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Big Bang Theory Funniest Moments Ranked

Leonard, Sheldon, Raj, and Howard are a group of geeky scientists who have trouble interacting with girls. The life of the four friends is turned upside-down when cute waitress Penny (Kaley Cuoco) moves into the apartment across the hall from Leonard and Sheldon. Penny's presence opens the smitten Leonard and his friends up to a world beyond science and their nerdy hobbies, usually with hilarious results.

Created by Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady, "The Big Bang Theory" premiered on CBS in 2007 and concluded in 2019 after 12 seasons. The show was a pop culture juggernaut, hitting the sweet spot with the internet's newly-evolving meme culture and playing host to a number of celebrity cameos from the scientific and sci-fi community.

"The Big Bang Theory" has provided audiences with a number of laugh-out-loud moments. Whether it's the guys trying unsuccessfully to hit on women, Sheldon having one of his patented hissy-fits over petty issues, or the situations that arise from the later additions of Amy and Bernadette to the main cast, here are some of the funniest moments from "The Big Bang Theory." 

14. The guys ask Sheldon's sister out

Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) usually gives off the energy of some alien lifeform who was accidentally dropped on Earth and is now trying his best to get used to human life. But as it turns out, not only does Sheldon have a human family, he also has a twin sister named Missy (Courtney Henggeler) whom the gang meets in "The Pork Chop Indeterminacy" (Season 1, Episode 15).

Not only is Missy much more sociable than Sheldon, she's also incredibly attractive. Naturally, Leonard (Johnny Galecki), Howard (Simon Helberg), and Raj (Kunal Nayyar) are completely infatuated, and have a prolonged argument over which of them deserves to date Missy.

Eventually, all three take turns asking her out. First comes Leonard, who's immediately shot down and later remarks, "There's something we didn't anticipate." Apparently, the idea that Missy might actually say no hasn't occurred to any of them. Following Leonard, Howard shoots his shot with an elaborate magic trick that gets the door slammed in his face.

Finally, Raj screws up the courage to ask Missy out, and it actually seems like she's into him. Unfortunately, the medication that enables Raj to talk to women chooses that moment to stop working. All he can do is stand in front of Missy and make a curious moaning sound before walking dejectedly away.    

13. Alex talks to Raj

Raj's medical condition of selective mutism, which renders him incapable of talking to women without getting drunk, is a source of never-ending comedy during the early seasons of "The Big Bang Theory." In "The Higgs Boson Observation" (Season 6, Episode 3), we see one of the funniest instances of Raj's condition when he meets Alex (Margo Harshman). 

Alex is an attractive graduate student Sheldon hires as his intern. Raj is immediately smitten with Alex, going as far as to declare dibs on her. But while he talks a big game, Raj is unable to walk the walk. During lunch, Leonard invites Alex to sit at their table along with Raj and Sheldon. 

When Alex mentions that the topic of her graduate thesis is in the realm of astrophysics, Leonard mentions that Raj happens to be an actual astrophysicist. This seems like the perfect opportunity for Raj to jump in, with Alex looking to him expectantly. Instead, all Raj can do is stare at Leonard with loathing for putting him on the spot before silently moving to another table.  

12. Sheldon teaches Penny physics

As an award-winning physicist, Sheldon regularly performs impressive intellectual tasks. But perhaps his most formidable challenge comes in "The Gorilla Experiment" (Season 3, Episode 10) when Penny wants to take an interest in Leonard's work and asks Sheldon to teach her a bit of physics so she can have conversations with Leonard about his experiments. 

Although reluctant at first, Sheldon eventually decides to accept the challenge. He asks Penny to grab a pen and notebook and join him on a "2,600-year journey" that begins in Ancient Greece. What follows is a hilarious few minutes of Sheldon and Penny getting on each other's nerves. Penny starts out wanting to go to the bathroom before the study session has even begun. Then, when Sheldon really gets into the nitty-gritty of gravitational fields, Penny is hopelessly lost and unable to answer any of his questions. 

Every time Penny asks Sheldon to explain something, he insists on starting again with Ancient Greece. Finally, the pressure gets to Penny, and she starts crying because she feels stupid. To this, Sheldon's immortal reply is, "Well, that's no reason to cry. No, one cries because one is sad. For example, I cry because others are stupid and it makes me sad." The entire scene is a perfect example of the crazy yet weirdly sympathetic dynamic that comes to define Sheldon and Penny's relationship.

11. The guys pee together

If there's one thing that excites Leonard, Sheldon, Raj, and Howard more that science, it's science-fiction and fantasy films. So in "The Precious Fragmentation" (Season 3, Episode 17), the gang is beside themselves with joy upon discovering that they've come into possession of the One Ring prop from "The Lord of the Rings." 

Immediately, the gang falls into vicious infighting over who gets to keep the ring. To settle the issue, the four agree to hold on to the ring at the same time, with the last one left holding it to be declared the owner. Leonard is the first to fall, leaving Sheldon, Raj, and Howard duking it out to remain the last man standing. 

