There are many ingredients that make up a great sitcom. You always need a classic set of main characters to base the story on. But you also need a great supporting staff. Think about all the amazing side characters that Seinfeld had. The show just wouldn’t have been as good if guys like Babu and the Soup Nazi weren’t on. But I’m not just talking about that. I’m also talking about recurring characters who appear on nearly every episode. And whether they’re serious or funny, they have to be good.
One of those characters? The dumb guy or girl. Sometimes poking fun at these characters can take the show to new levels. And I think that these 20 characters certainly fit that bill. Put it this way, Kimmy Gibbler from Full House and Waldo from Family Matters are NOT good examples. Here are 20 of television’s dumbest sitcom characters (that are actually funny).
Richard Stabone – Growing Pains
Played by Andrew Koenig. The fact that there was ever a television show that featured a guy named “Boner” is simply fantastic. You just can’t beat that. Boner was Mike’s dumb witted friend and he had his moments. “Mista Seavuh.”
Joey Tribbiani – Friends
Played by Matthew Leblanc. I will admit that I’m not the biggest fan of Friends but you have to put him on this list. And I too can admit that many of the scenes with Leblanc were pretty watchable.
Mallory Keaton – Family Ties
Played by Justine Bateman. Never forget how great a show Family Ties was. And never forget how awesome it was whenever Michael J. Fox and Bateman were in the same room. Some classic moments between the two of them.
Pheobe Buffet – Friends
Played by Lisa Kudrow. I had to put her on this list even though I hated her character. Why? Because I’d be getting tons of annoying comments saying that I forgot to put her on this list.
Kelly Bundy – Married with Children
Played by Christina Applegate. I have to say that Kelly and Bud were one of the best brother sister combos in sitcom history. They were amazing together. It’s weird though, Kelly was actually witty at times always poking fun at Bud’s lack of a sex life. Even so, she said some awfully dumb things at least once a show.
Chrissy Snow – Three’s Company
Played by Suzanne Somers. You didn’t think I’d forget about the 80’s did you? And you can’t mention the 80’s without paying homage to Three’s Company. Chrissy was amazingly dumb and it was really funny watching her “bounce around” all the time. Somers really had a penchant for the slapstick and she did it extremely well. She was probably the most classic of all the roommates to appear on that show.
Mr. Furley – Three’s Company
Played by Don Knotts. You can also argue for his character Barney Fife on The Andy Griffith Show. Knotts is a classic character in any show he’s on. Looking back on it now, the degree of his homophobia was actually really funny on Three’s Company.
Woody Boyd – Cheers
Played by Woody Harrelson. If I were actually making this list a rankings list, he’d clearly be in my top three. Harrelson propelled this show to the top. A Boner and a Woody on TV at the same time. Will that ever happen again?
Homer Simpson – The Simpsons
Played by Dan Castellenata. This is a given.
Chief Wiggum – The Simpsons
Played by Hank Azaria. This is even more of a given. I love whenever he says “take em away boys.”
Ernie “Coach” Pantuso – Cheers
Played by Nicholas Colasanto. People must never forget who the original dumb guy was on Cheers. Some of his lines were classic. Coach clearly paved the way for Woody Harrelson’s character as well as set a standard for characters who are dimwitted. I would argue that Joey on Friends, Andy on Parks and Rec, and a whole host of other characters who are light in the head in some way were influenced by Colasanto’s ability.
Joey Russo – Blossom
Played by Joey Lawrence. “Whoa!” Remember how huge he was at that time?
Ed Norton – The Honeymooners
Played by Art Carney. Let us not forget one of the true original dumb characters, Ed Norton. Art Carney was hilarious back in the 50’s.
Lowell Mather – Wings
Played by Thomas Hayden Church. I wasn’t a huge fan of this show but Hayden Church was pretty funny as dumb repair man Lowell Mather. Even the name Lowell gives off a stupid vibe doesn’t it?
Peter Griffin – Family Guy
Played by Seth MacFarlane. An obvious choice. Man is this show good.
Michael Kelso – That 70’s Show
Played by Ashton Kutcher. Isn’t it hard to believe that Ashton Kutcher was this guy? Talk about an evolution. He went from playing total dumb guy roles like this one, Dude Where’s My Car, etc etc to eventually being with Demi Moore, now Mila Kunis, and being known as a solid tech investor as well as multi million dollar sitcom star. It’s just funny watching him as Kelso these days. It’s almost as if it’s not Kutcher.
Hilary Banks – Fresh Prince of Bel Air
Played by Karyn Parsons. The snotty rich girl.
Gilligan – Gilligan’s Island
Played by Bob Denver. It was all worth it if he ever got a piece of Ginger or Mary Ann.
Officer Barbrady – South Park
Played by Trey Parker. I had to get someone from South Park into this list, and who better than the dumbest character on the show?
Michael Scott – The Office
Played by Steve Carell. Personally I think the character Michael Scott was the reason this show wasn’t nearly as funny as it should have been. However, it’s tough to have a list like this and not include him.
*honorable mention to the Buddy Lembeck in Charles in Charge