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Ronald "Mac" McDonald is Charlie Kelly's childhood friend and Dennis's high school friend and later roommate. He is a co-owner of Paddy's and its bouncer. He brags about his incredible hand-to-hand combat skills, though it is quite obvious he lacks any real skill or even a sense of proper athletic balance. His full name is revealed to be Ronald McDonald in the seventh season episode "The High School Reunion", though his last name involving "Mac" had been established since the introduction of his father. Mac and Dennis share an odd relationship that is highlighted in the later seasons. He is played by Rob McElhenney.
Dennis is a co-owner of Paddy's and is Deandra's twin brother. Dennis is extremely narcissistic, selfish, histrionic and vain perpetuated by his Ivy League education at the University of Pennsylvania. His sense of self-worth is entirely dependent on what others think of his appearance and he often suggests the best way to sleep with a woman is to make her think she may be raped, or by using his personal system, the D.E.N.N.I.S. system. He is played by Glenn Howerton.
Charlie is co-owner at Paddy's and a childhood friend of Mac and Dennis. Frank is his roommate and possible biological father. Charlie is the janitor at the pub, and an illiterate, alcoholic and vapors huffer, who suffers from deep psychological problems, and has anger management issues, and often screams to get his point across. He lives in squalor. Charlie's intentions are often pure, but his plans are almost always foiled. He is played by Charlie Day.
Deandra (usually called Dee) is Dennis' twin sister, the main bartender at Paddy's and the show's main female character. She is most often subject to ridicule from The Gang in many different forms: they call her extremely ugly (resembling a bird in a negative and humorous way), lazy, completely talentless, and don't count her as one of the gang, but rather as just someone who works for them. Dee dreams of becoming an actress even though she has no acting experience and has no talent, however, she deludes herself into falsely thinking she is a talented actress/comedienne. Like her brother, Dee is very egocentric and often states that she thinks she is talented and pretty, although she is constantly reminded that these statements are not true, as an example, she has been told she is "a disgusting whore" and "looks like a holocaust victim". She is played by Kaitlin Olson.
Frank is the legal (but not biological) father of twins Dennis and Dee, and possibly the biological father of his roommate Charlie. He constantly carries a gun with him and frequently pulls it out for any number of situations. He used to be a successful businessman with a long history of illegal operations (such as sweat shops and drug-dealing) and dealings with sordid characters. Though he is fairly wealthy and has the money to live elsewhere, he chooses to live in squalor with Charlie in order to add excitement to his life following his split from his ex-wife Barbara, who he frequently refers to as his "goddamn whore-wife". This lifestyle choice involves eating cat food, living on about five dollars a week, keeping a mini meats fridge in his apartment, as well as sausages in his shirt pocket, and sharing a bed with Charlie, which is also their couch. He doesn't believe in, or trust psychiatrists, and was admitted into a school for clinically insane children for a short while as a child, before he was cleared of any legal mental issues. He is frequently seen in strip clubs, and sleeping with prostitutes (even becoming engaged to a "crack whore" in the season 7 premiere). He is portrayed by Danny DeVito.
Artemis Dubois (Artemis Pebdani) is one of the more frequently recurring secondary characters, introduced in "Charlie Gets Cancer" as Dee's friend from her acting classes who acts out a scene from Coyote Ugly (a film that featured Kaitlin Olson in a small part). Artemis is overly serious about her craft and displays bizarre habits and outbursts. She is very open about her sexuality and often offers to perform in the nude, even when it is unnecessary. Recently, she was involved in a sexual relationship with Frank and the two shared a food fetish. She likes having sex with bacon bits in her hair because it "makes her feel like a cobb salad." She and Frank once had makeup sex in a dumpster behind Wendy's, where she incorporated a bun. She has openly proclaimed that she has a "bleached asshole".