The three try hilarious methods to make the others walk away from the competition. "Yo mama" jokes are fired, Sheldon's grandmother's romantic life is called into question, and running water is employed to try to induce a case of urgent bladder. That last gambit works too well, and all three men suddenly need to visit the bathroom. We don't get to see what happens in there, but Leonard does furiously remark later, "I don't know what happened in that bathroom, but I'm not cleaning it."    

10. Penny tells knock-knock jokes

Sheldon's habit of knocking three times in rapid succession is well-known to his friends. Usually they let it be, since it's actually one of Sheldon's least-annoying quirks. But in "The Infestation Hypothesis" (Season 5, Episode 2), Penny comes up with a hilarious way to have fun with Sheldon and his knocking.

The issue arises when Sheldon learns that Penny has picked up a new couch off the streets. Horrified, Sheldon charges over to Penny's apartment to convince her to get rid of the couch before its alien parasites infect their entire building. Each time Sheldon knocks on Penny's door three times, she opens the door with one-liners like "What's up, Buttercup?" and "What's the word, hummingbird?" before slamming the door in Sheldon's face again.

This happens several times, with Sheldon growing increasingly desperate for Penny to listen to reason. On the last knock, Penny opens her door and shoves the cushion from her couch in Sheldon's face, causing him to run away screaming ... before coming back for a quick second to complete the third knock on the door.    

9. Raj tries to protect his sister

In a sea of non-threatening characters, Raj is possibly the least threatening of all. Not even his little sister Priya (Aarti Mann) can pretend to be respectful of his wishes, particularly when he's trying to get involved in her love life. This is made amply clear in "The Cohabitation Formulation" (Season 4, Episode 16).

When Priya is visiting Raj, Leonard shows up wanting to get back together with her. Raj disapproves of the relationship and emphatically forbids Leonard from talking to Priya. When the two start talking anyway, Raj prohibits them from going into Priya's bedroom. When they do that anyway, Raj bans them from closing the door. After the door closes anyway, Raj has no choice but to leave a voice mail for Leonard and Priya asking them to call him after they're done talking. 

Later, Raj tries forbidding Leonard and Priya from holding hands, even though it's obvious the two spent the night together. At the end of the episode, Leonard and Priya have officially gotten together and gone to Catalina for the weekend, and Sheldon notes that Raj is still sitting at home, forbidding the whole thing from afar.  

8. Sheldon's drunken speech

Sheldon is someone who prides himself on having complete command of his faculties at all times, so some of the funniest moments arise when he loses control and makes a fool of himself. A perfect example occurs in "The Pants Alternative" (Season 3, Episode 18) when Sheldon gets drunk before making a big speech.

After earning a major award, Sheldon learns that he has to make a speech in front of a large crowd of his peers. He then reveals that he has a crippling fear of public speaking. After the gang tries various methods to rid Sheldon of his fear, the solution appears to be getting Sheldon drunk before the speech. But this "solution" leads to hilarious new complications when Sheldon becomes tipsily overconfident. 

As soon as he breezily takes the stage, it's clear he's lost all social filters. He cracks lame jokes about chickens and Möbius strips, problematically picks out his Asian colleagues for special mention, and makes jokes about geologists before admitting he has "no respect for the field." The night ends in a drunken haze for Sheldon, and he learns the next day that a video of him taking his pants off at the end of the speech has gone viral on YouTube. 

7. Howard loses his mind in outer space

Howard Wolowitz talks a big game, but he's actually a pretty timorous character. Still, the dude gets eternal bragging rights for going to space, even if his time there in "The Higgs Boson Observation" (Season 6, Episode 3) is far from a triumph. 

From orbit, Howard calls Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) to inform her that his flight back to Earth has been delayed by about 10 days. In the meantime, Howard can't sleep, and the zero-gravity is giving him crazy acid reflux. Over the next few days, Howard becomes increasingly more deranged on his calls, from holding his breath so he doesn't use up all the oxygen to asking Bernadette to promise she'll never have sex with another man if he dies. 

By the time Howard's time in space comes to a close, he's gone hilariously off the deep end — so much so that the other astronauts have to hold him down and inject him with a relaxant that turns him loopy. The last image is of him taking his pants off while a scandalized Bernadette hisses, "Howie, stop that. NASA's watching this. Put your pants back on!"   

6. Sheldon loses the Physics Bowl

Although Sheldon mellows out over time, the earliest seasons show just how prideful he is about his intelligence, and how hilariously that ego can turn on him. In "The Bat Jar Conjecture" (Season 1, Episode 13), Sheldon suffers a huge loss because of his inability to let others win — even when they're on his side.

The whole ordeal starts when Leonard, Sheldon, Raj, and Howard decide to compete in a Physics Bowl against their colleagues. Although reluctant to join in at first, soon Sheldon's bossy tendencies kick in. He tries to take control of their team, from picking the name to answering all the questions on his own. The other three are finally goaded into kicking Sheldon off the team.

In retaliation, Sheldon starts his own team with the condition that the other members not speak and let him answer everything. In the end, the Physics Bowl comes down to a final question that Sheldon doesn't know the answer to — but one of his teammates does. Because of his petty ego, Sheldon refuses to accept the answer. He also refuses to accept defeat, leading to a hilarious impasse in which Sheldon keeps lodging protests against the organizers of the Bowl itself. 

