- The Leadership Breakfast: Sam and Josh light a fire in the White House, learning a little too late that this particular fireplace has had its flue closed off for decades. Cut to Charlie barging into Bartlet's bedroom: "Sir, you know how you told me never to wake you up unless the building was on fire?"
- Charlie and the President's interactions are made of funny. From Season 1's Celestial Navigation: "Sir, I need you to dig in now. It wasn't a nightmare. You really are the president." "WHO IS THIS?!"
- "I mean, what in the name of everything holy could you possibly want right now?"
- The entire scene with the fire, really:
Josh: Could you possibly get us some dried leaves?
Donna: Yeah, I'll just run out to the forest and be right back. (She leaves)
Sam: You know what?
Josh: You think she was being sarcastic?
Sam: Yeah, I don't think she's getting the leaves.
- Lord John Marbury, especially versus Leo.
Marbury: Would you have something with which to light my cigarette?
Leo: Oh, I'm afraid we don't allow smoking in this part of the world.
Marbury: Really? In this part of the world, [gestures to himself] we positively encourage it.
- One of this troper's favorite moments is in The Drop-In when Leo doesn't know Marbury is there to see him.
Margaret: There's someone here to see you.
Leo: [looks at watch] Who?
Marbury: [off-screen] GERALD!
Leo: Oh, God.
- While Marbury is probably a Crowning Person Of Funny, my favorite was his introduction.
- This gem, from "He Shall From Time to Time":
Marbury: Mr. President, for centuries my kingdom has ruled India with a stick and carrot. When we had a particular problem with somebody, one solution we would try would be to make him a Maharaja—a kind of regional king. We would pay him an annual tribute, and in return he would be loyal to the Crown.
Leo: Lord Marbury, under our Constitution, the President is not empowered to create Maharajas.
Marbury: Yes, thank you for clearing that up, Leo. Having been educated at Cambridge and the Sorbonne, I am, as you know, exceedingly stupid.
- POTUS and FLOTUS. I will make a special mention of the debate episode (Season 4's Game On) where she cuts off his necktie right before he goes out. Crowning Moment of Funny leading to a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming setting the stage for a Crowning Moment of Awesome.
- The episode And It's Surely to Their Credit has this memorable scene where the First Lady (who's also a doctor) is dictating a memo to Charlie to give to the President about how he's fully recovered from the Assassination attempt:
Abbey: Just give him a message for me, would you?
Abbey: You'll want to write this down.
Charlie: Yes, ma'am.
Abbey: Your blood pressure is 120/80.
Charlie: How did you know that, ma'am?
Abbey: I'm saying his blood pressure.
Charlie: Ah... is 120/80.
Abbey: Yeah. Your EKG shows a good sinus rhythm.
Abbey: No evidence of ischemic changes.
Charlie: How are we spelling...?
Abbey: Doesn't matter. Your electrolytes and metabolic panels are within normal limits. Chest x-ray is clear, and prostate screens are fine.
Abbey: So, we can have sex now.
- Charlie steps into the Oval Office; five seconds later Bartlett comes barreling out of the room like it was on fire. A little... antsy are we, Jed? Actually, horny!Bartlett in general is a Funny Moment.
Bartlet: Abbey, you have two minutes, or I swear to God I'm gonna get Mrs. Landingham drunk.
- Then when Bartlet, in front of a roomful of children watching him attempt to do the radio address, remembers it's the time he and Abby scheduled for sex, jumps up, wrangles on his jacket, and says, "Kids, I am so sorry. I have to go now, to a special meeting... of the government!"
- When Abbey tells Bartlet about investigative journalist Nellie Bly, emphasizing her achievement in circumnavigating the world in 72 days, 6 hours, 11 minutes and 14 seconds. Bartlett replies, "She sounds like an incredible woman, Abbey. I'm particularly impressed that she beat a fictional record. If she goes down 21,000 leagues under the sea, I'll name a damn school after her! Let's have sex."
- The build-up for this joke has spanned over two seasons: The Chair of the Supreme Court is on the verge of full-blown dementia, writing statements in verse and such. He refuses to retire, because he's afraid that with a Republican Congress, Bartlet can't replace him with another left-leaning judge. The best the president can do is getting a centrist judge appointed. When in the episode The Supremes another, this time more conservative judge dies of a heart-attack, the White House is faced with a similar dilemma. Until Donna tells Josh about the two cats of her parents. Apparently, while her father preferred one cat, her mother had her heart set on another one. Therefore, they decided to compromise, and got both cats. Josh decided to do the same, by replacing the conservative judge with another conservative, and the Chair with a Democrat. When Donna finds out, she realizes what has happened:
Donna: Oh my god, you're putting my mother's cats on the Supreme Court!
