Over the last couple of years, I’ve been a casual watcher of ‘Saturday Night Live,’ starting when someone dubbed a season (I think it was 2009?) the worst one ever.  During that time, I have enjoyed a lot of quietly brilliant moments, a few utterly awful ones, crushed hard on Nasim Pedrad and Kristen Wiig (and even a little bit on new girl Cecily Strong) and also enjoyed the many cameos by the likes of Jon Hamm and Alec Baldwin.  Most surprising of all was the transformation of boy-band jackwagon Justin Timberlake into a genuinely funny and remarkably versatile performer, who gave me an unstoppable laughing fit with nothing but his facial expressions and the words, “But privately?  He hit that.”  Back in the N-SYNC era, I would have bet nothing could make me a fan of any of those kids, but a decade or so later, I love me some J.T. and can’t stomach Jenny McCarthy.  Life is indeed strange, which brings us to today’s query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) knows that ‘funny,’ like ‘frightening’, is in the eye of the beholder, asking:  Who is the most surprisingly funny person in all of pop-culture?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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12 Comments

  1. May 11, 2013 at 11:53 am — Reply

    My example of a complete stick in the mud turned comedy gold mine is NHL goalie Roberto Luongo. He was famous for being terrible with the media. A withdrawn, sullen person with narry a funny bone in his body. This was until it was revealed he had a secret Twitter account (@strombone1) where he hilariously pokes fun at himself and other NHLers. It was only earlier this year when he confirmed it was in fact his account. Everybody looks at him in an entirely different light now.

  2. May 11, 2013 at 2:22 pm — Reply

    Rockabilly/Pop star Chris Isaak is funnier than you’d expect. His Showtime show was funny as hell, and he does borderline standup in his shows.

    Luongo and the Canucks other goalie Corey Scheider did a pretty funny bit in a bathroom over who was #1 and who was #2… unfortunately I can’t find the clip, they all seem to have been taken down :( Oh and, Go Senators!

  3. May 11, 2013 at 3:45 pm — Reply

    Prof. Stephen Hawking. The man is a brilliant scientist, so seeing him pop up on “Simpsons” and “Futurama” lending his own voice(box) when they could easily synthesize it is not only a surprise, it is hilarious. And whenever he shows up on any show (sitcom, talk show, etc) and pokes fun at himself, I’m always in tears laughing.

  4. AllenBT
    May 11, 2013 at 6:49 pm — Reply

    William Shatner. In his younger days his “Acting” style in dramatic roles was always unintentionally funny, whether as a guest star of the week in numerous black & white era TV series, as Kirk or as TJ Hooker.

    But the guy has surprisingly good timing as a comedic actor, in Boston Legal.

    And in several unscripted appearances and interviews, he surprisingly doesn’t seem to take himself too seriously. Certainly his rep immediately post TOS, as having a total stick up his but, would have suggested otherwise.

    Still too many TV Commercials though…

  5. May 11, 2013 at 7:22 pm — Reply

    The Hoff has been my gold standard for actors that understand the silliness of celebrity and have no problem poking fun at the phenomena and at themselves. Neil Patrick Harris seems to be another one cut from the same cloth.

    Another favorite unintentional funny guy is Charlie Sheen. His rants are epic.

  6. May 11, 2013 at 9:14 pm — Reply

    Christopher Walken, undoubtedly.

    • alvarlux
      May 11, 2013 at 9:22 pm — Reply

      +1 on Walken

    • May 11, 2013 at 11:13 pm — Reply

      I’m not really “surprised” that he’s funny, but that may be due to my earliest exposure to Walken included the old SNL cowbell sketch.

      But he is hilarious, I agree.

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