From on-point putdowns to running gags, comedy is one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s greatest superpowers.
But who are the funniest characters in the MCU?
We’re ranking the very best, plus teasing two new Phase 4 characters we reckon are going to be future favourites.
Do you agree with our absolutely correct, 100% scientifically accurate ranking? Let us know!
11. Tony Stark/Iron Man
Tony Stark: genius, billionaire playboy, philanthropist and master of the sarcastic, Sahara-dry put-down only at number 11?
While Robert Downey Jr.’s Stark had to be in our list for his constant and on-point trolling of Thor alone – Point Break! Lebowski! – Iron Man’s impenetrable too-cool-for-school confidence means even his funniest moments are more wry chuckles, than all-out belly laughs.
Still, his sick burns are some of the very best in the MCU.
On meeting Thor for the first time:
Tony: "Uh...Shakespeare in the Park. Doth mother know you weareth her drapes?”
10. Peter Quill/Star Lord
Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), ‘80s kid who never grew up, has a planet-sized ego that is hilariously easy to skewer. Something everyone from the Nova Corps to his own GotG mates fall over themselves to do at the slightest opportunity.
The long-running gag about nobody in the galaxy knowing him by his self-coined title Star Lord is never not funny, but Quill isn’t only the butt of other people’s jokes.
Seemingly unfazed by insurmountable odds, his bluster and childish/childlike humour regularly have us grinning.
After pretending to hand crank his middle finger up to give his captors ‘the bird’:
Peter: “Oh, I’m sorry. I didn't know how this machine worked.”
All hail Chris Hemsworth.
It would have been so easy for the God of Thunder to come across as an insufferably worthy warrior but Hemsworth undercuts the Asgardian’s incredible power and pomposity with a hilarious side order of surfer dude idiocy that makes Thor one of the great – albeit unintentional – comedians of the MCU.
Add in a rich seam of fish-out-of-water laughs (like smashing a coffee cup on a diner floor Asgard-style to signal he’s ready for a refill) and our favourite himbo deity is a consistent musclebound delight.
Shouting up to Grandmaster on seeing Hulk burst into the gladiatorial arena on Sakaar to fight him to the death.
Thor: "Hey, we know each other! He’s a friend from work!"
8. Peter Parker/Spider-Man
Comicbook Spider-Man is famous for his rapid-fire funnies, and Tom Holland’s young MCU version has a similar way with off-the-cuff jokes.
However, some of Spidey’s biggest laughs so far have sprung from his inexperience as a superhero tripping over his cringeworthy awkwardness as a regular teen.
From fanboying over Captain America after stealing his shield, to misreading Tony Stark opening a car door as an invitation to hug – “we’re not there yet” – Holland’s gloriously geeky Peter Parker is a gift that just keeps on giving.
Spider-Man, as he’s getting slammed between the ceiling and floor of a bank while fighting armed robbers in cheap plastic Avengers masks:
Spidey: “I’m starting… to think… you’re not… the Avengers.”
7. Scott Lang/Ant-Man
Well-meaning serial screw up Scott Lang is the dictionary definition of ‘adorkable’.
He’s played to deadpan perfection by Paul Rudd as a good-hearted ex-con who’s default position is usually best described as utterly out of his depth.
As a supe who’s still learning how to be a hero - namely Ant-Man - he’s not always the sharpest tool in the Avengers’ box of tricks but his cluelessness is hilarious and he’s blessed with some of the funniest lines you’ll find in the MCU’s first decade.
To Tony Stark and Captain America as they watch the earlier timeline Captain America walk away:
Scott: "As far as I’m concerned, that’s America’s ass."
6. Rocket Raccoon
Voiced with the refined, finishing school tones of a 1970s New York Cabbie by Bradley Cooper, the abrasive Rocket Raccoon could easily hold his own in a sarcasm-off with anyone in the MCU.
He’s laugh-out-loud abrasive, money-obsessed, borderline psychotic and utterly amoral. In other words, he’s the refreshingly foul-mouthed big-screen superhero we need.
The fact that he looks like a fully armed Sylvanian Family figurine just makes his withering insults all the funnier.
Taserface announces that he’s going to be the new leader of the Ravagers only to have Rocket laugh hysterically on hearing his name:
Rocket: "Sorry, I'm so sorry, I just keep imagining you waking up in the morning, looking in the mirror and in all seriousness to yourself saying 'You know what would be a really kick-*ss name? Taserface!' That's how I hear you in my head! What was your second choice? Scrotumhead?"
