J2 Content – Perspectives

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TV’s Funniest Substance Abusers

As often happens with children, the topic of drug use came up today and I was forced to explain the distinction between using drugs and abusing drugs. The conversation inevitable turned to all the funny characters on television who are clearly addicted to some kind of controlled substance. Here is a collection of the funniest.

1. Jim Ignatowski (Christopher Lloyd) – Taxi
What could make a young Ivy League undergrad from a rich, influential family become a burned out reverend/cabbie with questionable judgment and a terrible memory? I doubt that even Jim could compile a complete list? At least his driving isn’t any less safe than most New York cabbies.

2. Otis Campbell (Hal Smith) – The Andy Griffith Show
If only all drunks could be counted on to walk themselves into a police station and sleep off the night’s festivities, the world would be a much better place for us and them.

3. Barney Gumble & Otto Mann (Dan Castellenata & Harry Shearer) – The Simpsons
What is more disconcerting? A stoned bus driver in charge of the lives of young children or a blackout drunk driving four hours to New York City?

4. Dr. Johnny Fever (Howard Hesseman) – WKRP in Cincinnati
When you’re entire life exists in the middle of rock and roll culture it’s difficult not to imbibe. Although it must be great not to have to shave ever.

5. Foster Brooks & Dean Martin – The Dean Martin Show
All the biographies say that their drunkenness was an act. I suppose that’s what Lindsey Lohan’s biography will say as well.

6. Manny the Hippie – The Late Show with David Letterman
Although his fame was short-lived, I was a huge fan. Never have I seen someone so unabashedly proud of their burned out, skeevy, conning persona.

7. Nigel Wick (Craig Ferguson) – The Drew Carey Show
I always wondered why he was such a terrible boss. Eventually we found out why. You’d have to be “chasing the dragon” to continue to employ Drew and Mimi.

8. Larry Finkelstein (Alan Rachins) – Dharma & Greg
How the tight ass from LA Law became burned out Dharma’s dad I’ll never know. Even as the series started to get lame, Larry always made me laugh.

9. John Hemingway (John Larroquette) – The John Larroquette Show
The best part of Hemingway was that even though he was a recovering alcoholic, he was still paying for the mistakes he made while drinking.

10. Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan) – 30 Rock
I’m not exactly sure what Dr. Spaceman has prescribed for Tracy but whatever it is, it makes him funny for the first time in his life.

Hear more from the King of TV on The Paul Goebel Show podcast and at his website, www.TheKingofTV.com. You can also follow Paul on Twitter @PaulGoebelShow.

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