Each ‘Succession’ Character’s Funniest Moment
Succession has as much drama as it has nepo babies, but it’s got a whole lot of comedy going for it, too. The show has clever wit and savage satire embedded in its DNA, while the characters drop jokes as they stumble through their own and each other’s trails of vomit. With the fourth and final season ready to drop this weekend, here’s a look at the funniest moments from the characters contained in the Roy family’s orbit...
Connor Roy (Alan Ruck) is an odd egg in a family of odd eggs, and he’s usually the butt of a joke in every scene he finds himself in. Whether it’s him thinking that a batch of sourdough starter is a good birthday gift for a man like his dad or any scene where he thinks he can run for president, the eldest son of Logan Roy and half-brother to the rest of the Roy children never ceases to prove how out of touch he is. Connor has some truly funny scenes, but none of them top the one where he tries to host a big fancy charity event. The setup sees Connor struggling to keep his cool and freaking out over every little thing, including butter that’s apparently too cold.
The payoff has him overcome with pride and joy when the evening ends and folks start showering him with obligatory compliments. Connor is usually the one who tries to keep it calm and collected, but when he starts panicking, it’s kind of amazing to see the man come undone.
Arian Moayed plays Stewy, Kendall’s friend from his school days who drank with him through Harvard and now has a seat on the board of Waystar Royco. Stewy lives in the space between his own investment interests and giving his old pal constant crap about absolutely everything. He’s a straight shooter, tells Logan Roy that everybody hates the old geyser and has some of the funniest lines in the show. During a scene in Season Three, Stewy comments that having a meeting behind Logan’s back feels like “taking a shit in the Guggenheim, y’all,” and that really just sums up his character’s knack for inserting comedy among the stiffs.
His funniest moment, however, happens when he compares his partnership with Sandy Furniss (Logan’s rival) to a creature from mythology with the “head of a horse, dick of a swan.” (It’s at the 3:02 mark below.)
Connor’s young fiancé Willa (Justine Lupe) is a former sex worker and an aspiring playwright. Even though Willa was only supposed to be in three episodes, the writers clearly saw potential in her character and made her a bigger part of the Roy clan. Willa is quite different and stands in contrast to the family, but she does share every Roy's juvenile level of self-involvement. For instance, when Marcia Roy tells her that she used to know a Parisian woman who did what Willa does (write plays) and that this woman was fairly intelligent, Willa blushes, beams, and says, “Thank you,” as if Marcia had just given her a compliment.
Willa has a lot of great moments in the show’s first three seasons, but the funniest has to be her reaction when critics trash her Broadway debut play.
Lady Caroline Collingwood
In actress Harriet Walters’ own words on her character, Lady Caroline Collingwood (second wife to Logan Roy and mother of Kendall, Shiv and Roman): “She’s actually quite scared of her own children.” This inside insight makes the throwaway line where she calls Shiv a Nazi for “following orders” all the more hilarious. Walters’ delivery throughout her stint in the show is comedy gold and makes her a standout performer and a character we kind of wish we had more of. (The Nazi line happens at 0:29, but it won’t be a waste of time just watching the entire compilation.)
Actress Hiam Abbass plays Logan’s third and current wife, and while she’s an outsider and gets treated as such by Logan’s children, we see her slowly stand up to the brutes through the course of the show in her own acerbic way. Marcia is the character that makes the viewer wonder what the hell she’s doing with these people but proves to be just as good at the game as her husband. Marcia is arguably the most serious character in the show, but she has some sharp, biting dialogue. Her funniest line happens on a plane trip when Shiv tries to rattle her by implying that there’s something going on between Logan and Rhea. Marcia's response? “Don’t worry about me. I’m not a child. I don’t piss on the carpet every time it thunders.”
Peter Friedman plays the vice-chairman of Waystar Royco. He’s part of Logan’s “old guard” and mentor and godfather to Kendall. This is why Frank constantly finds himself between a rock and a giant immovable mountain as he swings between his loyalty to his longtime friend Logan and the kid who’s obsessed with hip-hop. Frank is the face of anxiety in almost every scene he’s in, and his bungling of the introduction at the shareholders’ meeting in Season Three is a classic example of how the show makes his stressful life funny.
