People seem to love workplace comedies, whether on TV or in the movies. Maybe it’s because they provide us a funny (and often true) look into our lives. They showcase the eccentricities and, sometimes, excitement that can come out of the mundane environments in which we spend our days.
There are hundreds or maybe even thousands of workplace characters that make our sides split in laughter, but here are our Top Ten (in no particular order).
1. Homer Simpson – The Simpsons
Sure, Homer is the main character of the show, and most of his hijinks occur outside of the Nuclear Plant, but his miscalculations and general incompetence at work make him one of the funniest workplace characters of all times, in addition to being one of the funniest general characters of all time.
2. Michael Scott – The Office
He can be stupid. He can be infuriating. He can make you feel downright uncomfortable. But there’s no doubt that the good-intentioned, but socially awkward Michael Scott is downright hilarious. Whether he’s putting his foot in his mouth or burning his foot on a Foreman grill, the laughs keep coming from the Paper King of Scranton.
3. Bill Lumbergh – Office Space
The smug, condescending, and creepy Lumbergh just makes your skin crawl – and that’s why we love him. With his bold, dated dress shirts and bad haircut, he perfectly encapsulates the overbearing and under-appreciative boss we’ve all had at some point in time. Bill Lumbergh’s mannerisms and facial expressions are slightly over the top – but still realistic enough to make them believable and hilarious.
4. J. Peterman – Seinfeld
Based on the actual retail mogul, John O’Hurley’s portrayal of J. Peterman as Elaine’s boss on “Seinfeld” is one of the greatest “minor” characters to ever grace the TV screen. The boss’s eccentricities constantly grind down Elaine’s patience, and his commitment to his clothing lines is comically intense.
5. Tracy Jordan – 30 Rock
Although Liz Lemon provides plenty of hilarious content, Tracy Jordan regularly steals the show with his erratic behavior and goofy ideas.
6. Charlie Kelly – It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Always Sunny doesn’t quite seem like a workplace comedy, because, well, they don’t seem to ever work. But the gang does in fact run Paddy’s Pub, albeit without much success. The dimwitted Charlie does most of the custodial work and maintenance at the bar, but he also doesn’t seem to do it very well.
7. Selina Meyer – Veep
Although political comedies these days walk a fine line between satire and reality, Selina Meyer has been one of the best characters on TV since 2012. Going from VP to President to losing her job, her casual callousness and disdain for the general public provide a humorous look at how we might expect our actual politicians behave behind closed doors.
8. Tommy Callahan – Tommy Boy
College dropout Tommy Callahan is the perfect example of a lovable but bumbling dimwit who has no business holding the job that he has. But since Tommy’s dad runs the company, he’s brought on board to save the company, and constantly annoy Richard in the process. This classic comedy has it all – slapstick humor, one-liners, and even heartfelt moments.
9. Ron Burgundy – Anchorman
The overconfident Ron Burgundy is one of the great characters of the early 2000’s. It’s also one of Will Ferrell’s best performances, cracking us up with unexpected vulgarities, over-the-top dramatic soliloquies, and an overall tacky demeanor that we just can’t get enough of.
10. Norm Peterson – Cheers
Okay, so Norm doesn’t actually work at the bar. But he is there pretty much all the time, providing comedic fodder for the staff and patrons alike. We may not know how he can spend so much time in a bar, but we’re certainly happy that we get to hear some of his crackpot theories and his interactions with Cliff.