The 20 Funniest TV Characters of All Time

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20 Funniest TV Characters of All Time

20 Funniest TV Characters of All Time

The good ol' days of scripted comedy on television seems to be making a major comeback with great shows on TV like Modern Family, The Mindy Project and The Big Bang Theory. Before "reality" TV, actors were serenading their viewers with clever jokes and over-the-top antics that kept us laughing for days. Time to show appreciation to the characters who give us the biggest laughs from today to back in the day.

20. Liz Lemon

20. Liz Lemon

20. Liz Lemon

20. Liz Lemon

One of the funniest workaholics on television was always forced to react more than act, but it was always fun to watch her fall face-first in her problems.

19. George Jefferson

19. George Jefferson

19. George Jefferson

19. George Jefferson

From the walk to the quick wit, George made sure to not leave behind his smart mouth after moving on up to that deluxe apartment in the sky.

18. Fred Sanford

18. Fred Sanford

18. Fred Sanford

18. Fred Sanford

Sanford's son could never gather up enough trust to be more than a "Big Dummy!" in his father's eyes, but at least he and Aunt Esther got to get him back whenever his get-rich-quick schemes went wrong.

17. Barney Fife

17. Barney Fife

17. Barney Fife

17. Barney Fife

Barney's high-pitched voice and overreaction to every task made him the funniest cop in Mayberry. I wonder if his aim improved enough to carry more than one bullet in his shirt pocket.

16. James J.J. Evans

16. James J.J. Evans

16. James J.J. Evans

16. James J.J. Evans

You have to appreciate J.J.'s love for the "ghetto" and family, his flamboyant personality and aspirations of being a successful painter, but don't forget about his one-liners that were simple and almost elementary but were delivered just perfect enough to keep you on the floor laughing.

15. Leslie Knope

15. Leslie Knope

15. Leslie Knope

15. Leslie Knope

One of the funniest women to come off SNL (yes, I said it ... next to Kristen Wiig, of course), she changes accents more than Nicki Minaj, who she may have more in common with than we think. Nicki stands out in a male-dominated world and Amy Poehler is able to stand out in a cast full of male comedians and still be just as funny.

14. Michael Scott

14. Michael Scott

14. Michael Scott

14. Michael Scott

His outrageously awkward ways of running the office while simultaneously attempting to be liked made for great television for years.

13. Detective Jake Peralta

13. Detective Jake Peralta

13. Detective Jake Peralta

13. Detective Jake Peralta

If you think Andy Samberg's character on "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" is too new to be considered for funniest TV character, he has a Golden Globe that I'm sure would think differently.

12. Rudy Huxtebal

12. Rudy Huxtebal

12. Rudy Huxtebal

12. Rudy Huxtebal

The youngest character on this list warmed all hearts and was worth every moment of air time she had on "The Cosby Show."

11. Larry David

11. Larry David

11. Larry David

11. Larry David

It's hard to believe that most of Larry David's funniest jokes on "Curb Your Enthusiasm" were improvised. Even at his age, he still proves to be a genius in comedy.

10. Ari Gold

10. Ari Gold

10. Ari Gold

10. Ari Gold

Never afraid to say what he wants to whoever it is, Ari Gold made sure he took care of his clients and humiliated any agent that tried to cross him.

9. Steve Urkel

9. Steve Urkel

9. Steve Urkel

9. Steve Urkel

The lovable, clumsy geek with the coke bottle glasses was every TV viewer's favorite person to watch ... from a distance.

8. Al Bundy

8. Al Bundy

8. Al Bundy

7. Al Bundy

If Foot Locker had shoe salesman as funny as Al Bundy, I would buy a pair of Nikes every week just to spend time in the store.

7. Cliff Huxtable

7. Cliff Huxtable

7. Cliff Huxtable

7. Cliff Huxtable

Fortunately, Dr. Huxtable spent more time at home than at the hospital, so we got to enjoy every fabricated story he had to tell and watch every elaborate plan he used to teach his kids a lesson.

6. Phil Dunphy

6. Phil Dunphy

6. Phil Dunphy

6. Phil Dunphy

Phil Dunphy proves that sometimes just being yourself can be hilarious. From his need to be accepted by his father-in-law to wanting his son to be a magician, the funniest thing about Phil's character is his character.

5. Carlton Banks

5. Carlton Banks

5. Carlton Banks

5. Carlton Banks

What rich kid do you know could make you chuckle more than the young aspiring lawyer from Bel-Air? Usually the butt of jokes due his height and head shape, Carlton got the last laugh plenty with his bank account and unique dancing style.

4. Lucille Ball

4. Lucille Ball

4. Lucille Ball

4. Lucille Ball

This redhead was a handful for her husband, Ricky Ricardo. Lucy got into so much trouble during her time on television, and it was so much fun to watch her destroy everything she touched.

3. Sheldon Cooper

3. Sheldon Cooper

3. Sheldon Cooper

3. Sheldon Cooper

Who knew nerds could be so funny? Bazinga! Sheldon is way too smart for his own good, and the more he attempts to prove his superior level of brain power over his friends, the longer this show will be on TV.

2. Jerry Seinfeld

2. Jerry Seinfeld

2. Jerry Seinfeld

2. Jerry Seinfeld

The show about nothing was everything to the 90s, and Jerry Seinfeld was the best at using nothing but his words to pull laughs from the viewers.

1. Martin Payne

1. Martin Payne

1. Martin Payne

1. Martin Payne

Martin Payne was able to play the dozens with his friends, play different characters, or just crack you up with straight jokes with aggressive punchlines. Martin was the most talented actor on television in the 90s.