While everyone else in T’Challa’s life is awestruck by his status as King of Wakanda, his genius younger sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) remains deeply, hilariously unimpressed by it all.
As such, she never misses an opportunity to puncture Black Panther’s regal self-importance with a sick burn (delivered with a good natured smile of course), grounding her big bro brilliantly and often to his delight.
And we just love the way she gives fellow – but lesser – genius Bruce Banner a verbal pat on the head in Infinity War – “I’m sure you did your best”.
As an unconscious Everett K. Ross is wheeled towards her lab:
Shuri: “Great, another broken white boy for us to fix.”
You’d expect the Norse God of Mischief to have quick wit but Tom Hiddleston’s Loki is so persistently funny and charming that it’s very hard to hate him even when he’s trying to subjugate the whole of humanity and murder his adopted big bro Thor (yet again).
Mischievous In extremis, breathtakingly sarcastic and an absolute master of deadpan delivery, Loki doesn’t care at all if anyone else thinks he’s funny.
He’s all about amusing himself and we’re so there for it.
To the space where a split second earlier, Thor was threatening him with a “listen well, brother,” only to get knocked flying by Iron Man:
Loki: "I’m listening…"
3. Drax the Destroyer
Intergalactic Kylosian criminal Drax (Dave Bautista) makes us laugh harder than almost anyone in the MCU, and we love that he wouldn’t understand why for one moment.
Is it his gleeful approach to battle? His entirely literal mind that just doesn’t get metaphors or symbolism (“metaphors are going to go over his head.” “Nothing goes over my head”)?
Or is it his pathological inability to censor what comes out of his mouth (“I have famously huge turds!”)?
Yes, yes and, well, yes.
After Tony Stark meets most of the Guardians of the Galaxy and asks who Gamora is:
Drax: "I’ll do you one better – why is Gamora?"
Scott Lang/Ant-Man’s partner in crime, Luis – played to perfection by Michael Peña – isn’t a superhero; he’s not even a particularly good petty criminal (he’s proud to point out to Hope van Dyne/The Wasp that he stole not one but two smoothie machines on a job).
But, Luis is loyal, eternally optimistic and sophisticated in surprising ways (“there was one Rothko [painting] that was sublime, bro”). What’s more, he has the kind of everyday superpower we’d love – an ability to launch into rambling, laugh-out-loud stories that invariably end up with Scott having to steer him back to the point. Tony Stark may have all the money, but Luis is an MVP with the funny.
Scott: "Hey, how's your girl man?"
Luis: "Ah, she left me..."
Luis: "Yeah, my mom died too... and my dad got deported. But I got the van!”
Voiced with soft-spoken Kiwi chill by Taika Waititi, Korg the Kronan warrior – a self-identified walking pile of rocks – is hands-down the funniest character to grace the MCU’s first decade of films.
Oddly fastidious for an insurrection-inciting warrior turned gladiator – “guys, can you clean up the weapons when you’ve finished your fight? Disgusting slobs.” – Korg is ultimately defined by his incredibly sweet nature.
That he ends up on earth in New Asgard (getting pwned on Fortnite by N00bMaster69 admittedly) makes us all sorts of hopeful that we’ve not seen the last of Thor’s boulder-faced bessie.
Explaining to Thor why he’s in prison on the garbage planet of Sakaar:
Korg: “Oh, well, I tried to start a revolution but didn't print enough pamphlets, so hardly anyone turned up, except for my mum and her boyfriend, who I hate.”
The Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 4 officially kicks off with the release of Black Widow on 7 May 2021 but already we have a pair of characters we reckon are going to be frontrunners for the funniest characters in the MCU’s second decade.
First up is Alexei Shostakov/Red Guardian played by David Harbour (Hellboy, TV’s Stranger Things) in the Phase 4 opener, Black Widow.
Judging by Black Widow’s trailers, Shostakov is a brilliant new character – a former Soviet superhero who’s seen better days.
And while Natasha Romanoff’s mentor struggles to squeeze into his super-suit these days, he’s the good-natured glue that holds Black Widow’s childhood super soldier family together.
Secondly we have Kumail Nanjiani, playing Kingo in the debut of the MCU’s new super team, Eternals from 5 November 2021.
Much has been made of his physical transformation for the role of the genetically engineered super being masquerading on earth as a Bollywood actor.
But, what you may not know is that Nanjiani has cited Bruce Willis’s wisecracking performance as John McClane in Die Hard as a major inspiration - aiming to hit a similar balance of action-hero grit and flawless comic timing with Kingo.
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