Jason Mantzoukas' scumbag characters, ranked
Jason Mantzoukas frequently plays scumbags, and he’s completely aware of this: In a recent interview on Late Night With Seth Meyers, the actor played a game where he had to identify past characters he’s played as either a scumbag or not a scumbag. He correctly identified most of them as the former.
Of course, we must note that the actor is just that — an actor — and he seems like a lovely man and not at all like a real-life scumbag. That said, on the occasion of said interview and Mantzoukas’ turn in Dirty Grandpa (out Friday), we ranked Mantzoukas’ most memorable, pre-Grandpa characters by how despicable they are — or, in some surprising cases, how despicable they aren’t.
11. Comedy Bang! Bang!, Chef Luigi Lugosi
Lugosi is a vampire, and humans are taught not to like vampires because they try to drink our blood and blah, blah, blah. Vampires can’t help who they are, though, which makes the vampire-themed puns host Scott Aukerman keeps throwing at a clearly frustrated Lugosi even worse. All Lugosi wants to do is demo his recipes on TV without a dude mocking him the entire time. Is that too much for a professional chef (who also happens to be a blood-loving vampire) to ask?
10. Sleeping With Other People, Xander
Xander is mostly inoffensive — he seems like a fine father and husband, even when he and his wife are open about their desire to ditch their current life and return to their wilder days — but he loses a couple points because of the way he keeps calling Lainey (Alison Brie) “girl” even after being introduced to her. Classic aspiring scumbag behavior — she has a name, man!
9. Transparent, Dr. Steve
Dr. Steve — the doctor title comes from working at a medical marijuana dispensary, by the way — is super respectful of Sarah’s (Amy Landecker) desires and boundaries, and is sweetly nonjudgmental even when he thinks Sarah has herpes. His only noticeable flaw is when he asks Sarah if she doesn’t want to go out with him “because [she’s] gay” after he’s politely rejected by her. Being blunt is fine, but pushing someone after she’s already said “no” is pretty scummy.
8. Enlightened, Omar
Poor Omar. He’s just trying to make enough money to support his three kids, but an especially outspoken colleague has to go and try to mess that up when he comes in sick one day. She’s mad because she thinks he shouldn’t come to work if he’s sick; he’s mad because he can’t afford not to work. He’s sympathetic until that same woman gets the sniffles and he gives her a taste of her own medicine by getting in her face and telling her to leave. Is it understandable that a hardworking dad has a grudge against an insensitive coworker? Yes. Is it also immature and overly aggressive to harass her about it? Yep. Tone it down, Omar.
7. Kroll Show, Eagle Wing
First things first: Eagle Wing is a gigolo. But, hey, we all need to make money some way. His real downfalls are his taste for horribly ludicrous clothing (a white mesh shirt is a particularly heinous choice) and his annoying, egotistical personality.
6. Playing House, C.J.
Never meet your heroes — or, in this case, your high school crushes: Maggie (Lennon Parham) reunites with C.J., her one-that-got-away, and they have a weirdly sexual exchange via drums before they embark on a very teen-friendly night breaking into a community pool. Maggie soon discovers that he’s not as charming as he once seemed, and this becomes even clearer once C.J. abandons her at the first sign of police. As they say, once a thoughtless teenage boy, always a thoughtless teenage boy.
5. The Night Before, Bad Santa
Mantzoukas spends what little screen time he has in this movie drunkenly beating up Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Christmas-loving character while dressed up as Santa Claus. Sure makes that tense holiday dinner with your family look nice, huh?
4. Broad City, a DJ
Trying to trick a couple of women into a foursome with your equally smarmy best friend (played by Breaking Bad gem Matt Jones) is no way to charm a gal — or to, you know, be a decent human being.
3. Community, Matt
Mantzoukas appears as a director in one episode of Community and basically spends the entire time bringing Chang (Ken Jeong) down. There’s the time he yells, “Keep me from puking is your motivation,” and the time he throws a toolbox in the air before screaming, “The tools are doing a better job than you.” There are various ways to encourage someone, but pouring hot coffee on your student’s head while screaming about how he’s a worse actor than both Wahlbergs is weirdly not one of them.
2. Parks and Recreation, Dennis
Fun fact: “Dennis” is actually a synonym for “the most shamelessly wretched person you’ll ever encounter, fictional or (hopefully) otherwise.” The Pawnee local takes great pleasure in crushing other peoples’ souls, like when he instructs Ben (Adam Scott) to treat one of his employees “like you would treat a person in another country that you paid $25,000 to hunt” or when he coldly decides to buy the beloved JJ’s Diner despite the community’s pleas to leave it. Sounds like a jerk, right? And that’s even withoutmentioning that he’s a — get ready for it — cologne mogul.
1. The League, Rafi
Once upon a time, Rafi was an altar boy… until he was fired for raping a priest. Then, he continued to grow into a manic criminal with a thing for his sister and a habit of being totally and embarrassingly disgusting (just as one example, he uses a single bucket as both his toilet and kitchen). Oh, and he also thinks violence and murder are completely acceptable solutions to conflict. In other words, he and Dennis would probably get along just swimmingly — that is, if Rafi doesn’t kill him for the hell of it first.