Carmen (Brittany Daniel) is a trans woman who was dating Mac. She first appears in the season 1 episode "Charlie Has Cancer", then reappears in the season 3 episode "Mac Is a Serial Killer". She is attractive but displays an obvious bulge in her pants. She keeps Mac interested in her with promises of undergoing sexual reassignment surgery and with constant flattery of Mac's physique. In "Mac Fights Gay Marriage", she has completely removed her penis, and has gotten married to Nick, much to Mac's dismay. In "Dee Gives Birth" it is revealed that Carmen is the father of Dee's baby (she had her sperm frozen before she had her penis removed) and that they used an anonymous egg donor and Dee was merely a surrogate. Dee gave the baby to Carmen and her husband Nick to raise. In the unaired pilot Carmen is portrayed by Morena Baccarin.
Duncan (David Gueriera) and his right-hand man, Z (Chad Coleman), are Frank's bizarre friends that he met under a bridge. They appear in "Charlie Kelly: King Of The Rats" where Frank wants the gang to invite them to go to the gang's luau. They later appear in "Dee Gives Birth" to provide music for their party/interrogation of Dee's potential baby's daddies. Z also makes a brief appearance in "The Gangs Tries Desperately to Win an Award".
Ernie (David Zdunich) is the "Barfly" who is commonly seen in the background in the bar. He is in every single episode that is shot in the bar, but he is noticed in the episode "Paddy's Pub: The Worst Bar in Philadelphia." handing over the paper to the "gang" for them to see the journalist's article as well as "Sweet Dee is Dating a Retarded Person" in which he sets up Mac, Frank and Charlie's band equipment. David Zdunich died in 2009. The season five episode "Paddy's Pub: Home Of The Original Kitten Mittens" was dedicated to him. Note that he is still visible in the bar scene shots, as the gang hung up a picture of him behind the bar in his honor (e.g., S07E08 at 17:15).
Brad Fisher (Nick Wechsler) is first introduced as the Waitress' fiancee in the season 5 episode "The Waitress Is Getting Married". Brad dated both Dee and the Waitress in High School but both dumped him because of his acne. He rekindles both relationships in a plot to humiliate them. Charlie gives Brad a wedding gift of a box full of hornets. Brad returns in the season 7 episode "The High School Reunion" where his face is scarred from the hornet stings. He gets "revenge" on Charlie for this by giving him a wedgie when Charlie has passed out from huffing chemicals in a restroom, but is horrified when Charlie's filthy underwear splinters into shreds in his hands.
Gladys (Mae Laborde) is a senior citizen the gang calls upon who has a penchant for long rambling stories. She played the piano during Charlie's play in the season 4 finale "The Nightman Cometh". Dennis pretends she is his grandmother to win back a former girlfriend in "The D.E.N.N.I.S. System". She claims she was friends with Calvin Coolidge and that her grandmother was the lesbian lover of Susan B. Anthony.
Josh Groban (Himself) is a famous singer. Sweet Dee and Artemis are huge Groban fans, calling themselves “Grobanites.” Dee's love of the singer leads her to self-tan and wear white shorts, explaining "Josh Groban likes his ladies to pop." Dee and Artemis get backstage passes to a Groban show, but Dee is unable to attend because Frank had poisoned her and tied her up. In the season nine episode "The Gang Saves the Day," Groban appears in a fantasy of Dee's. In the fantasy, Dee is a celebrity who achieves fame after entering witness protection through her portrayal of an English butler character, in an allusion to the 1980s television series Mr. Belvedere. She marries Groban, but their marriage lasts only 17 minutes with Dee divorcing Groban for Brad Pitt.
