The Gang are a despicable bunch. Sure, they're immensely fun to watch on television—but it's obvious they're extremely toxic as friends.
Over the years, we've seen them interact with a vast cast of characters, from family members to past friends to new acquaintances. Each of these side characters brings something new, funny, and unique to the show.
Here are my picks for the best side characters in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, ranked based on how entertaining they are to watch and the added depth they bring to the show as a whole.
9. Jack Kelly
While a lot of the gags written for Jack Kelly in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia probably wouldn't fly nowadays, he's still one of the funniest side characters the show has ever featured.
Rooted in a weird-yet-hilarious insecurity about the size of his hands, Jack Kelly has had a number of entertaining moments on the show. In particular, his performance in court is especially memorable.
With Jack, you have an unsettling but watchable secondary character who's so absurd, you've probably never seen another character like him in the history of television.
8. Gail the Snail
Mary Lynn Rajskub has some of the best facial expressions throughout It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and those hilarious faces are what truly bring to life the weirdly enigmatic Gail the Snail.
Gail has a problem with swallowing saliva, which causes her to make horrendous gurgling sounds. She also has trouble finding an appropriate sexual partner, resulting in her attaching herself to Mac, Frank, and Charlie's landlord on different occasions.
Due to her incessant slurping, she's frequently tormented and shunned by the Gang, usually in the form of salt-throwing.
7. Mrs. Mac
The grunty Mrs. Mac is the exact opposite of what you'd want your own mother to be like. Crass, crude, and perhaps a bit malodorous from the chain smoking, she's intensely cold towards her only child, Mac.
For the most part, Mrs. Mac doesn't even speak—she often responds in grunts and eye rolls—and seems totally indifferent to everything that's happening around her.
Any other show would have trouble weaving jokes around such a dour character, but It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia makes it work—and she's given us some of the funniest bloopers in television.
If you haven't seen them yet, watching Rob McElhenney fail at keeping himself composed opposite Sandy Martin is food for the soul.
Luther is Mac's father, the man who doesn't blink; to say that he's intimidating would be an understatement. He has a murderous glare and an elocution that would impress any theater director.
Like Mac's mother, Luther is neglectful of Mac—but more than that, he's also cruel and hurtful. Much of the humor in this character comes from Mac's irrational attempts to make his serial killer father behave like a parent from a Disney movie.
Gregory Scott Cummins does one hell of a job bringing this insidious character to life without losing any humor.
5. Bonnie Kelly
Charlie's mother Bonnie Kelly is one of the more wholesome characters on the show. She loves Charlie, so much so that it comes across as slightly too intense, always with a perpetual smile on her face.
However, much like her son, she's no stranger to schemes or tricks. She even once started a scam to raise money, and it's clear that she isn't always as sweet or innocent as she makes herself out to be.
Much of her humor comes from subtle behaviors that go against her established image, including her theatrics and promiscuity.
4. The Waitress
The Waitress is the poor soul to whom Charlie has attached himself. No matter what she does, she cannot escape the clutches of The Gang.
While The Waitress isn't necessarily funny on her own, it's the seriousness of her character that often paints a dramatic picture and exposes how downright delusional The Gang truly is.
She's done this many times, like when she points out how cold and psychotic Dennis is, or when she accuses Charlie of being a weirdo stalker, or when she flatly tells Frank that his hair keeps falling off.
The Waitress is an essential part of the show, holding up a mirror to The Gang that highlights who they really are outside of themselves.
3. The McPoyle Brothers
In a TV show filled with absolutely weird characters, there are none weirder than the incestuous McPoyle family.
Liam and Doyle are most frequently referred to as "the McPoyle brothers," and their thirst for milk is nigh unquenchable. They're first introduced as scam artists attempting to frame an old gym teacher for child abuse.
And it only gets weirder from there. Over the course of the show, the McPoyle family has held The Gang hostage, stolen people's eyes, and even got it off with members of The Gang. Looking at you, Mac...
A thespian actress and no stranger to provocative statements (or outfits), Artemis has a way of aggravating Dee while also endearing herself to the rest of The Gang.
Her deadpan delivery and the uncomfortable relationship she has with Danny DeVito's Frank Reynolds is television gold. (She engages with Frank in a relationship that involves food being used in... ways.)
She doesn't get much screen time compared to other side characters—and I'd personally love to see more of her—but maybe that's why she's so great. Artemis never overstays her welcome.
1. Rickety Cricket
If there's one character who has gone through the most change in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, it's Matthew Mara. Who's that, you ask? The one who's more commonly known as Rickety Cricket!
From respected priest to depraved street rat, Rickety Cricket ranks as the best side character in all of Philadelphia. Why? Because there's never been a scene that wasn't enhanced simply by Cricket's presence in it.
Every time he makes an appearance, there's yet another joke about what awful fate he's been suffering as of late.
When you couple this with the fact that there are hours of bloopers where David Hornsby is making The Gang laugh, you know that there's a reason why he's continually given scenes to work his magic in.