90’s Comedy Duos

PHOTO CREDIT: THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL-AIR: CREDIT: CHRIS CUFFAIO/NBCU PHOTO BANK
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PHOTO CREDIT: THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL-AIR: CREDIT: CHRIS CUFFAIO/NBCU PHOTO BANK

By ReMIND Magazine

Jeff Bridges and John Goodman
The Big Lebowski (1998)
In The Big Lebowski, Jeff Bridges and John Goodman play Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski and Walter Sobchak, respectively, a comedy duo that acts as an ode to slackers everywhere. The two can often be found practicing their favorite pastime, bowling. The film was inspired by Raymond Chandler mysteries, but instead of being a serious detective, the protagonist is a stoner living in Los Angeles. Both Bridges and Goodman are individually great in their roles, but together, they’re a pitch-perfect pair of people thrown into an overarching mystery and not letting it affect their cool demeanors.

The Dude and Walter are partners in crime, and that carries through to reality as well. In an homage to their real-life friendship and iconic roles, Bridges gave a speech at Goodman’s Hollywood Walk of Fame induction ceremony in character as “The Dude.” Wearing the Dude’s signature sweater, Bridges was inspired by the scene where Goodman’s character Walter gives a eulogy for Donny (Steve Buscemi) by the sea. After the speech, the two actors knelt at each other’s feet, then embraced — a tribute to their cinematic duo that will live on forever in the hearts of viewers.

Uncle Phil and Will
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990-96)
One of the best TV dads in history was The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air‘s Uncle Phil (James Avery), and he paired spectacularly with nephew Will (Will Smith) in the television comedy. The duo elevated the show to more than just gags; there were true emotional moments mixed in among the hilarity. Funny moments came from the juxtaposition between street-smart Will and posh lawyer Phil, but the material was elevated when each character reached beyond their stereotypes.

Viewers may remember Will and Carlton (Alfonso Ribeiro) as the main comedy duo of the show, and the show did pivot that way, but it was truly Will and Uncle Phil who held the most laughs. A great example of this is a moment during Season 1 when Will gets into a bit of trouble getting hustled at a pool hall. Uncle Phil arrives to save the day. At first, Phil seems clueless, calling a cue a “stick thingy.” But then he says “Break out Lucille” to Geoffrey, and soon the hustling — this time the other way — begins. This was just another moment when the assumptions of the characters turned on their heads, and the result was nothing but comedy. Uncle Phil and Will are a great example of a comedy duo whose differences were causes to celebrate.

Beavis and Butt-Head
(Voiced by Mike Judge) • 1993-97, 2011
The animated sitcom Beavis and Butt-Head was a mainstay of 1990s MTV programming. Created by Mike Judge, the cartoon features two slacker teens who raise hell and love their MTV. Beavis and Butt-Head (both voiced by Judge) have no adult supervision and are barely literate; their repartee consists of gross-out jokes and sexual innuendo that causes them to giggle endlessly. (Their titter was ranked No. 66 in TV Guide Magazine‘s 2005 list of Top Catchphrases.) Beavis and Butt-Head have no empathy or moral scruples, are blatantly misogynist and think anything relating to sex, destruction or the macabre is “cool.”

The two would make it to the big screen in 1996 in Beavis and Butt-Head Do America, and the show was revived for another season in 2011. Most recently, Comedy Central announced it had ordered two new seasons with the two gnarly boys launching full frontal into Generation Z. Uh-huh-huh, heh-heh-heh.