Uncle Jack Kelly (Andrew Friedman) is Charlie's uncle (the brother of Charlie's mother Bonnie) and a lawyer. He first appeared in the season 1 finale "Charlie Got Molested" wherein Charlie's family gives him an intervention to get him to admit he had been molested by his elementary school teacher (this belief was fostered by the scam the McPoyles were running to extort money from the school system). Uncle Jack appears again in the season 5 episode "The Great Recession." When Charlie tries to move back in with his mother after Frank kicks him out of their apartment, she reveals that she sublet Charlie's room to Uncle Jack to earn extra money. Jack insists they share the room and spend time wrestling there. In the season 6 episode "Dennis Gets Divorced," Charlie and Frank call in Jack, who is revealed to be a lawyer, to handle their divorce. Later, Dennis and Mac use him to try to get their apartment back from Dennis' ex-wife, only to find that she hired The Lawyer. Jack proves to be incompetent, getting the apartment back in exchange for Dennis taking his wife's $90,000 debt. It is heavily implied that Uncle Jack is a pedophile and wants to have sex with his nephew. Charlie has mentioned how, as a child, he would stay awake at night because Uncle Jack would want to sleep in his bed, and Charlie's lyrics to "Nightman" seem to revolve around a man sneaking into his room at night and raping him.
The Lawyer (Brian Unger) is first seen in "Dennis and Dee's Mom Is Dead" where The Gang mistake him for having personal involvement as the executor of Barbara Reynolds' will. He returns in Season 5, eager to personally stop Frank—he represents a family that Frank is trying to force out of their house. After Charlie makes an attempt to prove that he's more legally apt than the actual lawyer, he challenges him to a duel; the lawyer immediately accepts, claiming to have a loaded gun in his office desk. He also appears again in "Paddy’s Pub: Home of the Original Kitten Mittens" when The Gang goes to him to get patents for products that they have created. He later tricks them into signing a document that grants him all the profits from the products as well as imposing a restraining order on them. He is also present at the end of "Dennis Gets Divorced" where he works pro-bono for Maureen Ponderosa, securing a deal with Charlie's Uncle Jack Kelly, who is a lawyer, where Dennis can keep his apartment in exchange for assuming $90K of Maureen's debt.
Kevin Gallagher (Kyle Davis) a potentially retarded rapper who dates Dee in "Sweet Dee Is Dating A Retarded Person". Dennis convinces Dee to dump Kevin because he's retarded only for her to later discover he isn't. He later returns as one of Dee's baby's potential fathers in "Dee Gives Birth".
The Korean Busboy (Maxie J. Santillan Jr.) worked at the Korean restaurant that threatened to steal business away from Paddy Pub's in "The Gang Solves The North Korea Situation". Dee sleeps with him to get information about their secret microbrew recipe. He gives her a note written in Korean purportedly containing the recipe, but when the Gang has it translated it turns out to read "Bony American is dirty dirty whore. She bring much shame to herself and country." He later returns as one of Dee's potential baby's fathers in "Dee Gives Birth".
Father Matthew "Rickety Cricket" Mara (David Hornsby), usually referred to as "Cricket" or "Street Rat" is a Roman Catholic priest who becomes defrocked, destitute, abducted, assaulted (both non-sexually and sexually), threatened, hunted, severely injured and addicted to cocaine all directly or indirectly resulting from the influence or action of Deandra, Dennis, Charlie and Mac, who are his former high school classmates. As a boy he suffered from a medical condition that required the use of very conspicuous complex leg braces which inspired the pejorative nickname "Rickety Cricket". He first appears in "The Gang Exploits a Miracle" where it is revealed that he has continued to harbor a highschool crush on Deandra (who at the time used an elaborate semi-permanent aluminum medical back brace earning her the moniker "The Aluminum Monster"). He admits he was convinced to eat horse feces for a chance to kiss Dee, which she refused since, as she says, "his breath smelled like shit". Mac and Dennis have been teabagging Cricket at every opportunity since high school. Dennis claims that he has a shoebox full of pictures of him and Mac doing this, and pictures are surfacing on the Internet.
