5 Phenomenally Funny Christmas Movie Characters

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Christmas movies come in all shapes and varieties. From Christian-themed films to the Hallmark Channel mush, the holiday has invited literally hundreds of movies. As you look at the vast library of Christmas films you can’t help but find a ton of really funny characters. That’s who we are looking at today. Undoubtedly many would come to mind at just the mention of funny Christmas movie characters. So with that in mind, I wouldn’t call this the definitive list. But there’s no denying that these a five funny Christmas movie characters are nothing short of phenomenal.

#5 – Myron Larabee (“Jingle All the Way”)

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“Jingle All the Way” may not be considered a Christmas classic but it is one my family watches almost every year. Schwarzenegger plays the bad father who forgets to grab his son a Turbo-Man action figure for Christmas. He tears out on Christmas Eve to try to pick up what is the hottest toy of the holiday season. That’s when he runs into Myron played by Sinbad. I’ve never even a huge Sinbad fan but he’s really funny here. He plays on the deranged postal worker angle and becomes Arnie’s chief friend/rival in obtaining the elusive Turbo-Man. Myron has several laugh-out-loud lines and he’s a huge reason the movie is such fun (at least until the very end).

#4 – Harry and Marv (“Home Alone”)

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Talk about stepping into a new role. Who would have ever thought Joe Pesci would be a highlight of a modern Christmas classic. Such is the case with “Home Alone”. In the film he teams up with Daniel Stern to form a suburban burglar team known as “The Wet Bandits”. Pesci and Stern are hilarious. The two numbskulls meet their match when they try and rob the home of 8-year old Kevin McCallister who has been accidentally left at home by his family. Harry and Marv fall prey to an assortment of Kevin’s booby traps which seem pulled right out of the classic Looney Tunes cartoons. They’re goofy and over-the-top, but they’re also a load of fun.

#3 – Papa Elf (“Elf”)

BOB NEWHART

Ok, this certainly isn’t a character in the same comedic vein as the others on this list, but he is an enormous reason I did the list to begin with. I’m talking about Papa Elf from the Christmas comedy “Elf”. Will Ferrell as Buddy would be the obvious selection here but I have to give some love to Bob Newhart. His casting was brilliant. There are several reasons he is so funny to me. First, we get Bob Newhart in tights and an elf outfit. Priceless! I can’t look at him without laughing. But then there is his serious, deadpan delivery which works to perfection. Newhart is just a funny guy and the way he handles this role cracks me up every time. He has to make my list.

#2 – Cousin Eddie (“Christmas Vacation”)

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Surely you know Cousin Eddie would make this list, right? “Christmas Vacation” is a funny movie but the laughs go off the charts when Eddie and his family crash the Griswold family Christmas. Talk about stealing the show. Randy Quaid’s real-life misadventures proves that he has this type of character figured out. From Eddie’s wardrobes, to his antics, to his nutty lines, the movie is filled with one hysterical Eddie moment after another. As good as “Christmas Vacation” is, it’s safe to say it wouldn’t be the same without cousin Eddie. They just don’t get much funnier than him.

#1 – The Old Man (“A Christmas Story”)

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As funny as all of the aforementioned characters are, there are none that make me laugh more than The Old Man (aka Ralphie’s father) in Bob Clark’s Christmas classic “A Christmas Story”. The late Darren McGavin Is nothing short of brilliant in his portrayal of this working-class father raising his family in Indiana. He has so many wonderful moments. His furnace and Oldsmobile battles, his bargaining with the Christmas tree man, his fights with the neighbors hound dogs, his major award. I could go on and on. He’s not only the funniest Christmas character but he’s one of my favorite characters period. And it’s all because of some very good writing and a fabulous performance from Darren McGavin. He’s my clear #1.

So what do you think of my list? I’d love to hear your favorite funny Christmas movie characters. Please take time to share your thoughts in the comments below.

“National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” – 4 STARS

Vacation posterThere may not be another Christmas movie with more laughs than “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”. Moviegoers have followed the Griswold family on a cross-country vacation, a European vacation, and a Las Vegas vacation. But arguably the funniest of the “Vacation films” focuses on their attempt at a “good old-fashioned family Christmas”. Anyone familiar with the Griswolds knows this is easier said than done and the results are nothing short of pure hysterical fun for the audiences. But while this film does capture many familiar and funny family situations surrounding Christmas time, it also features some of that typical National Lampoon naughtiness that works against the holiday appeal that it has as well.

Chevy Chase reprises his role as Clark Griswold, a well-meaning but moronic husband and father who sets out to have a traditional family Christmas. That includes venturing out in the wild to find a real Christmas tree, decorating the outside of his house with Christmas lights, and inviting his parents and in-laws to his home for the holidays. Naturally there is not a single one of Clark’s good efforts that work out as planned mainly due to his lovable stupidity. Beverly D’Angelo is back as Clark’s wife Ellen who, as in the other movies, perfectly understands her husband’s propensity for overdoing things. She’s a sometimes calming voice of reason and a perfect complement to her nutty husband.

But aside from Clark and Ellen the movie is filled with great characters. E.G. Marshall steals several scenes as Clark’s cantankerous father-in-law Art. He grumbles and gripes and never passes up a chance to put Clark down. Doris Roberts is also good as Ellen’s mom who is a little too friendly with the booze. And then there’s John Randolph who is great as Clark’s supportive father. I also have to mention William Hickey as the stogie-chomping Uncle Lewis and Mae Questel as the senile Aunt Bethany. They arrive later in the film but inject their own heavy doses of laughs. But the real star of the movie is Randy Quaid as cousin Eddie. He and his family show up uninvited and that’s when things really turn wacky. Quaid’s real life antics have proven that this is a part that suits him well. He is absolutely hilarious as a dimwitted bum and moocher who is family nonetheless. Everything from his wardrobe to his mannerisms will remind you of someone that you know and he gobbles up every scene that he is in. It’s safe to say that he steals the movie.

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We get all of the standard “Vacation” occurrences. Several times Clark completely goes out of his mind. Several times he almost kills himself. And of course things go from bad to worse as every one of Clark’s good intentions blow up in his face. And we the audience laugh all the way through it. But that same National Lampoon Standard is also something that keeps the movie from being as great as it could be. It seems they just couldn’t resist putting in several doses of innuendo and raunch, just enough to clash with the holiday spirit that it conveys elsewhere. I know this isn’t a big deal for many people, but I saw this as a wasted opportunity that strips the movie of its Christmasy, family-friendly potential. There are still some incredibly funny moments. But for me, you can’t just set the family down and enjoy it, unless you DVR a TV version.

There are so many scenes and so many lines in “Christmas Vacation” that you just can’t forget. Aside from the few seemingly compulsory instances of vulgarity, its a hilarious comedy that really works. It takes so many of the familiar family and Christmas quirks and accentuates them as only the Griswolds could. It’s hard to believe that “Christmas Vacation” is already 23 years old. But there’s no denying that in that time it has evolved in to a holiday classic. It’s a movie that so many watch every Christmas. I know we do.