10 Best Comic Relief Performances In Marvel Movies

Comic relief characters are as familiar to Marvel fans as superheroes and supervillains. While the hero and villain battle over the fate of the world, there’s usually a comedic character standing on the sidelines, making wisecracks. These characters usually take a few meta jabs at the ludicrousness of Marvel mythology as a sly wink to the audience.

From Taika Waititi in Thor: Ragnarok to Letitia Wright in Black Panther to Awkwafina in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, it takes a special kind of deadpan comedic performer to pull off these roles.

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10 Clark Gregg As Agent Coulson

Agent Coulson in Thor

First introduced in Phase One, Agent Coulson was the MCU’s first audience surrogate. The relatable Clark Gregg did a terrific job of playing a regular guy surrounded by “a group of remarkable people.”

Coulson is a huge superhero fan who collects Captain America playing cards, so he never misses a chance to geek out around his favorite heroes. This S.H.I.E.L.D. mainstay always means well when he tries to speak to the Avengers, but it often comes out wrong. He tells Cap, “I watched you while you were sleeping.”

9 Kumail Nanjiani As Kingo

Kingo preparing for battle in Eternals.

When Earth was safe from the Deviants, Kingo didn’t go into hiding like the other Eternals; he stayed in the spotlight as three generations of Bollywood stars. Played hilariously by Kumail Nanjiani, Kingo is the closest thing the Eternals movie has to a traditional MCU hero.

Kingo is vain and self-obsessed, and shares a hysterical dynamic with his human valet, Karun. Early in the movie, he gives Karun a camera to document his latest world-saving antics so they can sell it as a reality series.

8 Jon Favreau As Happy Hogan

Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan in Iron Man 2

Happy Hogan was the MCU’s first comic relief side character. With Jon Favreau playing him, it also marked the first time an MCU director cast themselves in a supporting role. Happy is Tony Stark’s head of security, which became a running gag after Tony learned how to protect himself.

Iron Man doesn’t need a bodyguard, but he keeps Happy around because he likes him so much. Happy joined the supporting cast of the Spider-Man movies after the end of the Iron Man series, both as Aunt May’s on-and-off love interest and as one of Peter Parker’s many grumpy father figures.

7 Letitia Wright As Shuri

Shuri Black Panther Marvel

Shuri is the droll scientist who designs Black Panther’s vibranium-powered tech. She also happens to be his little sister with a biting sense of humor. Shuri complains that T’Challa has brought her “another broken white boy for me to fix.”

She constantly makes fun of her brother, including mocking his shoes with the old “What are those!?” meme. This scene was criticized for its outdated reference, but it’s perfectly in character. Shuri rarely leaves Wakanda, so her understanding of the outside world comes from the internet.

6 Evan Peters As Quicksilver

Quicksilver running on the wall in the kitchen scene in X-Men Days of Future Past

While Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine takes center stage, Evan Peters’ Quicksilver is the breakout star of X-Men: Days of Future Past. His nonchalant attitude was the perfect antidote to the self-seriousness this franchise had fallen into at the time.

Quicksilver’s role in Days of Future Past and its sequels is arguably the best on-screen portrayal of superhuman speed, captured in super slow-motion tracking shots. Quicksilver moves at a normal speed, but everything around him is slowed down, which makes for a great visual gag.

5 Jacob Batalon As Ned Leeds

Ned Leeds in Spider-Man Homecoming

Ned Leeds, Peter Parker’s best friend and “guy in the chair” played brilliantly by Jacob Batalon, always has the perfect punchline to end each scene on a laugh: “Cure that a**,” “I would like to have my words stricken from the record,” “I’m... looking... at... porn...?”

When he opens up a portal to introduce Tobey Maguire’s Spidey into the MCU and the audience starts going wild with nostalgia, Ned looks at his civilian clothes and says, “Oh, great, it’s just some random guy.”

4 Kat Dennings As Darcy Lewis

Jane Foster’s intern Darcy Lewis was the comic relief in the Thor movies before Taika Waititi came along and turned them into 100% comic relief. Darcy isn’t a particularly well-developed character, but she’s elevated by Kat Dennings’ comedic talents.

Darcy was eventually brought back into the MCU ensemble in WandaVision to bring her self-aware wit to Wanda Maximoff’s sitcom fantasyland: “She recast Pietro!?”

3 Taika Waititi As Korg

When he was tapped to helm Thor: Ragnarok, Taika Waititi cast himself to play the funniest character in the movie. His dry delivery style is juxtaposed hilariously with Korg’s appearance as a hulking rock monster. Korg introduces himself with “a little Rock, Paper, Scissors joke.”

Korg is mostly a reactionary role providing self-aware commentary: “Sounds like you had a pretty special and intimate relationship with this hammer and that losing it was almost comparable to losing a loved one.”

2 Michael Peña As Luis

Luis showing excitement about their plans in Ant-Man.

After getting out of jail, Scott Lang moves in with his former cellmate, Luis, with whom he starts a security company called X-Con. Michael Peña’s fast-talking portrayal of Luis is one of the highlights of the Ant-Man series.

Luis’ storytelling is one of the MCU’s best running gags. Director Peyton Reed will cut through a montage as Luis tells a rambling story through semi-improvised riffs. The sequel follows up on this gag without rehashing it when Luis is given a truth serum.

1 Awkwafina As Katy

Katy watching Shang-Chi fight in underground club.

Shang-Chi’s best friend Katy is the primary comic relief in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Awkwafina’s dry delivery style was perfect for Marvel’s signature self-aware jabs at its own mythology: “A guy with a freaking machete for an arm just chopped our bus in half!”

Early in the movie, Katy explains how she used to avoid confrontation with bullies in high school: by screaming the lyrics of “Hotel California” to confuse them. This bit is paid off hilariously when she tries the same thing on a Ten Rings assassin at an underground fight club (and, naturally, it doesn’t go as planned).

NEXT: 10 Scene-Stealing Supporting Characters From The MCU Phase Four

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About The Author Ben Sherlock (3673 Articles Published)

Ben Sherlock is a writer, comedian, independent filmmaker, and Burt Reynolds enthusiast. He writes lists for Screen Rant and features and reviews for Game Rant. He's currently in pre-production on his first feature (and has been for a while, because filmmaking is expensive). You can catch him performing standup at odd pubs around the UK that will give him stage time. Previously, he wrote for Taste of Cinema, Comic Book Resources, and BabbleTop.

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2022-07-10T18:51:01.000Z

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