As a television show that regularly enters the conversation for the impact its brutal violence has on the outside world, The Walking Dead is not poised to take home any Outstanding Comedy Series awards at the Emmys in the future. But, like its comic book source material, the AMC drama is more than capable of drawing smiles out of audiences or, with lesser frequency, drawing smiles from its characters.
And so we present The Walking Dead's 8 funniest characters, taking into consideration each person's time-span on the show and what their senses of humor are like, as well as how frequently they're known for killer lines, reactions and performances. In the end, of course, humor is subjective, so we all might find different things amusing. Our first entry is the perfect example of a polarizing fellow. (Spoilers below if you're only caught up through Season 6.)
Actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan had big shoes to fill when he was cast as the foul-mouthed and morally endangered Negan, whose comic counterpart stands as one of modern fiction's best villains. Perhaps tellingly, Morgan and his million-dollar smile are the reason why Negan is a comedic guilty pleasure, since this dude is a radical monster in several ways. He hasn't quite solidified the tyrants iconic appeal yet, but there's an undeniable energy every time he and Lucille are sauntering across the screen together. And he can't go two lines without making me laugh. But those are dark laughs.
Not an indication of how things will play out on The Walking Dead series - yeah, right - Rick eases past his newest nemesis based largely on time served. After all, the elder Grimes is a character who made headlines during Season 7 because we actually got to see him smile with unbridled glee. But just because Rick isn't known for silly puns or epic pranks, that doesn't mean he hasn't been responsible for his fair share of hilarity. Particularly if you think neck-biting is a hoot. Season 7 took a lot of that out of Rick, but it appears to be creeping back.
To me, Eugene is the macrocosm of what Joe Q. Average would do in the event of the apocalypse. "Lie about credentials. Suck at killing things. Lose at hair. Embrace video games." And it's precisely because Eugene is more intelligent mouse than virile lion that he's so amusing. His Southern graces have taken a warping in the post-apocalypse, and there isn't a single situation that he can't figure out a way to make slightly more uncomfortable by speaking 10% too long. And wherever his future resides, one has to assume The Walking Dead will continue to keep Eugene's mullet afloat with ball-biting good times.
A character who has faced as much tragedy as The Walking Dead has to offer a person, Carol admittedly took a while to come around to being the sardonic pragmatist that we know today. (If Sophie's death was good for anything...) Like Negan, Carol can sometimes deliver lines where the humor takes on a cruel nature (see: everything she every told Sam), but unlike Negan, she's also responsible for lots of heartwarmingly humorous moments and laugh-out-loud displays of badassery. But in a good way, such as when she blew up a ton of walkers and went all Susie "Rogue Wolf" Homemaker.
As Merle Dixon, I'm pretty sure Michael Rooker only had to get used to making two faces: the let's-all-be-great-friends smile and the I'm-gonna-cut-you sneer. And they both work with equal success, with zero diminishing value. He was a ruthless, loud and repugnant dickhead, which is bad, but Rooker's unencumbered energy sells it all as enjoyable, which is good. Plus, he's the kind of character constantly getting put in shitty situations, offering poetic justice for his awfulness. Hand cut off? Hilarious. Fixed up that stump with a blade? Awesome. Fingers bitten off? Love it. And while not in contention for this list, Walker Merle's death led Daryl's cry-face. Classic.
Fans owe their love of Abraham's dialogue to Eugene, who saved the man from a grief-stricken fate, and many scenes between the two characters were fuel for the cigar-chomping ginger's placement here. Admittedly, Abraham worked best as a comedic character when he was nailing one-liners and popping bullets in things, as his emotional inner workings weren't all that amusing. I believe we can all agree on Abraham's best moment coming at the very end, when he spent his last breaths telling Negan what part of his genitalia to suck. Crass, sure, but this isn't a list built on a highbrow foundation.
A fan favorite for many reasons, Daryl Dixon hits upon all the different ways that someone can be funny on The Walking Dead. He can deliver a sarcastic clapback with the force of a crossbow bolt, he can let loose with a mania-induced rant, he can make a villain look like a complete dipshit, and he can spontaneously show up with a rocket launcher to save the day. He's a shoe phone away from being Maxwell Smart. (Not a precise assessment.) Unlike the miserable folks around him, Daryl is one of few Walking Dead characters who could be completely alone and be ten times more hilarious. Especially with booze.
One one hand, Jerry shouldn't be here, because The Walking Dead has given Jerry very limited screentime so far. (Still more than Heath, probably.) But on the other hand, Jerry should also be all of the entries on this list. As the Laurel to Ezekiel's Hardy-with-Messiah-Complex, Jerry is basically batting .1000 when it comes to winning over viewers, and he's the closest that The Walking Dead has to textbook comic relief. Given his treatment to this point, I assume and hope the show keeps him in this state, which would eventually make him the funniest character, even if he wasn't already. And so...everyone congratulate Jerry! Somebody see if we have any acorns around, because I feel like having cake.
The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights on AMC at 9:00 p.m. ET. Let us know who you think the funniest character is and head to our midseason premiere schedule to see everything heading to the small screen in the future.
Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.
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