5. Sheldon gets pranked

Sheldon's general air of being better than everyone else on "The Big Bang Theory" often rubs others the wrong way, particularly his friends. So it's somewhat satisfying when we see Sheldon lose his cool and genuinely freak out from time to time, like in "The Good Guy Fluctuation" (Season 5, Episode 7).

At the beginning of the episode, Sheldon is working away in his office. Suddenly, he hears a ghostly voice moaning his name. Then comes the rattling of chains. But Sheldon is unimpressed, correctly assuming that his friends are pranking him. When bloody letters appear on the wall saying, "See you in hell Sheldon," his response is, "The most frightening thing about that is the missing comma."

But after a series of fake-outs, Leonard, Howard, and Raj are actually able to prank Sheldon so hard he passes out. When Raj remarks that he'd bet Sheldon would pee his pants, Leonard glances down at their prone friend's soiled trousers and says, "Hang on. Looks like everyone's a winner!"

4. Leonard and Penny act like Sheldon's parents

Sheldon may be a grown man and a genius, but in a lot of ways he's still like a child. In fact, Leonard and Penny come to see Sheldon as their child over time, and when the pair are not on cordial terms in "The Spaghetti Catalyst" (Season 3, Episode 20), Sheldon panics trying to choose a side just as he might if he were their son.

In the end, Leonard and Penny agree that their personal differences should not put a strain on Sheldon's well-being. To make it up to him, Penny takes Sheldon to Disneyland. Leonard is reluctant to let them go alone and warns Penny not to let Sheldon eat junk food before going on Space Mountain or he'll get sick.

After Sheldon and Penny return, the strange family drama continues: Leonard tells Sheldon to get into his PJs and brush his teeth and reminds him to thank Penny for the trip. In the end, even Raj and Howard, who are no strangers to having their own relationship called into question, remark on the absurdity of the situation, with Howard saying to Raj, "Uh, yeah, the whole thing seems a little twisted to me, too."

3. Bernadette and Amy fight

Joining the main cast of "The Big Bang Theory" in later seasons after years as supporting characters is a formidable task for Bernadette and Amy (Mayim Bialik). Thankfully, both characters are well up to the challenge and end up responsible for some of the show's funniest moments, like the cat-fight that takes place in "The Parking Spot Escalation" (Season 6, Episode 9). 

It all starts when Howard and Sheldon get into a war over Sheldon's parking spot at work, which he never uses and where Howard wants to park his own new car. At first, Bernie and Amy are distressed to see the boys fighting over such a silly thing. But soon their own conversation gets heated as well, as they trade barbs over the state of Howard and Sheldon's careers.

Things get really nasty when Bernadette brings out the big guns, remarking, "Gosh, Amy. I'm sensing a little hostility. Is it maybe because, like Sheldon's work, your sex life is also theoretical?" Amy comes back with, "Yeah, well, at least when we do make love, Sheldon won't be thinking about his mother." The fight soon gets physical, eventually harming an innocent bystander: Penny gets her nose broken by Amy swinging a purse full of coins.

2. Sheldon tries to blow Leonard's mind

One of the funniest (and truest) statements about Sheldon comes when Leonard tells Penny, "You don't want to get into it with Sheldon. The guy's one lab accident away from being a supervillain." In "The Cooper-Hofstadter Polarization" (Season 1, Episode 9), Leonard forgets his own maxim, with hilarious results.

When Sheldon and Leonard are invited to present their joint research paper at an academic conference, the two are at odds over whether to go. Sheldon forbids Leonard from attending the conference and is outraged to discover that not only does Leonard plan to go alone, he also told Penny that he did the main work of their paper on his own. 

This prompts Sheldon to crash Leonard's lecture and accuse him of being a bad friend and colleague. The two get into a petty argument over which of them deserves true credit for the paper. This ends with Sheldon putting his hands to his temples and trying to blow up Leonard's brains with the power of his mind, even warning the audience, "You people in the front row, heads up. This is a splash zone," before the whole thing devolves into a slap-fight.

1. Sheldon and Penny go to war

The biggest relationship evolution in the history of "The Big Bang Theory" occurs between Penny and Sheldon. Though they eventually become like brother and sister, in the beginning, the two can barely stand each other. Sheldon initially dismisses Penny as unintelligent and shallow, while Penny sees Sheldon as weird and off-putting. This opposition culminates in the events of "The Panty Piñata Polarization" (Season 2, Episode 7), when the duo goes to war. 

After Penny refuses to bow down to Sheldon's dictates on apartment-friendly behavior like everyone else, Sheldon banishes Penny from their apartment. In retaliation, Penny messes with his food. Soon, a series of escalating retaliations break out, with Leonard caught helplessly in the middle.

In order to broker peace, Leonard has no choice but to give Penny Sheldon's mother's phone number. One short call with Mary Cooper later, Sheldon has no choice but to apologize to Penny. He even acknowledges her victory by commenting, "Well played. Just remember: With great power comes great responsibility."