Oldies, but goodies

We’re supposed to honour and respect our elders, but the funniest ones are incoherent, maniacal, and out of touch with today’s world. That’s just the way we like them, though. From animation to live action to even puppets, here are the best octogenarians in the world of media.

Grandpa Simpson – The Simpsons

Grandpa Simpson is just simply an awesome character. He’s senile, sometimes irritable, but always lovable. His best moments come when he’s relating a story from the Simpsons’ past. In these flashbacks, we often find out that Grandpa was just as out of touch with the world then, as he is in the current day. And I just have to honour someone – fictional or otherwise – who only has one kidney, like myself. This happened to Grandpa in the episode “Homer Simpson in: Kidney Trouble” after he downed a few too many sarsaparillas before a long car ride home. We’ve all been there!

Waldorf & Statler – The Muppet Show

These two rascals (side note: how funny would it be to see Waldorf and Statler in a bit riding the rascal scooters and causing mayhem to the tune of “Born to be Wild”!) are so curmudgeonly that they spend all their time attending shows they intend to pan. When they attack, they rip into their victims with such veteran venom that it’s a modern science miracle that said victim can walk away after the lashing he or she has received. An antidote has yet to be formulated, but using the DNA of one Fozzy Bear, we hope to have a vaccine ready for distribution by 2015.

Frank Costanza/Arthur Spooner – Seinfeld/King of Queens

Jerry Stiller has proven over the years that his old man act is pure comedy gold. From the cantankerous Frank Costanza, to the petulant ever-scheming Arthur Spooner, Stiller has thrived as an old age performer. Perhaps his greatest moments came in the episode of Seinfeld “The Strike”, where Frank Costanza brought back the holiday of Festivus, including the feats of strength, airing of grievances and let’s not forget those Festivus miracles!

Frank Barone – Everybody Loves Raymond

In a similar vein to Jerry Stiller, Peter Boyle played the snarky, out of touch Frank Barone to perfection on Everybody Loves Raymond. Constantly at odds with his wife Marie and causing issues for his sons and daughter-in-law, Frank was still loveable like you’d love you own insane relatives. With this character, Boyle was nominated seven times for a Best Supporting Actor Emmy, but never won the award, often losing to his good-for-nothing son Robert (Brad Garrett). Sadly, Boyle passed away a year and a half after the series wrapped.

Golden Girls

Thank you for being a friend. The Golden Girls – Dorothy, Estelle, Blanche and Rose – are the only women to make this list and they earned it, they’re hilarious. Their banter back and forth, with one of the gals often handing out a parting shot, was always witty and funny. Betty White, who played Rose, has since gone on to have a thriving career in recent years, playing that sweet old lady that has a bit of a nasty bite to her. This has led to a successful Facebook campaign for her to host Saturday Night Live and numerous roles in TV, movies and even commercials.

Pierce Hawthorne & Leonard Briggs – Community

My brother always said that one day I’d like Chevy Chase… and finally, 44 years into his acting career, I do. As Pierce Hawthorne, Chase plays a sexist, racist, homophobic psychopath – all the ingredients for a wonderful character… and he plays it well.  Leonard Briggs is a reoccurring character on the show, who heads up a crew of other oldies but baddies called The Hipsters (because each member has had hip replacement surgery). Briggs also ran for student body president, changing his last name to Rodriguez to capitalize on the Latino voters.

Professor Farnsworth – Futurama

Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth is as dementia-ridden as they come. The owner and operator of Planet Express, he sends his crew off on missions that are doomed to fail, while inventing the most insane and useless items known to future-kind. And you can’t really blame him for losing all his marbles. At the age of 28, I feel like I’m slowly starting to lose mine and Farnsworth is somewhere between 150 and 170 years old.

John Gustafson & Max Goldman – Grumpy/Grumpier Old Men

Jack Lemmon and Walter Mathau have appeared in numerous movies together, but nothing compares to their two entries as Grumpy Old Men. As they compete with one another and often prank each other, the laughs pile up. Along with Burgess Meredith (playing Grandpa Gustafson), the amount of old man comedy in these flicks is high and hilarious. The gag reel for these movies, shown at the end of the films are hilarious, particularly when Meredith tries a number of different lines to relay various sexual euphemisms.

Ken Titus – Titus

Ken Titus is as nasty as they come, with his penchant for alcohol, tobacco, women, gambling and mean-spirited fun. He’s the furthest from having a heart of gold – in fact he’s had numerous heart attacks and other health issues, thus making his core as black as his soul – but that doesn’t make him any less funny. In reality, Papa Titus was just trying to raise his kids right and hoping they didn’t turn out to be ‘wussies’, as he often called them when they weren’t living up to his expectations.

William Shatner – Everything he does nowadays

Like fine wine, Shatner’s skills and career seem to get better with age. Every time you think you’ve seen the last of him, a new project with him attached to it comes onto the horizon. Most recently, he played the dad in “$#*! My Dad Says” a perfect role for the aging icon, but the series only lasted one season. Prior to that, he enjoyed a long run as lawyer Denny Crane, first on The Practice and then in the spinoff Boston Legal. Shatner and Crane share many similar traits, which is saying something since Crane was likely suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Mayor Adam West – Family Guy

In yet another example of a 1960’s icon reviving his career as a senile, delusional old man, Adam West voicing Mayor Adam West on Family Guy is guaranteed laughs. Mayor West is the perfect candidate to lead Quahog. He erected a statue of cereal mascot Dig Em’, sent the town’s police force across the world to search for a fictional character and legalized then quickly illegalized marijuana, as his many works in office. Sounds like your typical politician to me. And hey, how come Batman doesn’t dance anymore?

Honourable Mentions:

Grandpa Marsh – South Park

Lieutenant Columbo – Columbo

Ben Matlock – Matlock

George Steinbrenner – Seinfeld

Mr. Magoo – What’s New Mr. Magoo

Cotton Hill – King of the Hill

Harry Caray (Will Farrell) – Saturday Night Live

Thurston Howell III – Gilligan’s Island

Grandpa Munster – The Munsters

Herbert – Family Guy

Creed Bratton – The Office


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