Friday, March 02, 2012

15 Funniest TV Lawyers

15. Alan Shore and Denny Crane, Boston Legal

James Spader and William Shatner played these two quirky lawyers and womanizing best friends on Boston Legal. Alan was the brilliant but funny left-winger with a fear of clowns and a love of the ladies. Denny was the narcissistic Conservative who loved guns and saying his own name. Their head-butting was often great, especially when guns came into play:

14. Harvey Birdman, Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law

This titular character was often the straight man in a circus of hilarious supporting characters but Harvey could be seriously funny in a very dry, random way. Gary Cole voiced this superhero-turned-attorney who defended an array of Hannah Barbera cartoon characters. In this clip, he represents Shaggy and Scooby Doo:

13. Bob Loblaw, Arrested Development

The very existence of Bob Loblaw is a perfect example of the humor of Arrested Development. Bob first appears in season 3 as the Bluth family lawyer. The first great thing about Loblaw is the fact that he's played by Scott Baio - who replaced Henry Winkler, a fact that is hilariously alluded to. And of course there's the tongue-twisting name that frequently results in a great line like, "You don't need double talk. You need Bob Loblaw." It only gets more complicated when he starts that law blog...

12. Rodney Ruxin, The League

I only placed Ruxin this low on the list because his profession rarely plays into the humor of the character but make no mistake, this guy is hilarious. He is a giant asshole and we love him for it. His crushing insults and frequent exclamations of "Forever uncleeeean!" are classic.

11. Keyrock, Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer, SNL

It is easy for 20-year old Saturday Night Live sketches to disappear in the recesses of my brain, but this one never left me. Created by Jack Handey and performed by Phil Hartman, Keyrock was a neanderthal that was preserved in ice, then unfrozen and went to law school. Despite being wealthy and well-educated, he repeatedly claims to be primitive and confused in order to sway juries (see clip):

10. Jackie Chiles, Seinfeld

Phil Morris portrayed this Johnnie Cochran parody with grandiose vocabulary and rhyming adjectives. Jackie represented Kramer in many-a silly situation, including a coffee spilling case (see clip) and a cigarette smoke disfigurement suit.

9. Hyper-Chicken, Futurama

He did not appear often, but the hyper-chicken (or simply, "chicken lawyer" as many call him) made a hilarious impression whenever he did. Oh, the irony of his Colonel Sanders outfit and Southern drawl.

8. John Cage, Ally McBeal

Peter MacNicol won an Emmy for his portrayal of John Cage, half of the Cage & Fish law firm on Ally McBeal. Also known affectionately as "The Biscuit", John was full of eccentricities (Porky Pig stutter, nose whistle) and quirky habits (humming in court, screaming like a girl). 

7. Dan Fielding, Night Court

John Larroquette played Dan Fielding, the sex-crazy narcissistic prosecutor. He would try anything to get a woman to sleep with him, especially public defender, Christine Sullivan. Dan was always a great source for snide one-liners and insults. Fielding was also great at reaction shots (see clip):

6. Ted Buckland, Scrubs

Sam Lloyd plays Sacred Heart's resident sad sack and attorney, Ted. Respected by no one and constantly demeaned by Dr. Kelso, Ted is depressive and suicidal. That may not sound hilarious but it so is. Here he is competing with a dog for approval:

5. Lionel Hutz, The Simpsons

This shyster lawyer, voiced by Phil Hartman, frequently shows up on The Simpsons whenever there is money to be made. His law firm, located in a shopping mall, is called "I Can't Believe It's a Law Firm!" and his business card turns into a sponge when you put it in water.

4. Phil Ken Sebben, Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law

Whether or not Phil is actually a lawyer is suspect, but he does run a law firm so let's say yeah. The one-eyed boss with a fondness for innuendo is voiced to perfection by Stephen Colbert. His brazen behavior and classic "HA-HA-HA!"s never fail to inspire a good laugh.

3. Saul Goodman, Breaking Bad

This may be the only non-comedy show on this list, but much of the humor on Breaking Bad comes from this guy. That should come as no surprise considering he is portrayed by Bob Odenkirk (Mr. Show). Saul Goodman, who actually made up a fake name to sound Jewish, is your classic self-interested shyster lawyer. As Jesse would say, Saul is not just a criminal lawyer, but a And there is no pickle he can't get you out of, so if you're a scumbag too, better call Saul!

2. Jack Kelly, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Here is another guy whose legal credentials may be hard to find, but if Uncle Jack says he's a lawyer, then okay! The interest in law obviously runs in the family, what with Charlie's knowledge of "bird law." Jack, however, is more interested in hand size and the whereabouts of little boys he can "wrestle" with.

1. Barry Zuckerkorn, Arrested Development

Of all the brilliant recurring roles on Arrested Development, Barry may be the greatest. Henry Winkler is absolutely hilarious as the inept attorney who frequents transsexual prostitutes and knows exactly what balls look like up close.

Honorable Mention:

Mitchell Pritchett, Modern Family

He may not be the funniest character on Modern Family (or even top 3) but Mitchell definitely has his moments. Jesse Tyler Ferguson's uptight gay lawyer shines when he's running from pigeons or trying to convince everyone how tough he is like this: