If someone were to ask me what would make for a nice relaxing experience for me, cuddling under a blanket with some comfort food and a nice sitcom to watch would be at the top of my list. Over the decades, comedy has evolved remarkably and always remained true to the common man’s changing sense of relatability and relevance.
From Michael Scott’s obnoxious but endearing hilarity in The Office to Chandler Bing’s dry and extremely amusing sense of humor, we have seen some truly extraordinary comic talent that have made for some indelible and unforgettable on-screen characters, with the kind of fan following that multiplies manifold as ore time goes by.
I am sure we all have our favorites, and pardon me for I have tried my best, but here are TV’s most beloved jokesters, dolts and goofballs in the TOP 25 FUNNIEST SITCOM CHARACTERS EVER to have graced the silver screen. Read on to find out if your chosen clown made the list…hope you enjoy it!
25. Andy Dwyer (Parks and Recreation) – played by Chris Pratt
He was originally signed up temporarily and for a few episodes, but his stint became permanent because of the universal acclaim his character received. Andy was dim-witted, similar to friend’s Joey, and was extremely like-able and humorous. Chris Pratt was memorable both as Andy and as the alter egos of Andy (i.e. Johnny Karate and Inspector Burt Macklin).
24. Cameron Tucker (Modern Family) – played by Eric Stonestreet
His dramatic flair is what makes for comic relief in this otherwise wholesome family drama. A peak moment to showcase this would be when Cam shows off his adopted Vietnamese daughter, Lily, to the family, in line with the opening song of The Lion King. His tiffs with his partner, Mitchell, often provide bursts of laughter to the audience but with a truly evolving character arc, Cam stands out most for his heart of gold.
23. Leslie Knope (Parks and Recreation) – played by Amy Poehler
A boss woman in her own right, Leslie Knope delivers some good punchlines and is endearing, lovable and right-on-the-nose funny. Although she has good intentions and as the Deputy Director of the Parks and Recreation Department of Pawnee, Indiana, believes strongly in the government’s responsibility to serve the people, Leslie repeatedly puts a positive spin on even failure, to a point where she occasionally distorts the truth of the situation to her own view. However, it makes her relatable and one of the funniest sitcom characters ever, nonetheless.
22. Red Forman (The 70’s Show) – played by Kurtwood Smith
The quintessential military man and a strict father, Red or Reginald Albert Forman, presents a very dry kind of humor, mostly seen in grumpy dads. He’s a tough and no-nonsense kind of guy who favors his daughter Laurie, who he considers to be “daddy’s little princess”, unbeknown to her promiscuity, over his wimpy and softened son, Eric. He delights in being the scary neighborhood scepter that the teenagers are especially afraid of, and his cranky ways feel very familiar.
21. Homer Simpson (The Simpsons) – voiced by Dan Castellaneta
If we are talking comedies, it would be a crime not to mention The Simpsons and who could be considered more humorous than Homer Simpson himself? The comic relief that Homer’s character provides factors in his bumbling stupidity, laziness and explosive bouts of anger. He is impulsive, has a persistent distaste towards work and is “devoted to his stomach”. He is the typical exasperated funny family man, and is widely regarded as an American cultural icon.
20. Gina Linetti (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) – played by Chelsea Peretti
She’s the perfect combination of “ego and id”, which is just one of the things special about Gina Linetti. To call her eccentric and obnoxiously outlandish would be an understatement, but that’s what makes her endearingly funny. Besides having some of the best one-liners on the show, Gina literally makes the 99th precinct dazzle with her plethora of talents, only one of which is her razor-sharp wit, which just makes her very appearance on the screen seamlessly comical.
19. Michael Kelso (That 70’s show) – played by Ashton Kutcher
Michael Kelso is one of the funniest sitcom characters ever. This is in part thanks to the terrific writing of the show’s first few seasons, but Ashton Kutcher’s iconic performance also imbued the character of Kelso with a huge amount of charisma, making him TV’s definitive lovable moron.
18. Liz Lemon (30 Rock) – played by Tina Fey
Liz is the head writer for the SNL-esque show, TGS; starring her eccentric, self-centered best friend, Jenna. Unlike Jenna, Liz doesn’t really care how she looks or how she acts. She’ll dress up as Princess Leia to get out of jury duty, she’ll act out at parties, and you do NOT want to take her food from her.
