5 Phenomenally Funny Christmas Movie Characters

movie_theatre - Phenom 5

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”)


“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”)


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”)


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”)


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”)


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.

REVIEW: “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” (1989)

Fans of the “Vacation” films have followed the Griswold family on a cross-country vacation, a European vacation, and even a Las Vegas vacation. “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” is arguably the funniest of the “Vacation” movies and focuses on their attempt at a “good old-fashioned family Christmas”. Of course anyone familiar with the Griswolds knows this is easier said than done, especially with the well-meaning but blundering patriarch Clark at the helm. For audiences the results are pretty hilarious.

Chevy Chase reprises his role as Clark Griswold. He’s still not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but a he’s good husband and father. As mentioned, this time he sets out to have a traditional family Christmas. That includes venturing out in the wild to find a real Christmas tree, aggressively decorating the outside of his house with Christmas lights, and inviting his parents and in-laws to his home for the holidays. Naturally Clark’s lovable ineptitude ensures that none of his ideas work out as planned, and that’s a big part of the fun.

Beverly D’Angelo returns as Clark’s ever-patient and supportive wife Ellen who (as in every “Vacation” movie) perfectly understands her husband’s propensity for overdoing things. She’s the sometimes calming voice of reason and a perfect complement to her nutty husband. Chase and D’Angelo have always had a terrific chemistry which has always been a strength in every “Vacation” movie.

Image Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Aside from Clark and Ellen, the movie is filled with an assortment of great and infinitely quotable characters. This time around Juliette Lewis plays their daughter Audrey while Johnny Galecki plays their son Rusty. E.G. Marshall steals several scenes as Clark’s cantankerous father-in-law, Art. Doris Roberts is really good as Ellen’s boozy mother, as is John Randolph as Clark’s supportive father. There’s also William Hickey as the stogie-chomping Uncle Lewis and Mae Questel as the near-senile Aunt Bethany. They arrive later in the film but bring some big laughs with them. And how can I not mention Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Nicholas Guest as the Griswolds’ snooty next-door neighbors.

But the real stand-out is Randy Quaid as cousin Eddie, a character who has earned his pop-culture renown. He and his family show up to the Griswold home uninvited, and that’s when things really turn wacky. Eddie is a dimwitted bum and unashamed moocher, but he’s family nonetheless. Everything from his wardrobe to his mannerisms firmly fit into the ‘crazy uncle’ mold. And then Quaid throws in some zany touches all his own. It’s safe to say he doesn’t just steal scenes, he steals the movie.

Like the other films in the “series”, Clark eventually loses his mind and things go from bad to worse as every one of his good intentions blow up in his face. And we get to shamelessly laugh all the way through. At the same time, the ‘National Lampoon’ tag means you’re going to get innuendo and a handful of gags risqué enough to keep this from being what some will consider “family friendly”. But its laughs are undeniable and the script (written by the late, great John Hughes) hits nearly every note.

“Christmas Vacation” has so many scenes and just as many lines that you just can’t forget. Director Jeremiah Chechik has a blast taking so many of the familiar family and Christmas traditions and accentuating them in a way that only the Griswolds could. It’s hard to believe that “Christmas Vacation” is already 33 years old. Yet during that time the film has evolved into a perennial holiday classic. Who would’ve thought?