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10 Funniest TV Dads: The Worst to the Best, All of Them Bringing the Laughs for Father’s Day

From all the television sitcom dads we've watched over the years, see the ones who never fail to make us smile


Trying to narrow the Funniest TV Dads down to just 10 is pretty difficult to do when you consider that there have been decades of classic TV filled with them, so we’ve decided not to overthink it and, instead, just go for the ones who have made us laugh the most often through the years.

While the guide we did to classic TV dads at our sister site took an up close look at the patriarchs of such shows as Leave It to Beaver, Father Knows Best and My Three Sons, among others, this time we’re going with some edgier dads. Those who don’t have all the answers, but do their best anyway. And needless to say, no matter how misguided some may be, and despite the things that may come out of their mouthers, there’s no question they love their families, which make these shows — and the funniest TV dads — so enjoyable to watch.

MUST-READ: 10 of the Best Classic TV Dads, Reverse Ranked — Just in Time for Father’s Day

10. Homer Simpson, The Simpsons

The Simpsons: TV's Funniest Dads
The Simpsons: TV’s Funniest Dads©20th Television/courtesy

CHARACTER: Homer Simpson

ACTOR: Dan Castellaneta (voice)

TV SHOW: The Simpsons, 1989 and still going strong

WHAT MAKES THIS DAD FUNNY: He’s ridiculously clueless, oftentimes behaves like a child, is constantly finding himself in outlandish situations and his physical slapstick is unparalleled (aided in no small part by the fact that he’s animated), but there’s no question that he loves his family, consisting of wife Marge and kids Bart, Lisa and Maggie — all of whome have a better sense of reality than he does.

But we need to give Homer, one of our funniest TV dads, some credit: we’ve seen him being a dad of three young kids for 35 years, which is more than enough to make anyone go, “D’oh!”

9. Red Forman, That ’70s Show/That ’90s Show

That 70's Show: TV's Funniest Dads
That 70’s Show: TV’s Funniest Dads©20th Television/courtesy


ACTOR: Kurtwood Smith

TV SHOW: That ’70s Show, 1998 to 2006; That ’90s Show, 2023 to 2024

WHAT MAKES THIS DAD FUNNY: With threatening to put his foot up someone’s butt a constant refrain, it would be difficult to look at Red Forman as a gentle soul. Instead, he’s sarcastic, gruff and pretty much says whatever he feels — no matter how insulting. Maybe it’s because he’s surrounded by his kids and their friends who don’t seem to get too worked up about … well, anything, and he finds it infuriating. Still, you have to admire a father who’s never at a loss for words.

And if you’re wondering whether or not he changed between series and the two-decades separating their time periods …. nah.

MUST-READ: Catch Up with That ’70s Show Cast

8. Frank Barone, Everybody Loves Raymond

Frank Barone: TV's Funniest Dads
Frank Barone: TV’s Funniest Dads©CBS/courtesy

CHARACTER: Frank Barone

ACTOR: Peter Boyle

TV SHOW: Everybody Loves Raymond, 1996 to 2005

WHAT MAKES THIS DAD FUNNY: Coming from the school of “I was the provider, that proves my love,” Frank Barone represents the old-time father who believes children are better off being seen and not heard … actually, if he had his way, they wouldn’t be seen either. This is another of the funniest TV dads who says what’s on his mind, though oftentimes you’re left wondering exactly what’s going on up there. The insults to his boys, Raymond and Robert, oftentimes includes some variation of the name “Nancy” whenever they do something that doesn’t measure up to his view of manliness. And while this has nothing to do with his being a father, there are some genuine comic highlights from the insults he trades with wife Marie.

Hearing some of the stuff that comes out of his mouth, you’re left repeating Frank’s oft-uttered, “Holy crap.”

MUST-READ: Where Are They Now — The Cast of Everybody Loves Raymond

7. Al Bundy, Married with Children

Al Bundy: TV's Funniest Dads
Al Bundy: TV’s Funniest Dads©Fox/courtesy


ACTOR: Ed O’Neill

TV SHOW: Married … with Children, 1987 to 1997

WHAT MAKES THIS DAD FUNNY: If anyone can convey the personal woes of being married (to Peg), the father of two (Kelly and Bud) and living the hell that is being a shoe salesman, it’s Al Bundy. Perpetually cranky, politically incorrect and never not frustrated with everything and everyone, the man can be summed up by his answer to the question of the greatest moment in his life. Marriage? Fatherhood? Nah, it’s his high school city football championship from 1966. Like we said at the outset, he, like everyone else on this list, loves their family in his own way, but that doesn’t mean all the negativity isn’t funny.

MUST-READ: Our Favorite Shows Starring Katey Sagal — 11 of the Star’s Must-See Series

6. Archie Bunker, All in the Family

Archie Bunker: TV's Funniest Dads
Archie Bunker: TV’s Funniest Dads©Columbia Pictures Television/courtesy

CHARACTER: Archie Bunker

ACTOR: Carroll O’Connor

TV SHOW: All in the Family, 1971 to 1979

WHAT MAKES THIS DAD FUNNY: The things we appreciate about Archie Bunker — one of our funniest TV dads — are all of the things that we should despise about him, most notably his bigotry, ignorance, intolerance, the way he oftentimes refers to his wife, Edith (he calls her “Dingbat” and warns her to “Dummy up” or “Stifle”); and the fact that his daughter Gloria and her husband, Mike Stivic, cannot be in the same room for more than a few seconds before everyone is shouting. This is the epitome of the battle of the generations and Archie’s one-liners and facial reactions — whether we should be applauding and laughing at them or not — are unlike any other father in a TV sitcom.

