Movies Reviews

25 Funniest Sitcom Characters of All Time, Ranked

When it comes to sitcoms, they are primarily a style of television series that was always around since the beginning of the medium. There’s a reason for that— they’re mostly inexpensive, 30-minute stories that get resolved before you even know it and don’t require much more than light attention. These ‘situational comedy‘ shows often became a good way to experiment for TV studios looking for the big hit.

But is there a secret to it? Is there a way to design good sitcoms? There are TV producers that may be more successful than others, but the formula is much more elemental than we think. It has to do with culture, current times, social circumstances, and the evolution of audiences. Can you guess why The Honeymoonerswouldn’t be made today? Exactly.

However, if there’s a non-secret that will guarantee at least a few watches, it’s the same ingredient as almost every narrative medium — great characters. There’s something magnetic about how, when they’re well-designed, they can connect with the audience in a matter of seconds and get us entranced in lightweight situations that turn into years and years of engagement. You recognize them because: 1) You laugh every time they do something, and 2) You do exactly the same when rewatching.

Perhaps selecting the funniest sitcom characters in TV history is very personal, but we gave it a try and came up with what feels like a definitive list of the funniest, the ones you can’t live without, and the ones that light up everyone’s lives every week.


25 Leslie Knope (Parks & Recreation)


The leader we wish we had, as quirky and mad as she was. Knope’s personality was only possible due to the contribution of a very funny performer. Is it the female version of Michael Scott? Perhaps, but one thing’s for sure: As years passed she made sure she went her own way in the evolving aura of Parks & Recreation.

Related: The Best TV Sitcoms of the 2000s, Ranked

24 Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm)

Curb Your Enthusiasm
HBO Enterprises

The inspiration for Seinfeld‘s George Constanza is an unhinged version of himself in Curb your Enthusiasm. It’s painfully funny to see Larry trying to progress in modern Hollywood while being so true to himself. There’s a reason why the show’s been going for so long without sacrificing its essence, and it’s because Larry David has been the same obnoxious social nightmare of a dude for so long.

23 Gob Bluth (Arrested Development)

Will Arnett in Arrested Development
20th Century Fox

The Bluth clan is full of idiots, but Gob takes the prize for being a notably sincere guy who just wants to make it big as a magician. There’s nothing pretentious about his plans, and sometimes he just wants to be loved. The voice, the performance, the shame. They’re all part of a character responsible for so many fans clamoring for Arrested Development‘s return.

22 Blanche Devereaux (The Golden Girls)

Blanche Devereaux The Golden Girls
Buena Vista Television

In The Golden Girls, Blanche was the balance everyone needed and no one expected to have. She’s loving, incredibly funny and indispensable in a show with three other peers that could cloud her scenes. Fortunately, she stayed pristine during the whole run of one of TV’s iconic shows.

21 Joey Tribbiani (Friends)

Joey in Friends

Of the bunch, Joey remains the funniest, with Phoebe coming at close second. Over the years, he’s just become much more authentic as a single dumb guy whose fascination with food is never sacrificed for the sake of decency. Sure, he’s also a player, but one whose schemes never turn out for the best. The expression in Joey’s eyes when he realizes he’s messed up is one of Friends‘ most recognizable elements.

20 George Jefferson (The Jeffersons)

The Jeffersons
Sony Pictures Television

The hippest man on the East Side, George Jefferson was simply magic whenever he showed up. Even if he always did the same, you would always get a joke in the form of him complaining about absolutely everything. The Jeffersons is a great example of a portrait of a relationship in the past that wouldn’t be adapted today.

Related: These Are Some of the Best Black Sitcoms of All Time

19 Beverly Goldberg (The Goldbergs)

The Goldbergs beverly
Sony Pictures Television

A recent pick that just gets better with each season. In The Goldbergs, Beverly is the mother everyone wishes to be, but also the materialization of a teenager’s nightmare, as she’s overprotective, over expressive and wears flashy 80s clothes. She brought back something from the past to recent TV: the naive structure of characters whose situations get resolved in under 30 minutes without losing a single touch of personality.

18 Stewie Griffin (Family Guy)

Stewie in Family Guy
Disney-ABC Domestic Television

The Griffin household is full of comedic genius (unless you hate the show like South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker), but Stewie has the depth we didn’t think the show would provide. His sexual preference is not very clear, as well as the reason why he’s changed his opinion about his mother. This ongoing mystery in Family Guy provides the interesting balance from his character, who’s always got a violent master plan for solving everything.

17 Ron Swanson (Parks & Recreation)

Ron Swanson - Parks and Rec

What makes the Nick Offerman character so funny in Parks & Recreation, is that you actually believe in him, as absurd as his point of views are. A blatant libertarian, he’s everything Leslie Knope isn’t and much, much more. Offerman delivers one-liners in a grumpy, direct, and serious manner in a way which brought back the hilarious toxicity of older shows like All in the Family.