17. Jim Halpert (The Office) – played by John Krasinski
The master of pranks who made the work culture at Dunder Mifflin look like the hilarious caricature it was, Jim Halpert is a hotshot jokester. His character serves as the intelligent, mild-mannered, straight-face funny guy to the obnoxiously hilarious Michael and the uncomprehendingly comic Dwight. Jim also feels relatable on a more personal level, owing to him considering the job at the office as “just a job” and not a career because if it became a career he would have to “throw himself in front of a train” and it would mean the death of his more subtle ambitions.
16. Karen Walker (Will and Grace) – played by Megan Mullally
Everyone has that sassy but funny girlfriend who hates people but loves alcohol. Karen Walker is the living embodiment of a rude, gold-digging socialite who would “sooner chew up her own foot then do an honest day’s work” and a notorious trope but she owns it and it makes her character a comic caricature that propels her adventures into a prominent plotline of the series. She is widely regarded as one of the funniest sitcom characters ever.
15. Sheldon Cooper (The Big Bang Theory) – played by Jim Parsons
Another obnoxious but funny character, Sheldon might have an extraordinary IQ but he’s a total spaz when it comes to understanding social cues and expressing empathy with fellow human being. His tenuous understanding of irony, sarcasm and general humor lead to him being the butt of many jokes by the gang and although not a clown himself, he does inspire hilarity. Although over the seasons, his character arc does progress a lot, his child-like social assumptions are what make him endearingly funny.
14. Ron Swanson (Parks and Recreation) – played by Nick Offerman
A cult comedic performer, Ron Swanson is widely acclaimed as the “cast MVP” of the series. No one could have played the role of the Director of the Parks and Recreation Department of Pawnee, Indiana to sheer perfection, more than Offerman. Being a stringent libertarian, Ron is a firm believer in the government being privatized and adheres to typical masculine traits. Speaking in a deadpan voice and belying any show of emotion, his punchlines land very well and his perverse sense of humor makes it impossible not to like him.
13. Charlie Harper (Two and A Half Men) – played by Charlie Sheen
A hedonistic womanizer, former rock-musician-turned-jingle/children’s-songwriter, Charlie Harper is the poster child endorsing rich spoilt brats in Hollywood. Drinking scotch, smoking cigars and sleeping with numerous women is Charlie’s lifestyle, but it is evident that all these are mere coping mechanisms in the face of the hollow glamour world, all of which make the audience feel sympathetic towards him. All of this contributes to Charlie’s knife-sharp wit and makes every one-liner land perfectly.
12. Elaine Benes (Seinfeld) – played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Since 1998, Elaine is considered to be one of the funniest sitcom characters ever in television history. She’s quirky, eccentric, and she’s one of the boys, well, at least when it comes to hilariously neurotic behavior. During the show’s nine-season run, her obsessive tendencies get her wrapped up in all sorts of laugh-out-loud scenarios, which leads to countless memorable moments, along with her coining some of TV’s most quotable phrases.
11. Ross Geller (F.R.I.E.N.D.S) – played by David Schwimmer
The president of the Divorce Club, Ross’ life is too full of drama to not be funny. As the show progresses and his marriages fall apart one by one, Ross unravels more and more to become smack-on-your-nose hilarious. Besides having some of the best punchlines, Ross is embroiled in some of the funniest scenes the show ever-presents, including but not limited to the tanning salon disaster, the drunk Vegas wedding, the bagpipe-playing for Mondler’s wedding and the confrontation with Dr. Greene when he gets Rachel pregnant. And I’m sure everyone remembers his iconic “I am fine!”; no doubt he earns a place on this list.
10. Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm) – played by Larry David
What more could we ask from Larry David but to play himself, all grumpy and sarcastic? An old man, so shrewd that he finds most people dumb and annoying and has savage comebacks in all kinds of situations? That’s something to watch out for. His stubbornness does get him into awkward social situations, but it just propels the audience to laugh their guts out.
9. Kenneth Parcell (30 Rock) – played by Jack MacBrayer
A man disillusioned by ignorant bliss in a world that doesn’t give two hoots about him does make for a punchline, but Kenneth has got more to his character than is initially let on. There are hints throughout the show that Kenneth might be immortal, which implies that he tricked us into laughing at him. Sheer genius! His laughs-to-screentime ratio trumps everyone and makes him a breakout TV character, and as Kenneth himself says, there’s two things he loves best in the world – everyone and television.
