The Sopranos is one of the most critically acclaimed action-drama TV shows of all time. Violence, cruelty and moments of harrowing tension dominate all six seasons of David Chase’s ground-breaking depiction of the modern-day American gangster. Not afraid to make audiences uncomfortable at a moment’s notice, you would imagine that comedy in such an intense environment would be extremely limited.
Enter Paulie 'Walnuts' Gualtieri!
Whilst the silent judgmental wit of Silvio Dante and the bumbling Bobby Baccalieri certainly contribute to the dark humour of the show, Paulie is clearly the main comic relief character of the entire Sopranos cast.
Just as vicious as his peers, but with an infectious laugh and tendency to take things a little too seriously, Paulie quickly gained a cult following amongst fans of the show. Paulie actor Tony Sirco later revealed that he initially auditioned for the role of Uncle Junior. Rather than dismiss Sirco from the show all together, Chase instead offered the actor the role of Paulie and the rest as they say is history!
Despite some of Paulie's humour being often crude and offensive, it is difficult not to laugh at his various colourful stories about the past and constant paranoia, whether it be fear of betrayal or the supernatural! This list will look at the ten funniest Paulie moments. Spoilers ahead!
10. Bobby Becomes The New Santa (...To Save Us All From Satan's Power. Season 3, Episode 10)
It is Christmas time at the Bada Bing! and the gang suddenly realise that they still don't have a Santa for the annual Christmas party. Why you would bring your child to meet Santa in the office of a strip club is a debate for another day but after Chris brings up the Santa issue during preparation for the party, the gang examines the reasons why Santa doesn't have children, as Paulie considers the rumours that Santa ordered elves to 'beat' naughty children.
Soon after, Bobby arrives with presents from Junior and quickly it becomes clear that he is the gang's choice to play Santa. Since the 'disappearance' of Salvatore 'Pussy' Bonpensiero, the gang had struggled to find a big-boned replacement, making Bobby the ideal candidate.
Bobby is initially reluctant, explaining that he doesn't know how to and that he is shy. Paulie quickly sets Bobby straight, with some good-old fashioned intimidation.
"The boss of this family told you you're going to be Santa Claus. You're Santa Claus, so shut the f*** up about it"