The Sopranos is generally a dark show. Whether it’s a New York mob boss getting whacked in broad daylight at a gas station or a character having weird dreams about the dead, there is never a shortage of moments meant to freak out viewers. However, these scenes never linger too long on the mind because they are always followed by comical proceedings. The HBO drama’s humor mostly stems from the dialogue, though there are a few occasions when the mobsters and their associates are shown doing something silly without even realizing it. Among the numerous hilarious scenes on the show, the following stick out more because of the characters’ clever choice of words or the sheer absurdity of their actions.
10. Silvio Does a Michael Corleone Impression
Silvio does a Michael Corleone impression a number of times in the show, but the best one comes when a returning Big Pussy (who lied that he was away seeking treatment in Puerto Rico while he was actually helping the FBI) begs him to do it again. Using the appropriate facial and bodily expressions, the consigliere repeats what is now regarded as one of the best quotes in The Godfather trilogy — “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”
In The Godfather Part III, Michael Corleone says the words when he realizes he is being double-crossed. At that point, he is aiming to go legit. He invests in the real-estate company, Immobiliare, and even renames the Corleone crime family to the Corleone group, Sadly, the discovery leaves him with no choice but to go back into the life of crime in order to make his enemies pay.
9. Artie Prepares for the Confrontation with Jean-Phillipe
The effortless manner in which humor and drama are blended is one of the major reasons The Sopranos is considered the greatest mafia show. One scene that best demonstrates this is when the restaurateur Artie Bucco prepares to go collect his money from Jean-Phillipe. Because the Frenchman has been avoiding his calls, Artie knows that the confrontation won’t be easy, so he wears a black gangster jacket and gasses himself up in front of the mirror.
It’s something he’d rather not be doing, and he had even asked Tony for help first, only for the mob boss to suggest that he should “handle his business like a man.” By watching the rather cowardly Artie prepare for the big collection, one can’t help but burst out in laughter. As expected, it doesn’t go well. Jean-Phillipe beats him up and even tears his ear, causing him to lose all the little confidence he has left.
8. Ralph Prank-Calls Paulie’s Mother
Ralph never plays fair and when it comes to his feud with Paulie, he takes matters to the extreme. Whether it’s blatantly calling him stupid or giving him a lower potion of a heist score, he does it all. His meanest and funniest move plays out when he calls Paulie’s mother at the nursing home with some fake bad news.
While silently giggling, Ralph informs her that Paulie has been busted having sex in public. He then makes it worse by narrating how a small rodent was also found in Paulie’s rectum. The fake accent and the struggle to contain his own amusement make the moment a golden one, and he indeed achieves what he wants because Paulie’s mother becomes completely unsettled.
7. Dr. Melfi Thinks RICO is Tony’s Brother
During a therapy session with Dr. Melfi, Tony lets her know that he is afraid of RICO. She wonders whether he is referring to a ‘brother’ of his whom he is struggling to deal with, but Tony corrects her, informing her that’s a federal law which means “Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations” in full.
To anyone who isn’t aware of how organized crime and law enforcement organizations work, RICO might indeed sound like the name of a tough gangster. And as chucklesome as Dr. Mefli’s display of ignorance is, it reminds viewers that she is perhaps the only clean character in the show. She is only focused on doing her job and general knowledge doesn’t interest her, especially when it comes to matters concerning the mob.
6. Paulie Misquotes Tony
“Pine Barrens” is undoubtedly one of the most rewatchable episodes of The Sopranos. It packs in silly dialogue and slapstick moments, resulting in a laugh fest. One of the most unforgettable lines is a misquote from Paulie. As he and Christopher are chasing the Russian mobster, Valery, in the snowy New Jersey Pine Barrens, Tony calls him and tells him to be careful because the man used to be a Russian Interior Ministry mercenary and that he killed 16 Chechen rebels.
After hanging up, Paulie turns to Christopher and his face suddenly becomes wrinkled (because of the cold weather and general fear). He then tells his colleague that Valery is an interior decorator who killed 16 Czechoslovakians. Christopher’s reaction is even better as he wonders how the hell Valery does interior design, yet they had been to his house and it “looked like sh**.
5. Tony Performs “South of the Border”
The Cosa Nostra is heavily chauvinistic and among the many things the mobsters on the show consider unmanly is performing cunnilingus. Brouhaha, therefore, emerges when it is disclosed that the ever-tough Uncle Junior enjoys using his mouth during intimacy. Tony, in particular, can’t help but make fun of his uncle. To him, it’s a chance for payback because Junior has hurt him many times, notably the time he blatantly told that he never had what it took to be a varsity athlete.
During a golf session, Tony suddenly decides to perform Patsy Cline’s legendary song, “South of the Border (Down the Mexico Way). He deliberately uses the song’s lyrics to allude to Junior’s penchant for cunnilingus, something that almost causes the elderly mobster to erupt in fury. Though it’s meant as a joke, the incident ends up triggering extreme animosity between the two.
4. Christopher’s Intervention
Christopher is undoubtedly one of the best-written characters in The Sopranos, and that’s mainly because he hardly gets his affairs in order. Unwilling to let him wallow further in addiction, his friends and colleagues organize an intervention. While at it, things quickly spiral out of control. The mediator tries to keep things civil but many of Christopher’s mob associates lash out at him, especially Tony, who loses his call after learning that the young mobster sat on a dog and killed it.
In response, Christopher chooses to insult everyone in the room and expose their sins, arguing that they have logs in their own eyes, yet they are trying to remove a speck in his. This leaves them with no option but to beat him up. What initially seemed like a meeting that was going to change Christopher’s life ends with him nursing a hairline skull fracture in the hospital.
3. Big Pussy Gets Carried Away
Initially, Big Pussy spends his days worrying that his fellow DiMeo crime family members might discover that he is an FBI informant, but he soon becomes too comfortable. In one scene, his handler, Agent Skip Lari, tasks him with monitoring Christopher ,and while doing so, Pussy gets so carried away that he starts using law enforcement lingo to communicate.
“Searchlight Diner. 5:15 am. Subject has still not left the location. Sun coming up,” he says. The best part of it all is that he isn’t intentionally doing it in a comical way. He truly sees himself as an FBI agent now and as he is deep into his delusion, he ends up injuring himself while driving his car. After the incident, Agent Lari feels compelled to remind him that he is just a “rat” and nothing more.
2. Paulie Makes Fun of Vito and Bobby’s Weight
The Sopranos crossed sensitivity lines a couple of times, but by coating it all with humor, any furore was avoided. One such example is the scene where Paulie sees Vito and Bobby talking to each other. Quickly, he turns to Christopher and says, “Oh, look at that! It’s like an ad for a weight loss center. Before, and way before!”
It’s a mean thing to say, but the writers chose the right person to give the lines to. Paulie had never been one to mince his words, and on this occasion, he is hilariously right because Bobby and Paulie are both huge men, only that one happens to be slightly bigger than the other.
1. Furio Intimidates Dr. Kennedy
Furio is the kind of enforcer every Don needs, and he proves it once again when he and Tony confront Uncle Junior’s surgeon. Dr. Kennedy at the golf course. Because the surgeon has begun avoiding the elderly mobster and putting him far down his appointment list, Tony figures he needs to force his hand.
Initially, Dr. Kennedy appears disinterested in talking to them, but he is forced to pay attention when Furio deliberately knocks his hat off, after barking, “There is a bee on your hat!” Furio then jokes that he sees more bees, implying that he is going to continue smacking Dr. Kennedy if he doesn’t change his attitude. Realizing the mobsters mean business, the surgeon promises to prioritize Uncle Junior’s surgery.