One recurring theme in the series is Cricket's downward spiral; due to his involvement with the Gang he leaves the priesthood, supports himself by grifting or panhandling, becomes addicted to crack cocaine, has his legs broken by members of the Philadelphia Mafia, has his throat sliced by Frank in a wrestling match, is hunted by Mac and Dennis for sport, and suffers a gunshot wound when he is trespassing at Paddy's and Frank accidentally shoots him. He is then left bleeding in the car by Frank and Dee while they go into a store full of hurricane-panicking people, and he ends up driving through the doors of the place and further injuring himself. He has since carried a vendetta against The Gang and attempts to get his revenge in various episodes, but consistently fails to do so. He shows up in "Mac's Big Break", when he appears on Dennis and Dee's inaugural podcast, remarking about his life as a homeless person. He also shows up in "Dee Gives Birth" because Frank was trying "to cast a wider net" in finding out the identity of Dee's baby's father and he considered Rickety Cricket to be "the wildcard". He shows up at his high school reunion claiming to have returned to being a priest but actually uses the opportunity to steal jewelry from the other alumni. The other alumni mock him and physically eject him when it is discovered he has ring worm, but his rants about how Dee loved and left him leads the cool crowd to reject her. In the season eight premiere, "Pop–Pop: The Final Solution", where it is announced that he is working at a local pound for community service. He has a new scar on his face which he says was from a "skirmish" with a stray chocolate lab, in which he paralyzed the dog. He claims to be a dog executioner, but then admits he's a janitor.
Dr. Larry Meyers (Rene Auberjonois) is the high-school drama teacher who taught Dee. He appeared in The Gang Gets A New Member in which, Dee and The Gang open a time a capsule and in it was a check from Dee to him for a million dollars. Dee goes back to her high-school to talk to Dr. Meyers. He tells her that he was an alcoholic and that she must give up. He also reminds her of a musical she was in, Frankenstein. Later he trips and gets injured as a result of Charlie becoming a member of the school's custodial staff and waxing Dr. Meyers's classroom. He does not appear again in the series due to the injury. Dee takes over as a substitute.
Principal Brian McIntyre (Dave Foley) is the high school principal who hires Dee as a substitute teacher and Charlie as a janitor in "The Gang Gets A New Member". He fires both of them in the next episode "Dee Reynolds: Shaping America's Youth" because Dee took her students on a field trip to Paddy's Pub to watch Mac and Dennis's Lethal Weapon 5 movie and because Charlie's mentoring of a student named Richie led to him dressing up in blackface after watching the movie. The principal laments that he probably won't be employed at the school much longer either due to their shenanigans. Principal McIntyre appears again in the episode "Gun Fever Too: Still Hot", where he is now the principal of a middle school. It is revealed that because of tenure, rather than being terminated, he was reassigned.
Brothers Liam (Jimmi Simpson) and Ryan McPoyle (Nate Mooney) are creepy former elementary-school classmates of Mac and Charlie. They are introduced in "Charlie Got Molested" when they falsely accuse a former teacher of pedophilia and Charlie and the rest of the gang foil their plan and turn them in to the police, which sparks the McPoyles' antipathy toward the Paddy's Pub gang. Liam and Ryan have an incestuous relationship with each other and their deaf-mute sister Margaret (Thesy Surface). As seen in "The Gang Gets Invincible", they have at least 14 other siblings and family members, who all sport the McPoyle unibrows, acne, and eczema. The most notable relative is "Doyle McPoyle" (Bob Rusch), an aspiring football player who lost his chance to play for the Philadelphia Eagles when a hallucinating Frank accidentally shot him in the leg. Ryan and Liam avenge this in the episode "The Gang Gets Held Hostage" by faking a raid on the bar. Ryan seems to have a strange addiction of inhaling Pledge furniture cleaner, and all the McPoyles seem to drink only milk and to prefer warm, clammy conditions, which explains their constant sweaty appearance. Liam later becomes engaged to Maureen Ponderosa but the marriage does not happen, after Dennis sleeps with her again.
