mentor (albeit unwillingly) to most of the department, and his advice is usually sound (if hilariously worded).  Offerman plays this character so perfectly, and can do so much by doing so little physically.  One of Ron’s best episodes was when he stays in his office chair all day because he has a hernia, and when you can be hilarious without moving at all, you know you are doing something right.  Ron is the star in possibly the best comedy currently on television, and for that, in addition to the reasons previously stated, he tops my list as the best comedy character currently on television.

So that’s the end, I hope you liked this countdown, and stay tuned for more fun countdowns and other posts on the blog.

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

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From → Television

5 Comments
  1. Where the hell are the characters from Arrested Development?

    • Arrested Development isn’t currently on television, so it didn’t apply for inclusion.

  2. Nick permalink

    Barney Stinson? Legen…wait for it…

    • I posted the rules prior to this series of posts, & stated that I was only including sgows I had watched. At the time of creating the list, that did not include How I Met Your Mother, hence the exlusion of Mr. Stinson. However, now I have seen it, &you if I were to write the list today, he, along with Marshall, Robin & Lily would more than likely be on there. Ted would still be off the list. Barney’s omission was due to the fact I hadn’t watched the show, not because of him as a character. Hope this clears things up a little bit.

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