Karl Muller (David Rasche) is the CFO of Waystar Royco and the peanut to Frank Vernon’s butter. The two right-hand men of Logan and his company bicker like an old married couple, and while Karl is most certainly more of a shark type, he has his vulnerable moments too. Like the scene where he has a supposed panic attack in the most lowkey and controlled way in the history of on-screen panic attacks.
Siobhan “Shiv” Roy
Shiv Roy (Sarah Snook) can’t really be considered one of the funniest characters in the show. She has a political mind and is constantly either trying to orchestrate some move or having to defend herself from the male onslaught that is her family and the business. As a result, her comedy comes down to those micro-reactions we see whenever someone says something weird or stupid. However, there is an extremely cringe scene involving her stubborn pride and misguided contempt for her stepmother Marcia that ultimately leads to possibly the most embarrassing and equally horrifying moment of her life.
Jean Isabel Smith’s Gerri acts as general counsel to Logan’s company, is the godmother of Shiv and goes from mentor to saucy sex partner (sort of) of Roman Roy. Gerri’s sharp dialogue and fiery comebacks make it feel as if she can easily hop from one comedy to the next. It’s a character that can fit into everything from 30 Rock to Veep to that show where tech nerds are constantly screwing each other over somewhere in San Francisco.
While Gerri may not have a particularly hilarious scene like, say, Cousin Greg or the little nepo baby she helps drain every once and a while, she’s got some killer lines. Case in point, the scene where she gets confronted by Shiv on the Roy daughter’s wedding night:
Shiv’s husband and lapdog to the Roy family, Tom with the Funny Surname (played brilliantly by Matthew Macfadyen) can go from almost looking like a victim to the biggest bully this side of Logan Roy. Everything Tom gets shoved down his throat at the hands of his in-laws he simply passes on to Cousin Greg. Tom is no powerhouse, though, and even his antagonism toward Greg seems awfully wimpy most of the time.
There are so many scenes where Tom says the most hysterical, most cringe of things, but a standout has to be the entire episode where he gets with another woman at his bachelor's party, only to end up as the butt of yet another sad metaphor.
A lot has been said about the way Jeremy Strong goes about his craft, but the man sure plays the hell out of the character who struggles with substance abuse as much as he struggles to shake off the need for his father’s approval. There are many scenes where Kendall will willingly degrade himself, convinced that it’ll somehow make daddy say he loves him. No other scene depicts this better than the one in which he thought it’d be a good idea to rap for his dad at a fancy celebration.
Not only is Kendall awkwardly dropping bars in a room full of people who are likely virulent racists, but that tie also makes him look like a member of a barbershop quartet. Possibly the whitest fit in the history of rap.
Trying to pick the funniest scene of the great Brian Cox playing the worst character in the series is like trying to pick a successor Logan Roy would be happy with. There’s the time he impersonated Shiv while seemingly bursting at the seams with rage. There’s the time he reacted to a therapist telling him that his children might be scared of him. There’s every time the grumpy old man told somebody to f—k off. Still, for all the man’s horrible insults and humiliating jibes, the funniest might be this line that he throws at his son, Roman, like the asshole gangster he thinks he is.
The immature and often hilariously inept Roman Roy is the life of the Roy family. Every single thing that comes out of his mouth is either diabolically inappropriate or morbidly funny (and sometimes, both). Kieran Culkin plays Roman like a second skin, and it’s tough picking out the funniest moment in the sea of Roman’s self-loathing sayings and shenanigans. There’s the horribly funny failed rocket launch scene, there’s every second thing he’s ever said to Gerri, but the funniest Roman Roy moment probably is the time he accidentally sent his dad a pick of his wang. His face when his dad says, “I need five,” and he rushes out of the office is pure murder.
Cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun) is by far the most awkward character in a show filled with dark triad people who would eat him if he wasn’t a blood relative. The young and naive grandson of Ewan Roy, Logan Roy’s brother, is also the young and naive apprentice of Tom, meaning that he often gets into sticky and animated situations. It might be the most difficult character to pick a single funny moment for, so we’re going with the scene that reminds us of the time a character in Blades of Glory also puked inside a giant costume.