- The Chief Justice's poetic opinions are pretty hilarious in and of themselves:
Toby: He wrote a dissenting opinion in what I am almost certain is trochiac tetrometer.
Bartlet: (reading) "Fear of cancer from asbestos / Fuzzy science manifestos."
and Leo: (reading) "Guilty? / Or not guilty? / Past convictions frustrate / The judge who wonders should your fate / Abate." It's a cinquain.
- Sam, on the Boston Tea Party:
- The scene where Will meets Toby for the first time to talk about helping him write Bartlet's second inaugural address. Before he came in, Toby had thrown away a page of writing he wasn't happy with, but not before setting it on fire, leading the trash can to start smoldering while Will's in there. He points this out and Toby, still talking, gets up and gets a little fire extinguisher contraption full of water and puts out the fire, as if it happens all the time... oh, words don't do it justice at all, but Richard Schiff totally sells it.
- And It's Surely to Their Credit:
C.J.: Have you noticed I'm the one of the few people around here whose nose isn't bent out of shape over Ainsley Hayes?
Toby: Yeah. Listen...
C.J.: I'm serious!
Toby: C.J., you heard the news and you slammed the door so hard it broke, okay? You heard the news and you broke the White House.
- Donna tries to get Josh to hire Joe Quincy.
This guy... there are some who would consider him handsome. I don't, personally, 'cause you're the only one I think is handsome. Josh:
But for the sake of appearances, here, around the office, I'd pretend I thought this guy was handsome if you hired him. Of course, all along it'd be a lie, 'cause of how handsome you are. And powerful. [lets her eyes drift onto his chest and sighs as if overwhelmed by handsomeness and power] Josh: ...Your sense of humor's a bit of a high-wire act, isn't it? You're really trying to thread the needle.
- The UN Secretary-General getting an earful about ambassadors not paying parking tickets:
Bartlet:There are big signs - you can't park there. They should get towed! I hope they get towed to Queens! And the Triborough is closed! And there's a big craft show at Shea! A flea market, or a tractor show!
Bartlet slams down the phone.
Charlie: (beat) Well, that was probably his secretary.
Charlie: You can bet she'll be parking in the garage tonight, though.
- After C.J.'s been going on about the Dadaist surrealism of the butter Last Supper depicting butter:
C.J.: Duchamp was the father of Dadaism.
Toby: I know.
C.J.: The dada of Dada.
Toby: ...It's like there's nothing you can do about that joke, it's coming and you just have to stand there.
- Bartlet files Charlie's tax return. The President of the United States of America, who is also a Nobel-prize-winning economist... does his personal assistant's taxes... for fun. Then tries to collect the amount owed with a "gimme" hand gesture.
- Margaret and Leo are generally comedy gold, but the top of the list has to be this scene from In the Shadow of Two Gunmen, Part II
Margaret: Can I just say something for the future?
Margaret: I can sign the President's name. I have his signature down pretty good.
Leo: You can sign the President's name?
Leo: On a document removing him from power and giving it to someone else?
Leo: I think the White House counsel would say it was a coup d'etat!
Margaret: Well, I'd probably end up doing some time for that.
Leo: I would THINK! And what the hell were you doing practicing the President's signature?
Margaret: (fleeing the room) It was just for fun.
Leo: (to C.J., who has just entered) We've got separation of powers, checks and balances, and Margaret, vetoing things and sending them back to the Hill!
- Then there's this scene from Season 1's In Excelsis Deo:
Leo: Who the hell is this guy and why do I care if he has a Merry Christmas or not?
Margaret: Just sign the damn thing!
- Then there's this scene from The Lame-Duck Congress:
Leo: What the hell are you doing?
Margaret: Why, I'm typing, Leo. (one finger at a time)
Leo: Look at my face, right now.
(Margaret takes one look at Leo's Death Glare and starts typing normally.
- Margaret doesn't even have to be in the room, as in the scene from Season 2's In This White House Leo offers Ainsley a job, first asking Ainsley if anyone offered her a drink:
Ainsley: The woman who works out there, who I imagine is your secretary, offered me coffee or a soft drink.
Leo: Okay, so...
Ainsley: She was also kind enough to ask for my coat.
Leo: Excellent, and...
Ainsley: She seems to be a very good secretary.
Leo: Well, she'll be happy to hear that, she's standing right outside the door. (thumps door with his fist)
Margaret: (from outside) Ow.
- Bruno shows up for the first time in Leo's office without an appointment, so Margaret checks with Leo. Turns out he made the appointment himself, which he is apparently not allowed to do. Bruno meets with Leo, goes into the oval office, and comes back. When he reenters Leo's office, Margaret is STILL berating Leo about the appointment thing. Leo dismisses her to talk to Bruno, and she leaves with "I'll jot it down."