16 Phil Dunphy (Modern Family)

Ty Burrell as Phil Dunphy
20th Television

Yeah, who wouldn’t want Phil to be their dad? The leader of the Dunphy clan (sometimes) is a goofball magician wannabe who knows High School Musical choreography by memory, and is always willing to make his family have fun. This one lights up the room whenever he’s star struck, something that often happens in Modern Family.

15 Tobias Fünke (Arrested Development)

David Cross in Arrested Development
20th Century Fox

There’s nothing like Tobias Funke in modern television. It makes him an essential character in Arrested Development, just too secondary in our opinion. To see him try to propose a plan and then make his point sets up some invaluable moments in sitcom history; he lacks so much self-awareness that he’s delightfully oblivious to how idiotic he comes across. The physicality of David Cross is crucial for Tobias to be so iconic, and produces some of the series’ funniest moments.

14 Archie Bunker (All in the Family)

Archie Bunker in All in the Family
Viacom Enterprises

We won’t discuss what All in the Family‘s Archie Bunker represents from a social point of view by today’s standards. We’re just celebrating the angry, desperate man who never got what he wanted and always got what he deserved, in a family that seemed more progressive than usual. One thing we can’t resolve is how they came up with Bunker, while having to refrain cursing on his lines.

13 Fran Fine (The Nanny)

Fran Fine The nanny
Sony Pictures Television

One thing’s for certain. Ms. Fine had to compete in The Nanny with many funny characters that grew big with every season. But Fran Drescher‘s fantastic capacity made her character a breath of fresh air every time she appeared on camera and shamelessly became a new version of Lucille Ball. Want a Ms. Fine combo that gets better? Just get her beside her mother and grandmother.

12 Al Bundy (Married… with Children)

Married with Children Al Bundy
Columbia Pictures Television

One of many dads on this list, Bundy was the epitome of television’s raunchiest moment, and he participated in a show that always found a way to go further than everyone expected. It was risky to say the least, but Married… with Children was extremely successful in its time, and Al Bundy is highly responsible for playing the dad we all wish we had in some way. This is one of those shows that wouldn’t be made today.

11 Lucille Bluth (Arrested Development)

Lucille Bluth Arrested Development
20th Television

The leader of the new Bluth era is incredibly funny in every scene she’s in, whether she’s having a drink of trying to come up with an idea to screw her family. There’s no question of her malice and evil, but Lucille is also filled with love. Just not for her children. The execution by Jessica Walter in Arrested Development is an impressive staple of comedy television.

Related: Best TV Sitcoms of the 2010s, Ranked

10 Cosmo Kramer (Seinfeld)

Kramer in Seinfeld
Columbia Pictures Television

Weird, somehow sexy to certain women, and entirely unpredictable, Kramer was one of the reasons everyone stayed with Seinfeld for so long. This “hipster doofus” (as Jerry called him) kept the show fresh, but he wasn’t the center; if he was, then this ‘show about nothing’ would be about something: his personality. We still have questions about Kramer to this day, but it doesn’t matter if they’re ever answered. His magic is due to his mystery.

9 Jake Peralta (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)

Brooklyn Nine Nine Halloween Season 1

Peralta is good because of Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s script, as repetitive as it feels. But a great performance by Andy Samberg is essential to keep every joke funny, making the show fresh and far from tiresome. To see that guy smile is just magic, but then to see him trying to be a decent cop is hilarious. Nevertheless, without the delightful ensemble cast, he wouldn’t be here.

8 Cameron Tucker (Modern Family)

Eric Stonestreet as Cameron Tucker
20th Television

The funniest character of Modern Family by far, Cameron Tucker goes beyond queer-related jokes to make a statement about his individuality in a show that was hardly about individuals. All of his scenes are genius in execution, and with Cameron you feel like nothing is additional. Do you want to laugh today? Find one of the scenes where he dresses up and plays the clown Fizbo.

7 Elaine Benes (Seinfeld)

Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Elaine Benes on Seinfeld
Columbia Pictures Television

The perfect balance to an all-male ensemble. Elaine is inherently funny in every situation she’s in because there’s no shame in her life. She hates dogs and wants them to die, she fakes orgasms and coldly admits it; she intends to get back together with a guy just because he lost weight. Needless to say, Elaine would not exist in a current sitcom. Thank God for eternal Seinfeld reruns.

Related: 10 Sitcom Characters That Deserved Better Endings

6 Dwight Schrute (The Office)

Dwight Schrute in The Office

Dwight is so full of mystery, his lines and acts are unpredictable. But then The Office, as a show, is also shrouded in unexpected situations coming from regular Joes and Janes in office environments. His personality is the reason why he makes us laugh in every single scene he’s in. Really, try that. Watch The Office and tell us an episode where Dwight doesn’t make you laugh.

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