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Top 10 Hilarious Improvised TV Moments

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp
Written by Nathan Sharp There’s not a lot of room for improvisation in scripted television, but when it works, it really works. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Hilarious Improvised TV Moments. For this list, we’ll be looking at the funniest moments in television that were apparently improvised by the actors. We’ll be ranking our list based on the brilliance of the joke and how well it incorporates into the character dynamic and story. Have an idea you want to see made into a WatchMojo video? Check out our suggest page at http://WatchMojo.comsuggest and submit your idea.
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There’s not a lot of room for improvisation in scripted television, but when it works, it really works. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Hilarious Improvised TV Moments.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the funniest moments in television that were apparently improvised by the actors. We’ll be ranking our list based on the brilliance of the joke and how well it incorporates into the character dynamic and story.

#10: “Nice Ears”
“The Defenders” (2017)

Marvel shows and movies are full of hilarious quips and banter, and “The Defenders” is no exception. In this scene, Matt and Jessica work together to take down a bad guy. Once he is seemingly defeated, Jessica compliments Matt’s mask ears, and an annoyed Matt responds that “they’re horns.” According to Krysten Ritter, who was responding to a fan on Twitter, this brief exchange was completely improvised by her and Charlie Cox. We think they should be allowed to improvise more, because they clearly have this quip thing down.

#9: “I Apologize About My…You Know…Thing”
“Sherlock” (2010-)

Is there anything more comfy than a drunk Sherlock Holmes and John Watson? Tell us you wouldn’t want to hang out with these guys. In the third season episode The Sign of Three, Sherlock and John go out and get hammered. When a boring client tells some silly story about a ghost, Sherlock and John fall asleep on her, and when Sherlock wakes up, he apologizes on behalf of his sleeping “thing.” This little exchange showing Sherlock’s sense of superiority seems too good to be improvised, but it was. According to Steven Moffat, Benedict Cumberbatch forgot the actual line, resulting in Sherlock’s stumbling of words and calling John a “thing.”

#8: Pity Frak
“Battlestar Galactica” (2004-09)

For those unaware, “frak” is “Battlestar Galactica’s” signature replacement for the f-word, and the word reared its hilarious head during a showdown between Felix Gaeta and Starbuck. Once Starbuck storms out on Gaeta, Gaeta hilariously responds with the line, “So, I guess a pity frak is out of the question, then?” The show’s creator, Ronald D. Moore, revealed on a commentary podcast that this line was completely improvised by actor Alessandro Juliani, who showed surprise when Moore decided to keep his improv in the finished product.

#7: “Son of a Bitch!”
“Supernatural” (2005-)

In the third season episode “Bad Day at Black Rock”, a woman by the name of Bela Talbot shoots Sam in the shoulder to get her hands on a lucky rabbit’s foot. And while she doesn’t walk away with the foot, she steals Dean’s winning lottery tickets, forcing him to blurt out an extremely exaggerated “Son of a bitch!” This line was improvised by Jensen Ackles, and while the line itself isn’t very funny, the over-the-top delivery certainly is. Jared Padalecki apparently found it quite funny as well, as he can be seen turning his head away from the camera to avoid ruining the take with laughter.

#6: The Thanksgiving Song
“Bob’s Burgers” (2011-)

We wonder how much improvisation goes on behind the scenes of animated shows that don’t make it into the final product. The “Bob’s Burgers” voice cast is full of talented people, including John Roberts, who voices the character of Linda. Roberts apparently loves to freestyle songs in the recording booth, and one of his on-the-spot creations was The Thanksgiving Song, which was later covered by the acclaimed band The National. The show’s writers later called The Thanksgiving Song the show’s fourth-best song, and we can’t blame them. It takes a lot of talent to create a song on the spot, and even more talent to make it funny.

#5: Animal Cracker Clothes
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (1997-2003)

The scripts of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” are undoubtedly brilliant, but as this moment proved, the cast can be just as funny and work just as compatibly without one. In this scene, Seth Green’s Oz goes on a mini rant about clothing on animal crackers and how all monkeys are French. The episode’s writer, Marti Noxon, later revealed on the DVD commentary that everything following Oz’s compliment to Willow was improvised by Seth Green and Alyson Hannigan. It’s both a tender and hilarious moment between the two characters, and it all came from the minds of the actors involved. Who needs writers, anyway? Just kidding, we love our writers.

#4: “Science, Biatch”
“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” (2013-)

Fitz has a great sense of humor, and that is on full display in this scene. Once Fitz disables Gordon’s teleportation powers, Gordon asks Fitz what he has done, to which he brilliantly responds, “Science, biatch.” As fellow actor Clark Gregg explains, the line was simply written as “science,” but Iain De Caestecker added the “biatch” as a nod to “Breaking Bad.” Gregg also called it “the best ad lib in the history of television” on Twitter, and while we wouldn’t go that far, it is certainly a hilarious quip, and we will never pass up a reference to one of the greatest shows of all time.

#3: “You Look Ridiculous”
“The Walking Dead” (2010-)

“The Walking Dead” isn’t exactly full of humor. It concerns the end of civilization, and its characters are usually more concerned with surviving than sharing quippy banter. Daryl is perhaps the most stoic character of all, as he doesn’t seem to have a single funny bone in his body. Which makes this improvised line all the more hilarious. Once the group assimilates into Alexandria, the usually hardened and dirty Carol begins dressing like a grandma, prompting the equally tough Daryl to call her appearance ridiculous. The line is funny, but it also adds a further dimension to the relationship between Daryl and Carol. It’s simply an all-around great ad-lib.

#2: Network Connectivity Problems
“Parks and Recreation” (2009-15)

You can’t write jokes like this. In the season three episode Flu Season, Leslie gets sick, prompting Andy to Google her symptoms and find that she has “network connectivity problems.” It’s one of the funniest lines of the entire show, and it was all completely improvised by the master, Chris Pratt. The show’s creator, Michael Schur, later showed respect for Pratt’s ad-lib, calling it “the funniest joke that’s ever been on our show.” The cast of “Parks and Recreation” weren’t given much room to improvise (aside from Patton Oswalt’s rambling “Star Wars” speech), but Pratt clearly saw his opportunity and took it, resulting in a joke that was completely unexpected and gut-bustingly hilarious.

#1: Michael Kisses Oscar
“The Office” (2005-13)

When Steve Carell sees a joke, he takes it. In the season three premiere Gay Witch Hunt, Michael accidentally outs Oscar, and to show his support, he kisses him on the lips. It’s an incredibly inappropriate thing to do, and it proves that Steve Carell knew his character perfectly, because the entire sequence was improvised by Carell and Oscar Nunez. Nunez simply rolled with Carell’s improv, but the other cast members were laughing behind the camera. Luckily, the camera was planted firmly on Carell and Nunez, which allowed this now-classic footage to make it into the episode.
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