Top 10 Comic Relief Characters in Drama Series



Top 10 Comic Relief Characters in Drama Series

Written by Garrett Alden

It's nice to have someone around to help ease the tension. Welcome to and today we'll be counting down our picks for the top 10 Comic Relief Characters in Drama Television Series.

For this list, we'll be looking at the characters whose personalities and humor helped offset the more serious aspects of these often serious television dramas and dramedies.

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It’s nice to have someone around to help ease the tension. Welcome to and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 Comic Relief Characters in Drama Television Series.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the characters whose personalities and humor helped offset the more serious aspects of these often serious television dramas and dramedies.

#10: Hiro Nakamura & Ando Masahashi
“Heroes” (2006-10)

As an ensemble show, “Heroes” featured a diverse cast of characters, many of whom tickled our funny bones from time to time, but did not deliver the laughs quite as regularly as these two. Although Hiro, the time-stopping, idealistic young man is funny in his own innocent way, his friend and fellow Japanese officemate Ando is the one who makes them into a hilarious double act. Hiro’s starry-eyed view of heroism and pop culture pairs well with Ando’s more down-to-earth nature, and their friendship is one of the most enduring, and amusing, in the entirety of the show’s run.

#9: David Hodges
“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” (2000-15)

While there were plenty of funny CSIs and lab techs on this long-running crime procedural over the years, David Hodges is arguably the most delightfully weird of the bunchy. Arrogant, rude and socially awkward, Hodges frequently puts his foot in his mouth or else shares way more information than anyone wants to know about a subject. He also has a number of quirks and running gags, including his unusually sensitive nose and his love of “Three’s Company.” Despite his rudeness, Hodges manages to be endearing in his awkwardness. Also... anyone who invents their own board game is pretty cool in our book.

#8: Hoban “Wash” Washburne
“Firefly” (2002-03)

While the whole crew of Serenity is pretty gorram amusing, the ship’s pilot, Wash, is definitely the resident funny man. From his first seconds onscreen, Wash is endearingly silly; playing with toy dinosaurs in what has to be one of the funniest character introduction scenes of that decade. Always ready with a wry or witty remark, no matter the situation, the goofy pilot often helps diffuse situations with his distinct humor. He also makes for a fun double act with his much tougher and more deadpan wife. Wash was one wisecracking leaf on the wind that soared into our hearts.

#7: Thomas "Herc" Hauk & Ellis Carver
“The Wire” (2002-08)

In a show dealing with as much violent crime as this one, some comic relief is a breath of fresh air. Herc and Carver are both detectives in the narcotics unit of the Baltimore police, and provide some levity to many of their scenes, often bickering and bantering with each other over various trivial subjects. While both of them do become involved in more serious story arcs over the course of the series, and despite the fact their own individual journeys take them in very different directions, their initial chemistry established them as one of “The Wire”’s many excellent character relationships - and easily the show’s funniest.

#6: Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham
“Downton Abbey” (2010-15)

Yes, even a show as “proper” as this British period show is not without its own comic relief. The elderly Dowager Countess, Violet Crawley is among the most quick-witted characters to ever grace the small screen, with nearly every sentence out of her mouth taking shape as a dry insult or clever remark. The Countess’ barbed quips were many and varied over the show’s six series run, but the majority were the result of her reaction to then current developments and modernizations, or else to express her disdain for foolishness or bad manners. We can all only hope to be as deft in our wit when we reach her age.

#5: Lucy Moran
“Twin Peaks” (1990-91; 2017-)

The weird and the wacky are everywhere in this offbeat and sinister small town, but Lucy stuck out the most to us as being the comic relief. Although we’d be remiss not to give a shout out to her on and off again beau and eventual husband, the dopey sheriff’s deputy, Andy Brennan. Lucy is the receptionist for the local sheriff’s station, and while she may not always excel at her job, her airheadedness, squeaky voice, and occasional non sequiturs make her an endearing and entertaining part of the Twin Peaks populace.

#4: Peter Paul "Paulie Walnuts" Gualtieri
“The Sopranos” (1999-2007)

This longstanding member of Tony Soprano’s crime family is aptly named – since he’s a little nuts. Primarily serving as a capo, Paulie Walnuts is an oddball of a mobster, given that, while absolutely ruthless when necessary, he’s also quick to tell jokes and frequently goes on tangents about peculiar subject matter. His paranoia has also led him to some rather unusual and amusing places; he once started seeing a psychic after being convinced he’s being haunted. Funny, foul, and loyal, Paulie Walnuts is the one of the most entertaining gangsters in an already very entertaining show about gangsters.

#3: Roger Sterling
“Mad Men” (2007-15)

A partner of Don Draper’s at several ad agencies, Roger Sterling is a man’s man and is always ready with a joke or a clever jibe. With his heavy drinking, smoking, womanizing, overt racism, and general representation of everything wrong with his era of American history, it’s actually pretty surprising that Sterling manages to be so damn funny. And yet, despite the odds, succeed he does. His clashing with the audience’s sensibilities is part of what makes him an effectively funny character, and his near unflappability and confidence adds an additional layer of hilarity whenever he does something ridiculous.

#2: Hugo “Hurley” Reyes
“Lost” (2004-10)

Getting stranded on a strange and frightening island can be a stressful situation, so it’s a good thing we and the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 had Hurley around to remind everyone to take things easy. A big guy with an even bigger heart, this former lottery winner always tried to find the bright side of things and help his fellow castaways to do the same. With his fondness for pop cultural references, Hurley is a funny and down-to-earth dude who keeps things relatable for the survivors and the audience, especially when island events start going off the rails.

Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

Xander Harris
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (1997-2003)

Vincent “Vince” Masuka
“Dexter” (2006-13)

#1: Saul Goodman
“Breaking Bad” (2008-13)

Better call Saul! Walter White’s unscrupulous criminal of a lawyer brings a lot of levity to a series that otherwise relies on otherwise very dark humor to get laughs. Talkative and charming, Saul Goodman is so over-the-top in the cultivation of his image as a seedy attorney, from his numerous burner phones and his sleazy strip mall office, to his horrendously hilarious commercials, that we can’t help but laugh at the absurdity of it all. Besides his profession, Saul is also prone to amusing metaphors and snappy quips that help make him among the most memorable and funny characters in “Breaking Bad.” Is it any wonder he got his own spin-off?