- CJ spends an episode defending the urban legend that you can stand an egg on end during a solar equinox, and eventually the others look online and can't find a single website supporting it. "You really have to wonder: if no one on the Internet wants a piece of this, just how far from the pack have you strayed?"
- Haven't these people ever heard of Snopes?
- Well, Aaron Sorkin doesn't believe in the Interenet. We don't like to talk about it.
- Then there's Lionel Tribbey, a walking Crowning Moment of Funny: (Season 2's And It's Surely to Their Credit)
Lionel Tribbey: I will kill people today, Leo. I will kill people with this cricket bat, which was given to me by Her Royal Majesty Elizabeth Windsor, and then I will kill them again with my own hands.
- And when Ainsley goes to him for advice:
Ainsley Hayes: Mr. Tribbey? I'd like to do well on this, my first assignment.Any advice you could give me that might point me the way of success would be, by me, appreciated.\\
Lionel Tribbey: Beat
Well, not speaking in iambic pentameter might be a step in the right direction.
- Of course, the when he interrupts the President's radio address (another Funny Moment itself):
President 'Bartlet: Well, obviously, Lionel Tribbey is a brilliant lawyer whom we cannot live without, or there would be very little reason not to put him in prison.
- Leo trolls for ideas for his wedding anniversary, and is advised against hiring a violinist: "The novelty wears off after a few minutes, and then it's just a guy with a violin in your house."
- The campaign suggests Leo's daughter Mallory goes on television with him to help address his past addiction issues, possibly with her baby. Bram asks if it's a photogenic baby...with Leo in the room. The look of outrage on his face is priceless, as is Bram's slightly abashed follow-up: "...hey, not all of them are."
- C.J. running into a door after she and Danny kiss for the first time—this was the kiss that was supposed to help her "get past it." (She didn't get past it, by the way. Neither of them did.)
- The running gag of the president's love for trivia which the rest of the staff hates.
Bartlet: We should organize a staff field-trip to Shenandoah. I could even act as the guide. What do you think?
Josh: Good a place as any to dump your body.
Bartlet: What was that?
Josh: Did I say that out loud?
- Another example:
CJ: I can hang in there with the best of them, sir, but somewhere in the discussion of anise and coriander and the other 15 spices you like to use to baste a turkey, I just lost consciousness.
- This exchange between Donna and Josh after he gets back from a trip to Finland. Note that this takes place when they are both seeing other people.
Josh: Good morning!
Donna: My man!
Donna: You came back to me.
Josh: Just like I promised.
Donna: I missed you.
Josh: When did you find you missed me the most?
Donna: The nights.
Josh: Of course.
- Josh' delight at being rid of his annoying intern Pierce.
Pierce: I was hoping you'd give a toast at my going away party.
Josh: How about a plaque for best impersonation of a blue blazer?
Pierce: So you're coming to the party?
Josh: I'm having my own celebration with five cloves of garlic and the cast of "the Exorcist".
- CJ on the Bartlet administration:
CJ: Nobody turns us down. We're like the Mob, only less violent. Ultimately responsible for more death and destruction.
- The White House staff find their own ways of amusing themselves during otherwise boring social gatherings.
CJ: Here, it will take your mind off of things.
Josh: Dignitary bingo?
CJ: I've already got four across. Find the Mexican president and you're home.
- CJ in the briefing room brings a lot of funny stuff along the way. Even in otherwise serious storylines.
CJ: We're confirming now that a suspect has been taken into custody and is being questioned by federal law enforcement. At this time we cannot, we are not releasing any information whatsoever about the suspect.
Steve: CJ can you tell us anything? His name? Where he's from? Ethnicity? If you guys suspect a motive?
CJ: Yes, Steve, I can tell you all those things, because when I said we weren't releasing any information whatsoever I meant except his name, his address, his ethnicity and what we think his motive was.
- This exchange:
Bartlet: Charlie! Would you pull the first lady out of whatever it is she's doing?
Charlie: She's with the women's caucus.
Bartlet: Well put on a helmet and pads and get in there.
- Recently, there has been two "reunion" clips of most of the regular cast members:
- A clip for Funny Or Die where the cast promote the health of walking for 30 minutes a day... by doing the Walk and Talk.
- A political ad for actress Mary McCormack's sister Bridget running for Michigan's State Supreme Court in 2012. Promoting voter attention for non-partisan down-ballot votes AND making us all pine wistfully for a show cancelled six years prior...
- Oh, in case you were wondering. She won.
- In Midterms, after the President give an awesome verbal beatdown to a bigoted radio host Sam adds a little insult to injury by walking right up to her while she's still looks stunned, taking a crab puff off of her plate and eating it in front of her before walking away.
- Matt and Helen Santos have just been blindsided by Josh Lyman:
Matt: Josh wants me to run for President.
Helen: ...of the United States?