Friday, March 27

The Top 10 Funniest Sitcom-Types Ever

This was hard. Way harder to adjudge than my Top 10 Funniest Comedy-Types Ever anyway. Because there's funny in real life and there's funny in TV. Both of which are patently unalike notions. It takes a fine, fine actor to lift words off from a script page and transform them into something televisually momentous. All these do/did that very well. Some better than others though, of course...

10. Niles Crane - For such a sophisticated sitcom, 'Frasier' wasn't half silly. Niles's ruthless relationship with brother Frasier turned hilarious when one or the other had something the other didn't. And no matter how many times the writers ran that competitiveness, it never got old. Not to mention that David Hyde Pierce played the awkward, neurotic sibling exquisitely.

9. Michael Scott - Steve Carell may well be one of H'wood's most sought after right now, but he does The Office boss Michael like Cleese did Fawlty. BIG statement, I know. But one does truly feel for Michael Scott. Tragedy beckoned when he showed his employees' kids that TV show he was on, revealing his only dream was to have a large family. Funny emerges when he's on a mission with Dwight. Scott's kinda like the sad clown. Only funnier.

8. Del Boy - He who dares and all that. David Jason's Derek Trotter had the kind of cheeky personality to light up rooms, light up dolls, and even light up empty coaches. His naive, dreamy nature was admirable at the least, and side-splitting at best. Never forget that moment after Rodney married Casandra, and Del was left to the soft tones of Simply Red. There was real substance to his undeniable charm.

6. Robert Barone - There's a lot of 'best part's to Everybody Loves Raymond, and the hapless Robert Barone was most certainly one of em. Brad Garrett's portrayal as Ray's cursed elder brother was splendid.
Only he could get do the 'Crazy Chin'. Only he could be gored by a bull. And only he could be awarded by the NYPD for never missing a day's work. He's the kind of character every sitcom wishes for.

5. Johnny Drama - One of the more recent roles to make this list, Entourage's Johnny Drama has the foundering freakishness to become an absolute classic. Kevin Dillon, real life dud (pre-Drama) older brother of Matt, is outstanding as the dud older half-brother of star Vince. And like pretty much all the characters here, you feel sympathy for his many deficiencies, but glee when things go right. Victoryyyyyyyy!

4. Ali G/Borat/Bruno - Barring that unfortunate Will Ferrell (unfunniest funny-man alive?) movie he did, Sacha Baron Cohen is somewhat of a genius. He gets more out of politicians and celebs than the average journo, simply by playing the dumb card. Oh, and it's funny-as-fuck and all.

3. David Brent - The greatest British character post-Del Boy? Sure, why not. They're really isn't much to say about The Office chief that hasn't already been said. Milligan, Cleese, Everett, Gervais? Yep, that's about right.

2. Ari Gold - You know you're witnessing a great character when they can just light up a whole scene simply by their presence. That, I believe, is the case with Entourage's Ari Gold. Constant witticism after the other, Jeremy Piven's best role, well, ever, is so darn believable you wonder how Hollywood can exist without him. Thank you, fine writers of Entourage. Thank you, Mr Piven. And thank you, My Gold.

1. George Costanza - Without question, Seinfeld's George Costanza is the greatest TV sitcom character ever. Essentially, he's just a short, stocky version of Larry David. Vandelay Industries. Taking an eclair out of a dustbin. Changing your girlfriend's answer-phone tape. Killing your wife by buying cheap invitations. Independent George. The Summer of George. "Can't-stand-ya". Architecture. Marine Biology. Buck Naked. Twitchy, anxious and bald, George Costanza, Shout And Twist loves you.