Since Abbott Elementary made its debut in 2021, audiences haven’t been able to get enough of the fictional school and the exploits of its infinitely quirky staff and students. In an era where traditional comedy sitcoms have taken the backseat in terms of popularity, Abbott has quickly become the genre’s crown jewel.
While the show’s writing and direction are both razor-sharp on their own, a series like this doesn’t become as big as it has without a rock solid cast of characters. Luckily, there’s not a single comedic weak link to be found in this roster. With season 2 still rolling out hilarious new characters, here are some of the funniest we’ve gotten so far.
10 Janine Teagues
Janine Teagues (played by show creator Quinta Brunson) is a plucky young second grade teacher at Willard R. Abbott Elementary.
Sure she may be messy from time to time, but it’s hard to stay mad at this eager little ray of sunshine. Able to remain optimistic in the face of whatever life (or the school district) throws at her, the way in which her schemes crash and burn is often the comedic centerpiece of Abbott’s episodes. Whether she’s cracking bad puns or scaring herself by climbing ladders, Janine encapsulates everything that makes the show work.
9 Gregory Eddie
A candidate for principal turned substitute and eventually a full time first-grade teacher at Abbott, Gregory Eddie is portrayed by Tyler James Williams.
In a more conventional show, Gregory would probably be nothing more than Abbott’s “straight man” – the normal foil to the rest of the over the top ensemble. Thankfully, he’s one of the best twists on the trope we’ve seen in a long time, with such a strict and orderly lifestyle that it makes him just as quirky as everyone else. His unyielding discipline only seems to get funnier the more it’s challenged by the surrounding madness, and his looks to the camera are second to absolutely no one.
8 Melissa Schemmenti
Played by Lisa Ann Walter, Melissa Schemmenti is a second-grade teacher at Abbott who has been teaching for several years.
Someone you could trust to give solid advice (or a solid alibi), Melissa is truly a one-of-a-kind teacher. Equipped with a razor-sharp attitude as well as an endless stream of head-turning one-liners that land every time, this wannabe firefighter is an indispensable addition to the roster.
7 Barbara Howard
Barbara Howard, played by Sheryl Lee Ralph, is the most experienced teacher at Abbott, having taught kindergarten for 20 years.
You might think you have this squeaky clean woman of God figured out at first, but what makes Ms. Howard so special is that there’s much more to her than meets the eye. She can generate laughs with anything, from her dazzlingly bright smile to her righteous fury when it’s time to put her foot down. Wise and loving yet silly and mischievous, Barbara is a lovable and hilarious contradiction.
6 Jacob Hill
Jacob Hill is a young, awkward sixth-grade history teacher at Abbott Elementary, and is played by Chris Perfetti.
Much like Janine, Jacob is one of those characters who only seems to get funnier with every new mishap. They don’t call him “Mr. C” for no reason, with a very particular brand of cringe humor that works so perfectly in every situation he inserts himself in. He may not be able to read a room, but that’s precisely why we can’t get enough of this former story samurai.
5 Mr. Johnson
A recurring character turned series regular in the second season, Mr. Johnson (played by William Stanford Davis) is Abbott’s custodian and occasional substitute teacher.
Every good sitcom needs a Mr. Johnson, but there’s only one Mr. Johnson. An enigma of a man, it seems as though he’s lived a thousand lives, with a little knowledge about everything and plenty of stories to tell. This passionate cleaner and full-time conspiracy theorist is a wild card that we can’t wait to see even more of.
4 Ava Coleman
Played by Janelle James, Ava Coleman is the principal at Abbott as well as an aspiring social media influencer.
An absolute force of nature, every time Ava struts into the frame you know you’re about to laugh. Nobody has ever not done their job as well as she does, and Abbott is better off for it. Between her fascination with Gregory and her disdain for Janine, Ava has jokes for everyone and everything around her.
3 Tariq Temple
Played by Zack Fox, Tariq Temple is the former boyfriend of Janine Teagues and an aspiring anti-drug rap artist.
Tariq is the type of guy you’d think is the coolest person ever if you weren’t old enough to know any better, and that’s exactly what makes him so great. Sure he’s a freeloader and a pretty bad boyfriend, but he makes up for every annoyance with his infectious energy and endlessly quotable lines.
Ashley Garcia was hired by principal Ava Coleman as Melissa’s aide and is played by Keyla Monterroso Mejia.
A fairly new addition to the Abbott family, Ashley wasted no time distinguishing herself as a unique member of the staff. No matter the time or place, she’s always supercharged with energy and more than willing to unleash it all on Melissa. We can’t wait to see more of this hyperactive woman-child as the show progresses.
Zach was introduced in Abbott Elementary as Jacob Hill’s supportive boyfriend and is played by Larry Owens.
It takes a special kind of person to keep up with Jacob, and Zach does it with an almost confusing amount of ease. This expert sneakerhead’s only had a handful of appearances so far, but every time he shows up his jolly energy lends itself to some great jokes.
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