The Funniest Characters on TV Right Now
Say what you will about the boob tube, but because of its serial nature, television allows for more character development than film or even most novels. When we find characters worth watching, we may stick with them for years (or in the case of the ageless Simpsons, decades). That’s a big investment of time, so the payoff better be good. In the case of these 10 characters, the payoff is in laughs. Here are the 10 funniest TV characters still on the air:
10. Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari) on Parks and Recreation
Leslie Knope’s (Amy Poehler) assistant, self identifies as a “redneck” South Carolinian, despite his Indian heritage (his birth name was Darwish Sabir Ismael Gani). He is a grade A creeper when it comes to the ladies, but remains just charming enough to be endearing.
“Justin is hip. Pawnee is the opposite of hip. People in this town are just now getting into Nirvana. I don’t have the heart to tell them what’s gonna happen to Kurt Cobain in 1994.”
9. Hugo “Hurley” Reyes on Lost
He brings a much-needed lightheartedness to the ever-intensifying saga, making us chuckle ever since Oceanic Flight 815 crashed into prime time.
“You just totally Scooby Doo-ed me, didn’t you?”
8. Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) on Glee
The always-amazing Jane Lynch found the role of her life in Sue, a mean-spirited, conniving cheerleader coach.
“You’ll be adding revenge to the long list of things you’re no good at, right next to being married, running a high school glee club and finding a hairstyle that doesn’t look like a lesbian.”
7. Abed Nadir (Danny Pudi) on Community
Abed’s naivety is funny and charming, especially in his interactions with the show’s other great character, Troy.
“When you guys first came in we were as wholesome and healthy as the family in The Brady Bunch. And now we’re as dysfunctional and incestuous as the cast of The Brady Bunch.”
6. Dwight (Rainn Wilson) on The Office
A few years ago, he’d have held top spot on the list, and he’s still one of the best things about the show.
“When my mother was pregnant with me, they did an ultrasound and found she was having twins. When they did another ultrasound a few weeks later, they discovered that I had adsorbed the other fetus. Do I regret this? No, I believe his tissue has made me stronger. I now have the strength of a grown man and a little baby.”
5. Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) on The Big Bang Theory
If Leonard is the show’s reluctant genius, Sheldon is defined by his intellect, and all that brain power has pushed aside any social grace.
“You keep in mind that my sharply-worded comments on yelp.com recently took down a muffin store.”
4. Charlie Kelly (Charlie Day) on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Charlie is the least intelligent member of The Gang, and that’s saying quite a lot. But he’s also the funniest and the only one with a shred of decency, though it is just a shred.
“Cannibalism? Racism? Dude, that’s not for us … those decisions are better left to the suits in Washington. We’re just here to eat some dude!”
3. Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris) on How I Met Your Mother
The womanizer has been a sitcom staple for decades, but Barney Stinson has managed to “Bring Smarmy Back” in ways both original and hilarious.
“That woman nursing a Black Russian is about to chase it with a White American!”
2. Cameron Tucker (Eric Stonestreet) on Modern Family
When this gay teddy bear first revealed in the show’s mockumentary style that he played offensive lineman for the University of Illinois, it was with a flamboyant “Surprise!” He’s the funniest thing about the funniest new sitcom since 30 Rock.
“There’s a fish in nature that swims around with its babies in its mouth. That fish would look at Mitchell’s relationship with his mother and say, ’That’s messed up.’”
1. Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan) on 30 Rock
Picking a single character from 30 Rock (Kenneth Parcell, Jack Donaghy, Liz Lemon) was tough, but Tracy Jordan jumped the shark in Episode One and has been reaching for more ridiculous heights ever since.
“So, here’s some advice I wish I woulda got when I was your age: Live every week like it’s Shark Week.”