I started inhaling comedy by the series after I saw the "don't mention the war" episode of Fawlty Towers and fell off the sofa from laughing. Father Ted, Blackadder and Green Wing were my staples; I'm not a naturally funny person and I marvelled at the brains of Graham Linehan, Ben Elton and Vicky Pile. Below are my favourite characters from the last decade or so (but I could have made this as long as my arm).
Bernard Black (Black Books)
"What did you say to Kate? She thinks I'm the renaissance. She'll think I've lied. I had to go along with all this reclusive genius stuff. She'll be really upset when she finds out I'm a reclusive wanker."
I watched my Black Books box set so much that the DVDs just stopped working. Black Books nursed me through one of my worst hangovers and for years, the theme tune made me do sicky burps. Nice.
My favourite TV show ever is House, because he lives outside the normal conventions of human interaction. In a lot of ways, Bernard Black is the same. Politeness and patience are boring; we all wish we could drink all day and then fuck off to the pub whenever we were fed up of dealing with other people.
Leslie Knope (Parks and Recreation)
"You're ridiculous and 'men's rights' is nothing." (To MRAs at a rally).
So much of comedy is men behaving like wankers (Bernard Black, Malcolm Tucker) and I love it. But how wonderful to have a female character who is both amazing at her job, tries to do the right thing in every situation and is just plain nice.
My friend Rosie always says I'm like Leslie Knope and it's probably the best compliment I've ever been given. We can all try to be a bit more like her.
Kelly Kapoor (The US Office)
"You guys, I'm like, really smart now. You don't even know. You could ask me, "Kelly, what's the biggest company in the world? And I'd be like, "Blah blah blah, blah blah, blah, blah, blah" giving you the exact right answer."
I was originally going to put Dwight Schrute from The US Office in this spot, but I love Mindy Kaling so much that it seemed a crime to leave her out, especially since she wrote or co-wrote a lot of the show. The original UK version of The Office is objectively better, but I find awkward comedy really difficult to sit through, so the US version toes the line in a way that suits my personal taste.
I loved Mindy as Kelly because I would have fucking hated Kelly in real life. She is vacuous and shallow but somehow, Mindy gives her heart and I related to all her insecurities. She so wants to be taken seriously and to be loved and I love her for it.
Malcolm Tucker (The Thick of It)
"No, he's useless. He's absolutely useless. He's as useless as a marzipan dildo."
TV networks, especially in the US, have a terrible habit of flogging a programme until it's dead. There are so many that just go on for too long, until the material is dry and repetitive. I wish The Thick of It would go on forever, I really do. I wish it was on every day, reflecting what's going on in current politics and taking the piss out of it.
Malcolm Tucker is the character that made me realise I want to have sex with Peter Capaldi, which was a very important revelation. He also gave us the best comebacks ever heard on television, as well as the parting farewell "fuckity bye" which will live forever (although that's actually from In the Loop). I love stories about people who are completely consumed by their jobs and Malcolm is one of the best.
Sue White (Green Wing)
"Creepin' Jesus, these are supposed to have been washed!"
"Washed?! Wait, it's not new?!
"No, it's not new...why would I have a box of new clothes in my office? No, Martin, it's not new. This is the dead box."
"...These are the clothes of dead people..?!"
"Name hasn't fooled you then?"
Sue White is my inspiration for basically everything in life. I love people who don't take their jobs seriously and Sue's disdainful treatment of everyone who comes to her for help makes me really happy! Michelle Gomez improvised a lot of her lines and I love watching the other characters' reactions to her.
Please tell me some of your favourite comedic characters in the comments!