Jerry Gergich: The Funniest Man On TV

Parks and Recreation
Parks and Recreation

When some people are down, they eat ice cream. Or, if they’re lunatics, they go for a run. Friends of mine like to call their mom to help bat away the blues, or pop a few “mood pills,” or maybe grab a drink with the gang to cheer themselves up. I like to do all those things too. Well, not all of them. OK, not any of them, except for the ice cream and the drinking, but I combine that into a special little concoction I’ve dubbed “Winescream.” However, when I’m really feeling down, and a few scoops of vanilla covered in cheap cabernet somehow won’t cure it all, I turn to the internet. First…I watch this:

I’ve seen it 1,000 times, and it’s made me laugh each and every one of them, because apparently I’m evolving into both a child and an old lady simultaneously. But the few times when Surprise Kitty hasn’t fixed what ailed me, when life was at its darkest and most unforgiving, I’ve pulled out the big guns. Well, the big gun, really. He’s my favorite man on television, and whenever I feel crummy, I like to watch him rip his pants, and then, because there is a god in heaven, fart real loud.

It’s earth-shatteringly juvenile, I know, but I love it so. There’s a reasonable chance NBC will take that clip down, because heaven forbid viewers be able to easily enjoy their content, but I recommend you watch the entire scene here. It’s the simplest of premises, and classic Gergich: Everybody please be nice to Jerry, the office loser, no matter what happens. And then, of course, what happens is Jerry’s loser-dom pushes them further than they ever imagined they’d go. It culminates in the full-pant split, followed by some pitch-perfect flatulence, and it gets me every time. So simple, so immature, so deeply, deeply hilarious.

What makes Jerry my favorite joke on TV is his simplicity. He’s a nice guy that everybody treats like crap. That’s it. Essentially, Gergich is a human donut: round, sweet, and totally inoffensive. But apparently the Parks Department of Pawnee is more of a muffin crowd, because every week they delight in trashing his guts. Jerry appears each morning with a smile, nice, polite, and perhaps a bit of a buffoon, then, like clockwork, someone viciously insults him to his face. I don’t know why it’s so funny, to see the fluffy little bunny that is Jerry Gergich dropped into boiling hot water every Thursday, but I can’t resist it. I mean, it shouldn’t be so delightful, watching an adult man have a heart attack, then be ruthlessly mocked for farting while he collapsed, but it is. It really, really is. (Incidentally, the line “Seriously Jerry, did you eat farts for lunch?!” is a joke so majestic it should be on a plaque in the Fart Joke Hall of Fame.) Even Leslie Knope, a woman so loving that the vows to her husband were 70 pages long, can’t resist ripping him to shreds. It’s like watching Santa Claus kick someone in the balls, but I laugh every time. Maybe Jerry’s tumbling into a creek on camera, or spilling soup on himself for the hundredth time, or hosting a wholesome Christmas party with his inexplicably hot wife: whatever it is, Jerry will be taken down. It’s a timeless trope. I mean, basically, Gergich is Stan Laurel trapped in Oliver Hardy’s body, and it’s a combination that delivers more laughs per minute than any other character on TV. Yes, even Louis CK. Or Schmidt on New Girl. Or any of the ladies on Girls. I know, I’m as shocked about it as you are. But he’s just that good.

Parks and Recreation gets a tremendous amount of internet love, and especially over the last few years, the show has really started to sing. However, in my opinion, a lot of the attention is directed at the wrong folks. Sure, I enjoy Ron Swanson, but at a certain point I think, “I get it. He really likes bacon.” And while April and Andy are charming, it’s never so much as when they’re making fun of the big man in the short-sleeved button-down shirts. It’s Jerry that makes P&R irresistible to me, and I hope that one day, maybe he and I can share a bowl of Rocky Road Winescream and talk it all over.

I mean, come on. How can you not love this? TC mark

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