8. Ricardo Lucy (I Love Lucy) – played by Lucille Ball
Lucille Ball holds one of the top positions in the list of funniest sitcom characters ever. She was the star of the self-produced sitcoms I Love Lucy, The Lucy Show, Here’s Lucy, and Life with Lucy, as well as comedy television specials aired under the title The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour. Her stunning performance in I Love Lucy has made her the queen of television comedy. Timeless, hilarious, and groundbreaking, Lucille Ball still stands as the funniest woman to ever grace our television sets.
7. Barney Stinson (How I Met Your Mother) – played by Neil Patrick Harris
Leave it to Neil Patrick Harris to make a disillusioned, narcissistic womanizer endearing and the “daddy” of ineffaceable punchlines. Barney has everything in his arsenal – great puns, awesome theories, a flair for the dramatic and legendary stories. Like he himself puts it, if there’s a crazy story, the rule of the universe is that Barney Stinson was there for it. With his captivating persona and doltish charm, Barney makes for a great addition to this list.
6. Jake Peralta (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) – played by Andy Samberg
An immature but brilliant detective with the emotional equivalence of a teaspoon but a heart of gold, well, what’s not to love? Jake is a quintessential clown, whose antics and child-like enthusiasm even in the case of sordid murders provide for the much-needed light atmosphere in the 99th precinct. His turf skirmishes with Captain Holt and his dork capers with his best friend, Charles present constant entertainment to the audience and make him out to be obviously hilarious.
5. Dwight Schrute (The Office) – played by Rainn Wilson
No other TV character is perhaps as consistently and impassively funny as Dwight. He is insufferable, sexist and stringent and acts with such a fake air of false importance that is just laugh-out-loud hilarious. The prank wars between him and Jim make the office a much dynamic scenario than it otherwise would have been. He’s the kind of character who doesn’t comprehend the comic relief he is delivering, and that is a delight to take in and that makes him one of the funniest sitcom characters ever.
4. Cosmo Kramer (Seinfield) – played by Michael Richards
Crazy? Check. Funny? Check. Quirky? Check. All around lovable? A big check. Kramer is shallow, callous and rude on occasions but also, has a big heart, unbending loyalty towards Jerry and is a stickler for doing the right thing. A lovable rogue, his trademark upright hair and vintage wardrobe, along with his love for Cuban cigars and penchant for nonsensical outbursts of noise paint a colourful picture of this “hipster doofus”. One of the funniest sitcom characters ever, Kramer, is a delight to watch him on screen.
3. Michael Scott (The Office) – played by Steve Carrell
Steve Carrell was born to play the character of Michael Scott and no one could say otherwise. Michael is shallow, careless, ignorant and unaware of basic social cues and etiquettes. He overestimates his self-importance in the eyes of his employees and doesn’t understand why they do not share his enthusiasm for the workplace. He calls his entire team the “Dunder Mifflin family” but nothing can be further from the truth and it is extremely humorous to watch this travesty of an intolerable boss blunder his way through the daily workings of the workplace. However, as the series progresses, Michael does undergo a lot of character development and the audience does fall for his efforts to make the office fun!
2. Chandler Bing (F.R.I.E.N.D.S) – played by Matthew Perry
The King of Sarcasm and perfect situational comedy, Chandler is the guy who normalized “funny” in a social group. The cult icon of punchlines and quicksilver wit, he undergoes the most endearing character development in the series, from a commitment-fearing, eccentric clown with daddy issues to a doting partner and a responsible family man, and will forever remain a popular favorite. He taught us the proper ways and moments to use sarcasm and for that alone, we stan him.
1. George Constanza (Seinfield) – played by Jason Alexander
Popularly referred to as the “lord of idiots”, George is a dim-witted, overweight, balding man with insecurities probably stemming from a dysfunctional childhood with dominating parents, who complains and lies easily about anything and everything, including his profession, dating life and impulsive decisions, which later land him into trouble. However, George is loyal to his friends and goes to great lengths to make relationships work with his girlfriends, which makes him relatable after all. He is the kind of character all of America loves to root for.