What is interesting, and perhaps this makes Archie just a little bit more lovable, is that we gradually discover Archie himself comes from an abusive background, where he felt his father smacking him around was a way to instill moral lessons. This is a man doing the best he can with the few tools he’s been given.

MUST-READ: All in the Family Cast — A Look Back at the Bunkers and How They Changed Television

5. Andy Taylor, The Andy Griffith Show: Funniest TV Dads

Elinor Donahue and the cast of The Andy Griffith Show
Elinor Donahue and the cast of The Andy Griffith Show in 1960©Paramount Pictures/courtesy

CHARACTER: Andy Taylor

ACTOR: Andy Griffith

TV SHOW: The Andy Griffith Show, 1960 to 1968

WHAT MAKES THIS DAD FUNNY: There are times when Sheriff Andy Taylor comes across as the only sane man in Mayberry as he interacts with the oftentimes eccentric townspeople. He handles most everything with a state of calm, clever wit and a folksy charm. Doing so he manages to exude a great sense of humor, and all of those things he brings to raising his boy, Opie. Not to say he doesn’t get strict when it’s necessary, but he is a steady influence, always ready with a clever thought or musing that won’t make you guffaw, but will surely bring a smile.

MUST-READ: Otis the Drunk — 10 Sobering Facts About Hal Smith and His Andy Griffith Show Character

4. Dan Conner, Roseanne/The Conners

The Conners
Dan Conner: TV’s Funniest Dads©ABC/courtesy


ACTOR: John Goodman

TV SHOW: Roseanne, 1988 to 1997, 2018; The Conners, 2018 and Still Going

WHAT MAKES THIS DAD FUNNY: Right from the start, Dan Conner was well aware of his lot in life, struggling to raise a family in a working-class household and oftentimes close to going under. But humor goes a long way in keeping the Conners afloat, and there is no question that Dan, no matter how difficult things get, loves his wife Roseanne and their kids Becky, Darlene and D.J. Tough when he has to be, and oftentimes trying to hold on to some state of control while dealing with rebellious teens who are as strong-willed as their parents, he mostly does so with a great sense of humor that’s occasionally hard-edged, but never derogatory.

MUST-READ: Roseanne Cast Then and Now — A Look Back at the Stars of the Groundbreaking Comedy

3. Tim Taylor, Home Improvement: Funniest TV Dads

Tim Taylor: TV's Funniest Dads
Tim Taylor: TV’s Funniest Dads©ABC/courtesy

CHARACTER: Tim “The Toolman” Taylor

ACTOR: Tim Allen

TV SHOW: Home Improvement, 1991 to 1999

WHAT MAKES THIS DAD FUNNY: As the man who really shouldn’t be the host of a DIY television show called Tool Time, Tim Taylor knows half of what he thinks he does, frequently making the wrong decisions for himself — which land him in conflict with wife Jill — and imparting life lessons to his boys, Mark Randy and Brad that always just seem a little bit off. The love is there, though, and Tim is often set straight by next door neighbor Wilson, who always seems to have the sort of advice that sets Tim on the right path, with humor guiding the way.

MUST-READ: Cast of Home Improvement — See the Hilarious 90s Sitcom Stars Then and Now

2. Ray Barone, Everybody Loves Raymond

The Barone family
Ray Barone: TV’s Funniest Dads©CBS/courtesy


ACTOR: Ray Romano

TV SHOW: Everybody Loves Raymond, 1996 to 2005

WHAT MAKES THIS DAD FUNNY: A sportswriter for the Long Island, New York newspaper Newsday, Ray Barone is happily married to Debra and they have three great kids in the form of Ally and twin boys Geoffrey and Michael. Sounds perfect, doesn’t it? Well, yeah, until you factor in that his parents — Marie and Frank — live right across the street, his insecure brother Robert (convinced Marie loves Raymond more) is always around, and the women in his life are constantly domineering him and pulling him in different directions. On top of all of that, Raymond is a neurotic, insecure mess who sometimes has a strange way of handling situations. Full of self-deprecating humor, he’s always funny as he tries to cope with … well, all of that!

MUST-READ: Doris Roberts — 13 Facts About the Everybody Loves Raymond Star

1. Cliff Huxtable, The Cosby Show: Funniest TV Dads

Cliff Huxtable and family
Cliff Huxtable: TV’s Funniest Dads©NBC/Universal/courtesy

CHARACTER: Dr. Cliff Huxtable

ACTOR: Billy Cosby

TV SHOW: The Cosby Show, 1984 to 1992

WHAT MAKES THIS DAD FUNNY: Okay, when looking at the funniest TV dads, this is where we’ve got to separate the art from the artist, because whatever your feeling about the man who plays him, Dr. Cliff Huxtable, especially during the first few seasons of the show, is without a doubt one of the funniest fathers in sitcom history. Husband of lawyer Clair Huxtable and father of Denise, Theo, Vanessa, Rudy and Sondra, he’s capable of mining humor out of virtually every situation without making it feel like he’s presiding over a cartoon family. It’s all very real and when the kids are seeking real answers to genuine questions, their parents are always there to provide them while providing guidance. Laughter, however, remains at the forefront.

MUST-READ: A Different World Cast — Where Are They Now?

Enjoy much more of our look at Classic TV!

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