Top Ten Funniest Child TV Stars
All too often on comedy shows, the children are there as virtual props. Sure, they walk and talk, and recite their lines, but are they usually funny? No. In fact, they’re more likely to be annoying. Only a select few played their parts so well that their natural talents to make people laugh fit in perfectly with the scripts. Here are ten talented people who deserved the roles in which they played (in the last 30 or so years, since children were never funny on TV before 1978).
10. Todd Bridges
Diff’rent Strokes (1978–1986)
We love you Willis. Sure, you weren’t nothin’ without brother Arnold (Gary Coleman), but funny enough to be No. 10 on this list. (I bumped Ricky Schroder in favor of Bridges when I realized that Schroder wasn’t really that funny)
9. David Faustino
Married… With Children (1987-1997)
While Married… With Children was low-brow comedy for sure, Faustino was up (or down) for the challenge of playing the perverted Bud, son of Al and Peggy.
8. Fred Savage
The Wonder Years (1988-1993)
Personally, I thought big brother Wayne (Jason Hervey) made this show funny but Fred Savage was the heart and soul and got his share of laughs, though often helped with the clever narration by Daniel Stern.
7. Tyler James Williams
Everybody Hates Chris (2005-2008)
Obviously it’s Chris Rock who makes this show funny, and Tyler James Williams does a fine job acting as the young Chris in this four-season series.
6. Frankie Muniz
Malcolm in the Middle (2000-2006)
This very well-written and acted show was perhaps the most underrated comedy on television. Yes, it won Emmys, but I seriously doubt Malcolm in the Middle cast a lasting impression among television viewers. Kudos to the other boys in the cast, as well.
5. The Gals of the Facts of Life
The Facts of Life (1979-1988)
Can’t pick just one, so have to give props to Mindy Cohn, Kim Fields and Lisa Welschel, who played Natalie, Tootie and Blair.
4. Jason Bateman
Silver Spoons (1982-1986), It’s Your Move (1984-1985), The Hogan Family (1986-1991).
According to Wikipedia: Jason Bateman’s razor-sharp performance as Derek garnered him much critical acclaim and popularity among young viewers, so much that the producers of Silver Spoons gave him his own starring vehicle.
3. Sara Gilbert
This middle child tomboy played off of Roseanne Barr and John Goodman better than any of the other kids and her sarcastic wit was plenty to keep the viewer laughing while big momma and papa disappeared behind the curtain. Darlene, my dear, you weren’t the hottest Conner kid (that honor goes to both Becky’s), but you were, by far, the funniest.
2. Jaleel White
Family Matters (1989-1997)
This was an awful show, and I would know because I never missed an episode during the early seasons. It shouldn’t have lasted. It was about a family with a fat police officer father. Big deal. Then comes along Steve Urkel, snapping his suspenders, hiking up his pants and talking in a squeaky voice, and the show found its life. Yes, he was corny, but he played the part so well that the focus on the show went from the family to him. Gotta give credit where credit it due.
1. Gary Coleman
Diff’rent Strokes (1978–1986)
I’d like to say, this is a No. 1 by far. Gary’s most recent project is the film Midgets vs. Mascots (which Gunaxin is helping to promote). Gary, if you see this, you’re still the funniest after all these years, not just in the past 30 but all time!
Not funny: Cosby kids, just about anyone in the 50s and 60s.
Not eligible: Actors who played much younger parts, such as Michael J. Fox, Jimmy Walker and Fred “Rerun” Berry. These guys will go on the list of Top Ten Funniest Adult Actors Who Played Kids on TV.