Charlie Kelly is the janitor of Paddy's Pub. He is a member of the Gang that works at the pub; he was best friends growing up with Mac and shares an apartment with who he thought was his biological father, Frank Reynolds. He later finds out that he was adopted. His father is still unknown.
At one point Charlie was a co-owner of Paddy's Pub, but he sold his shares to Dennis and Mac for, among other things, half a sandwich. ("The Gang Sells Out") The most tedious and disgusting janitorial tasks at the bar are referred to as Charlie Work, even when Charlie is temporarily spared from performing them.
Charlie is known for his illiteracy, his habit of slipping into a variety of characters for his various schemes, and his never ending obsession with The Waitress.
Charlie is portrayed by Charlie Day.
- Arguably the most unhappy member of the gang, Charlie is a volatile individual who is prone to Al Pacino-styled outbursts.
- Charlie has a tendency to dress up as characters and lose himself in fantasies based on movies he's seen. In some cases a subtle reference to a movie is made without Charlie explicitly referencing the character. He has dressed up and pretended to be the following characters:
- Vietnam War veteran Ron Kovic from Born on the Fourth of July ("Charlie Gets Crippled")
- Corruption-fighting police officer Serpico played by Al Pacino ("Bums: Making a Mess All Over the City")
- Musician Bob Dylan when getting ready to perform a song ("Sweet Dee's Dating a Retarded Person")
- Stereotypical Texas Oilman when selling gasoline door-to-door ("The Gang Solves the Gas Crisis")
- Charlie has a nervous breakdown similar to John Nash in A Beautiful Mind and imagines a huge conspiracy is happening around him. ("Sweet Dee Has a Heart Attack")
- Charlie believes himself to be a genius janitor similar to Will Hunting from Good Will Hunting ("The Gang Reignites the Rivalry")
- While dressing up as these individuals, Charlie often loses track of reality and literally adopts their personality and idiosyncrasies. This inability to separate fantasy from reality is a trait shared by his biological father Frank, who sometimes tells stories from the movie Rambo as if they happened to him. ("Mac and Dennis: Manhunters")
- He also created the character Greenman.
- Charlie has huffed glue for a very long time he got into glue when he was a kid when his mom got banged by a bunch of different men who dressed up as Santa or an Elf.
- He enjoys seeing the other members of The Gang embarrassed. In "Dennis And Dee's Mom Is Dead," he is eager to have someone read to him from Dee's middle school diary so he can laugh at her difficulties as a disabled adolescent.
- Charlie is intensely patriotic.
- He is threatened by a North Korean bar, proclaiming it as "unamerican". ("The Gang Solves the North Korea Situation")
- He helps throw a wrestling show, in order to support the troops returning from war. ("The Gang Wrestles for the Troops")
- Charlie tries to convey his love for America by protesting. ("Charlie Goes America All Over Everybody's Ass")
- Charlie has been caught masturbating by several members of the gang. Dee caught him masturbating to Dennis' cartoon drawings of large breasted women in "The Aluminum Monster vs. Fatty Magoo". She also accused him of stealing Dennis' erotic memoir in order to masturbate to its pictures in "Dennis Reynolds: An Erotic Life". Frank also mentioned that he likes to hide inside of the apartment couch in order to catch Charlie "pounding off". ("A Very Sunny Christmas") When Charlie reveals to Frank that he awoke to him doing some "pretty frantic research of [his] own" one night, Frank countered by saying that the two could go "tit-for-tat on that one". ("Mac Is a Serial Killer")
- Charlie's signature attire is his pajamas: a holey black t-shirt depicting a shiny black horse, and an old pair of long thermal underwear.