TV's 12 Funniest Running Jokes Ever

When it comes to sheer quantity of side-splitting laughs, TV always trumps movies. Think about it: How could a two-hour flick possibly compete with 10 seasons of Friends (or even a few episodes of Parks and Rec)? Our favorite TV shows have been supplying the funny for years on end, so we decided to pay homage to these bastions of comedy gold. From George Costanza's ridiculous lies to Michael Scott's hysterical grudge — and, even way back to Barney Fife and Lucy Ricardo's antics — these are the best running jokes to grace the small screen (over and over again).
"Ann Who?"; Arrested Development
Meeting the parents can be tough, and no one knows that more than Bland — er, Ann. Michael can never quite remember her, let alone grasp his son's attraction to the girl. He even leaves her behind in Mexico, for goodness sake! And, when he calls her Egg, Plant, and Yam, among other one-syllable nouns? Gets us every time.
Michael Hates Toby; The Office
Poor Toby. What did he ever do to deserve Michael Scott's wrath? From throwing pens at Toby to telling him, "I hate looking at your face. I want to smash it," Michael truly shows no mercy. But, time and again his hatred translated to hilarity — just try not to laugh at Michael's stunt in the clip above.
Leslie's Love of Waffles; Parks and Recreation
"We need to remember what's important in life: friends, waffles, work," said the great Leslie Knope. (Truer words have never been spoken.) When Ann has to tell Leslie she's moving, she knows waffles are the only way to soften the blow.
Smelly Cat, Friends
You gotta love Phoebe — horrible singing voice, and all. Her Central Perk performance art was always good for a few chuckles, but "Smelly Cat" still brings the laughs years after the show's end.
Rose's Questions; The Golden Girls
The bit: Rose asks an airhead question, Dorothy fires back with a sarcastic comment. No matter how many times this gag was played out, we never tired of the hysterical interaction between the two roomies.
Douchebag Jar; New Girl
The rule was simple: Every time Schmidt said something douchey — i.e. "Have you seen my sharkskin laptop sleeve?" — he had to pop some money in the Douchebag Jar. It's arguably the best of all the gang's hair-brained ideas.
Art Vandelay; Seinfeld
After all the ridiculous pickles George got himself into, you'd think he'd learn not to lie so often. But, we're glad he didn't, because we got gems like Art Vandelay — the pseudonym he used for everything from trying to extend his unemployment check to talking to women. Unsurprisingly, it usually backfired on him.
Uncle Jesse's Hair; Full House
Never. Touch. The. Hair. Always perfectly moussed and groomed just so, Uncle Jesse's hair was his most prized possession. His love for his hair was perhaps only topped by his obsession with Elvis.
"Whatchu Talkin' 'Bout Willis?"; Diff'rent Strokes
Try as we might, no one can nail this famous phrase quite like Arnold. His four words forever have a place in TV history.
Barney Accidentally Shooting His Gun; The Andy Griffith Show
A deputy sheriff who doesn't know how to handle a gun? Pure comic genius when it's the one-and-only Barney Fife. It's even better when Andy punishes him by making him carry a single bullet in his pocket.
Jazz Getting Thrown Out of the House; Fresh Prince of Bel Air
Uncle Phil was never a fan of Will's friend Jazz, and he let it be known all right — by throwing him out of the house every time the teen did or said something offensive. And, let's face it, that was a lot.
Lucy Wanting To Be In Ricky's Shows; I Love Lucy
Last but not least, we're throwing it back to one of comedy TV's originals — and an all-time great — I Love Lucy. Lucy desperately wanted to be in Ricky's shows but, alas, she couldn't quite hit those notes. Of course, we all (Ricky included) loved the infectious redhead, anyway.

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