I’m the master of all things random and it’s no big secret that I watch too many movies, read too many comic books, novels, and whatever else mindless entertainment that I can get my hands on. It’s also no big secret that I’m a fan of strong character-driven works that make me want to keep coming back to find out what is going to happen to each character. Every now and then you may come across characters that make you just scratch your head and go “Huh?” because they were just there for a brief second and promptly exit stage left after they did whatever they were supposed to do. These characters are often refered to as “Incidental Characters” because of their lack of importance to the plot. (For example think about 90% of the characters on Family Guy.)
Oddly enough these are some of my favorite characters. They aren’t important, they aren’t necessary, and if you think like a normal person (I don’t) they are often forgettable. For your my entertainment I’ve compiled a list of my favorite incidental fictional folks.
Captain Koons (Christopher Walken Pulp Fiction)
I would watch Christopher Walken recite the alphabet and crack up while he was doing it. Everything about this man is hilarious to me. He is the master of the odd, the creepy, and the bat s*** crazy. In 1994’s Pulp Fiction Walken’s cameo as Air Force Captain Koons was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen on film in my entire life. Click on Captain Koons name to watch the video of Koons. Here are the words to the dialogue for those of you who can’t watch videos at work. “[To young Butch] Hello, little man. Boy, I sure heard a bunch about you. See, I was a good friend of your dad’s. We were in that Hanoi pit of hell together for over five years. Hopefully, you’ll never have to experience this yourself, but when two men are in a situation like me and your dad were, for as long as we were, you take on certain responsibilities of the other. If it had been me who had not made it, Major Coolidge would be talking right now to my son Jim. But the way it turned out is I’m talking to you, Butch. I got something for ya. [Holds up watch] This watch I got here was first purchased by your great-grandfather during the first world war. It was bought in a little general store in Knoxville, Tennessee, made by the first company to ever make wrist watches. Up until then, people just carried pocket watches. It was bought by Private Doughboy Ryan Coolidge the day he set sail for Paris. This was your great-grandfather’s war watch, and he wore it every day he was in the war. Then when he had done his duty, he went home to your great-grandmother, took the watch and put it in an old coffee can. And in that can it stayed ’til your granddad Dane Coolidge was called upon by his country to go overseas and fight the Germans once again. This time they called it World War Two. Your great-grandfather gave this watch to your granddad for good luck. Unfortunately, Dane’s luck wasn’t as good as his old man’s. Dane was a Marine and he was killed along with all the other Marines at the battle of Wake Island. Your granddad was facing death, and he knew it. None of those boys had any illusions about ever leaving that island alive. So three days before the Japanese took the island, your granddad asked a gunner on an Air Force transport named Winocki, a man he had never met before in his life, to deliver to his infant son, who he had never seen in the flesh, his gold watch. Three days later, your granddad was dead. But Winocki kept his word. After the war was over, he paid a visit to your grandmother, delivering to your infant father, his Dad’s gold watch. This watch. This watch was on your Daddy’s wrist when he was shot down over Hanoi. He was captured and put in a Vietnamese prison camp. He knew if the gooks ever saw the watch that it’d be confiscated; taken away. The way your Dad looked at it, this watch was your birthright. He’d be damned if any slopes were gonna put their greasy yellow hands on his boy’s birthright. So he hid it in the one place he knew he could hide something. His ass. Five long years, he wore this watch up his ass. Then he died of dysentery, he gave me the watch. I hid this uncomfortable hunk of metal up my ass for two years. Then, after seven years, I was sent home to my family. And now, little man, I give the watch to you.”
Randy Watson (Eddie Murphy, Coming to America)
Next to Raw, this is hands down the funniest thing Eddie Murphy has ever done. If you say the words “Sexual Chocolate” in a room among your peers and no one laughs then you should find a new damn room. After guest starring in an episode of “That’s My Mama” Randy Watson became one of the greatest fictional singers in movie history. (Sadly enough, he ranks behind Otis Day and The Knights from Animal House simply because they were a fictional band that became real after their movie appearance.) Randy Watson is a legend among Eddie Murphy’s hundreds of movie characters and I often wonder if Murphy’s comedic genius reached its apex with Coming to America. Whether or not this is true or not Randy Watson made a movie that was certifiable funny as hell that much more hilarious.