Ingrid Nelson AKA Fatty Magoo (Judy Greer) was a high school friend of Dee's who appeared in the season 3 episode "The Aluminum Monster Vs. Fatty Magoo". In High School Dee wore a back brace and was dubbed the Aluminum Monster while Ingrid was morbidly obese and was given the name Fatty Magoo. Dee would always build herself up and put Ingrid down. Ingrid grew up to be a rich and successful fashion designer. Dee, feeling threatened by Ingrid's success, tried to get the Gang's help in destroying Ingrid while Dennis tried to sell his dress design to her. even going so far as to wear it himself. Ingrid later returns in the season 7 finale "The High School Reunion: The Gang Gets Revenge".
Nick (Windell Middlebrooks) is Carmen's portly African-American husband. Mac is initially annoyed that Carmen had moved on to Nick instead of calling him after she had her penis removed. Mac does not agree with gay marriage and quotes the Bible verse Romans 1:27 to Nick, to which Nick responds with the Bible quote Exodus 21:20 endorsing slavery. Nick later appears in "Dee Gives Birth" where it is revealed that Dee is a surrogate for the couple since Nick cannot have kids but Carmen had frozen her sperm before her operation.
Bill Ponderosa (Lance Barber) first appears in "Mac Fights Gay Marriage" and the follow-up episode "Dennis Gets Divorced" as Dee's high school crush and the brother of Dennis's high school girlfriend Maureen Ponderosa. He has put on a lot of weight since high school. Dee eventually becomes his mistress when Dee thinks he bought her a new car when in fact the car belongs to another of Bill's mistresses. Bill returns to his wife. Bill later returns in "Dee Gives Birth" as one of Dee's potential baby's daddies. Bill reveals that he tells girls he's had a vasectomy so he doesn't have to use a condom. He appears in the episode "The Maureen Ponderosa Wedding Massacre" where he spikes a punch bowl with bath salts and it is revealed that Frank is his AA sponsor. He also displays an affinity for cocaine.
Maureen Ponderosa (Catherine Reitman) is Dennis's high school girlfriend and the sister of Bill Ponderosa. Dennis eventually gets back in touch with Maureen and marries her in "Mac Fights Gay Marriage". She has a dead tooth that makes her breath "smell like she nibbled on little pieces of shit". Dennis gets tired of Maureen fairly quickly and in "Dennis Gets Divorced" she hires the Lawyer as her divorce attorney, ending up in a total demolition of Dennis where he has to assume her tens of thousands of dollars in debt as well as pay her monthly alimony. She later appears in "The High School Reunion" and reveals she's spending her alimony money on a diamond for her dead tooth. Maureen got a breast enhancement sometime between seasons 6 and 8. She became engaged to Liam McPoyle but on the day of the wedding, upon seeing Maureen's new body, Dennis sleeps with her again.
Rex (T. J. Hoban) first appears in "America's Next Top Paddy's Billboard Model Contest" as one of the male models vying for the spot on Paddy's Pub's billboard. Although an early favorite of Frank's eventually Frank himself appears on the billboard. He has also been in a few episodes since.
Peter Schmidt aka Schmitty (Jason Sudeikis) A former member of the gang back in high school. Mac and Dennis kicked Schmitty out of the gang (and a moving car) to make Charlie happy. Charlie and Schmitty used to be roommates and Charlie always feels upstaged by Schmitty. The gang kicks Charlie out and welcomes Schmitty back in the season 6 episode "The Gang Gets A New Member" but he quickly earns their ire when he upstages Mac and Dennis and is kicked out again. He returns in the Season 7 finale "The High School Reunion: The Gang Gets Revenge" and appears out of nowhere to take the Waitress up on her drunken offer to bang 'the next guy who talks to her', (just seconds before Charlie can utter a word).