Howard the Duck (Marvel Comics Secret Invasion # 7 of 8)
Howard the Duck is the subject of one of the worst movies ever made. (This movie makes Tyler Perry’s body of work look like Roots.) What people don’t know is that Howard the Duck is a super-powered being in the Marvel Comics Universe. He inhabits the same fictional world that is home to Peter Parker, Jessica Alba’s blond weave The Fantastic Four, and the X-Men. Sadly, Howard lives in Cleveland and Cleveland is as about as boring in that world as it is in ours so Howard doesn’t get much shine. However, during 2008’s Secret Invasion crossover, a race of shape-shifting aliens known as Skrulls used our world’s various distractions (The 2008 Presidential Election, The War on Terror, and whatever else you can think of.) to secretly replace various political leaders and superheroes so they can claim the Earth as their own. Like multiple bad guys before them the Skrulls didn’t count on the Earth’s various superheroes fighting them on the beaches, the streets, and anywhere else they tried to attack. When things were looking the most bleak for the heroes, Thor, the Norse God of Thunder summoned all superheroes who could make to New York’s Central Park to put and end to all of the Skrull’s Skrulliness. Both teams of Avengers, a few Greek gods, some super villains all show up for the brawl. A few panels in and you see the good guys handing out a smack down and then you see Wolverine just a stabbing and slicing to his heart’s delight and who is watching his back? Howard the ****ind Duck, and not a single character breaks stride.
Alvin Greene (Alvin Greene 2010 South Carolina Senatorial Race)
In June of 2010 the voters in South Carolina took to the polls to vote in the primaries. When the just settled Alvin Greene defeated former Circuit Court Judge Victor Rawl without campaigning, talking, or spending any money outside of the $10,000 registration fee to enter the race for November’s race for South Carolina’s seat for the United States Senate. Wait, what? Alvin Greene is a real person?!?! Seriously!
Wes Mantooth (Vince Vaughn Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy)
Wes Mantooth is many things– The lead anchor at Channel 9 Evening News, Ron Burgundy’s chief rival, and Dorthy Mantooth’s (Who is a saint.”) baby boy. Although Vaughn has played the same character on repeat since 1995 (Think Al Pacino, but funny on purpose.) Wes Mantooth’s role in Anchorman is one of my favorites.
Buzz Killington (Family Guy)
To my knowledge Buzz Killington has only appeared on Family Guy three times. Here’s what I know: He’s English, Victorian, and is the living embodiment of that a**hat who will suck the life out the room by saying the most a**hatty stuff when you’re trying to have a good time.
(Peter is at a party with some anonymous friends; Buzz Killington enters and sits everybody down)
Buzz Killington: (Hands Peter a picture of a man riding a Penny Farthing bicycle.) Now, here’s a fellow attempting to ride a bicycle. But he’s having some trouble, isn’t he? And do you know why?
Peter: (Sighs) Why?
Buzz Killington: Because he’s a Scot! (laughs) Now, who here likes a good story about a bridge?
Peter: (Groans, lifts his glasses and rubs his eyes)
The Fabulous Freebirds (Highlander)
Just to be honest I’ve been looking for a way to work Michael “P.S.” Hayes into a blog for like five years. The idea of Sean Connery portraying an immortal Spaniard with a Scottish accent is absurd. The idea of Sean Conner portraying an immortal Spaniard with a Scottish accent in a movie with a cameo by Michael “P.S.” Hayes, Terry “Bam Bam” Gordy, and Buddy Roberts is just plain old ridiculous. I still haven’t figured out what’s worse: The Freebird’s mullets or Christopher Lambert’s acting.
The Chicken (The Chicken The Hangover)
I get Mike Tyson’s tiger. I get Mike Tyson. I get Mr. Chow. Can someone please explain the Chicken to me?
Yuck Mouth (Chris Rock Panther)
Panther was an absolute poop sandwich of a film. Honestly, I only remember that it starred Kadeem Hardison, A.J. Johnson (The one from Friday, not Jody’s mom.), and it had one of the funniest Chris Rock moments ever. Next to Halle Berry, Chris Rock has very few peers when it comes to playing grimey drug addicts. All I remember about his role in Panther was his sexual harassment of a girl walking by his character Yuck Mouth. He was drinking a beer and then turned it into a phallic symbol spilling the beer from the end while saying “Oh girl, look what you make me do!”
Texas Ranger Earl McGraw (Michael Parks From Dusk Till Dawn, Kill Bill Vol. 1, Death Proof, Planet Terror)
If there’s a movie by Quentin Tarantino or Robert Rodriguez there are almost two constants: Violence and Earl McGraw. Seldom on-screen for more than 10 minutes Earl McGraw who is sometimes accompanied by his “Number One Son” Edgar provides the viewers with stereotypical redneck police comic relief. Throw in some tobacco spitting and you’ve got a first-rate incidental character. Good thing for Beatrix Kiddo he and Edgar showed up after The Deadly Assassin Viper Squad worked that church over on her wedding day.
These are just a few of my favorite incidentals. I’ve shown you mine now… you know.
***The Best of the Rest*** I was going to add Detective John Munch (Richard Belzer) for his appearances on The Wire and X-Files, but he was a main character in two other shows so he is “incidental light”.