Ben Smith (Travis Schuldt) is first introduced in "The Gang Wrestles for the Troops" as Dee's online chat buddy "soldier of fortune". He served as an American soldier in Iraq. He is mistaken as a handicapped person while getting off a bus from the airport in a wheelchair. Dee does not want to date a handicapped person so she decides to pretend that he was talking to Artemis over the internet, but soon discovers he isn't handicapped, he just twisted his knee getting off a plane in Germany. Ben is seen again in the episode "The D.E.N.N.I.S system" as Dee's boyfriend. He dumps her, calling her a "mean person" and goes for a pharmacist that dumped Dennis after the latter "Dennis-ed" her. Travis' character recurs again in season six with the episode "Mac's Big Break." Ben is seen chiefly wearing the jean shorts Frank purchased for him as a welcome-home gift. He appears again in "Dee Gives birth" as one of Dee's baby's potential fathers. He is again seen wearing the jean shorts.
The Unknown Actor (Geoffrey Owens) first appears in the episode "The Gang Gets Invincible" when the gang tries out for the Philadelphia Eagles. He pretends to be Donovan McNabb doing a plug for McDonald's but the gang calls him out, recoognizing him as "that guy from The Cosby Show" who played "Sondra's husband Alvin." Owens was indeed on The Cosby Show as Sondra's husband Elvin. In the season 7 episode "Frank's Pretty Woman" he appears, claiming to be Tiger Woods paying Frank's hooker girlfriend for her services, revealing that he's into "foot shit." Dee calls him out for not being Tiger Woods and recognizes him as that actor who pretended to be Donovan McNabb. He then claims to be actor Don Cheadle, but Dee doesn't fall for it either. It's implied that Dee does take him up on his offer to pay her to play with her "bizarrely huge" feet.
The Waitress (Mary Elizabeth Ellis) is the most frequently recurring character outside of The Gang. Introduced in the first episode, "The Gang Gets Racist," as the object of Charlie's affections, she works at a coffee shop near Paddy's. She has absolutely no interest in Charlie but has managed to sleep with the other three lead male characters. She harbors an unrequited crush on Dennis, who slept with her in the episode "Charlie Has Cancer". Attempting to make Dennis jealous, she "banged" Frank in "Mac Bangs Dennis' Mom" and grinds on a homeless man in "The Gang Dances Their Asses Off". She nearly has relations with Mac in "Mac's Banging the Waitress".
She spent a night with Charlie at the Jersey Shore while she was high on Ecstasy; in the morning she was sickened and fled from Charlie after accusing him of raping her, but Charlie was just happy he got to spend that time with her. Charlie goes to great lengths to woo her, while she goes to great lengths to attract Dennis' attention. Frequently, her infatuation with Dennis causes her to make decisions against her better moral judgment and often end up the victim of The Gang's manipulative schemes. She is a recovering alcoholic, a fact first referenced in "The Gang Gives Back," when she becomes Charlie's Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor, and then in "Who Pooped the Bed" and "The Waitress Gets Married."
As a running gag, her real name is never mentioned; she is simply referred to as "The Waitress," and directly as "Waitress." It was hinted Charlie may know her name in "The Gang Sells Out" when he chides her for liking Dennis when he doesn't even know her real name. The only clues to her name are that it does not start with "W" and is not "Beautiful," the name Dennis guessed when he was accused of not knowing it. In "The Waitress Is Getting Married," it is revealed that she went to high school with the Gang, where she and Dee dated the same guy (a retcon after not knowing Dee when they 'first meet' in the second episode of the series). In the episode "Charlie and Dee Find Love" she calls Dennis and he doesn't recognize the name until she says "Waitress" to which he replies "Why don't you just say waitress?" She attends the high-school reunion with the Gang, where her name tag is missing (further implying her status as 'easily forgettable', a theme in that episode), preventing her name from being revealed. Many fans assumed her name was Nikki Potnick when Frank showed up with a stolen tag bearing that name. However, Glenn Howerton specified on Twitter that this is not the case. Nikki Potnik is mentioned by Charlie in the episode "Underage Drinking a National Concern" when he reminisces how the gang crashed Potnick's car into a tree during a night of underage drinking.
Mary Elizabeth Ellis is Charlie Day's real-life wife.