It wouldn't be the same with any other organ.
"Fifty-seven years in this business, you learn a few things. You know what words are funny and which words are not funny. Alka-Seltzer is funny. You say 'Alka-Seltzer', you get a laugh... Words with 'k' in them are funny. Casey Stengel, that's a funny name. Robert Taylor is not funny. Cupcake is funny. Tomato is not funny. Cookie is funny. Cucumber is funny. Car keys. Cleveland... Cleveland is funny. Maryland is not funny. Then, there's chicken. Chicken is funny. Pickle is funny."
— Willie Clark, The Sunshine Boys (Neil Simon)
Fact: Whether by pronunciation, spelling, or use, some words are just plain funny to certain characters. Warning: Do not use any of these words to try to make an unfunny sentence funny
See also Narm
, which is what happens when Inherently Funny Words
crop up in inherently unfunny contexts, and Fundamentally Funny Fruit
Want to have some fun sharing your favorite ones? Take a gander over at the Just-For-Fun page
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- On Monty Python's Previous Record, Dr. Carl Gruber goes through words on which he gauges embarrassment levels: "Shoe. Megaphone. Grunties." And even ruder: "Wankel Rotary Engine."
- Doom Patrol:
Love Glove: I don't know what to say.
Mr. Nobody: Try 'baboon'. It never fails to raise an embarrassed chuckle.
- Deadpool: "CHIMICHANGA!"
Agent X: Spatula is a funny word.Do you know what else is a funny word?
- Batman RIP
Joker: What is it about the sombrero? Some words are just naturally funny.
- According to Dave Barry, "doot", "weasel", and "Smoot-Hawley Tariff".
I'm at home, sitting in front of my computer in my underwear, trying to decide which animal name is funnier, 'hamster' or 'gerbil.'" ("Answer: 'weasel.'")
- Harry Potter features the following quote from Albus Dumbledore:
Before we begin our banquet, I would like to say a few words. And here they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak! Thank you!
- Abu Dhabi, hence its abuse in Garfield comics.
- Jim Davis has also said he's a sucker for anything with a 'k' sound. "Cabbage? Funny. Lettuce? Not funny." This line has also been said in a strip and in an episode of Garfield and Friends.
- "Beagle" — according to Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz, Snoopy is a beagle because it's a funny word.
- "Cow". The Far Side creator Gary Larson said so.
- Calvin and Hobbes: Hobbes likes to say smock.
- An early Dilbert strip has Dilbert use his computer to find the funniest words, which turn out to be "weasel", "chainsaw", "prune", and any reference to Gilligan's Island.
- Zingelbert Bembledack, Yingybert Dambleban, Zangelbert Bingledack, Wingelbert Humptyback, Slup ben Walla, Kringelbert Fishtybuns, Steviebuns Bottrittrundle, Tringelbert Wangledack, Klingybun Fistelvase, Dindlebert Zindledack, Engelbert Humptyback, Zengelbert Bingledack, Vingelbert Wingledanck...
- George Carlin once did a routine where he talks about foods he can't eat because they have funny names. "I can't eat *snicker* bananas. And I could never eat *suppressed guffaw* kumquats!"
- Rowan Atkinson's bit "No One Called Jones" relies on a combination of this, Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?, and Hypocritical Humor at the end.
- Political songster/satirist Mark Russell had to do a song about Michael Dukakis on short notice, knowing absolutely nothing about him; he finally settled on pointing out that Dukakis was, of the 1988 lineup of Presidential candidates, "the only one whose name is fun to say":
Michael Dukakis, Michael Dukakis,
A name to gladden every voter's heart
A name that's so neat it's
Fun to repeat it —
It sounds just like a car that will not start! Michaeldukakismichaeldukakismichaeldukakis ...
- Kingdom of Loathing: "You eat the kumquat, snickering a little at how funny a word "kumquat" is."
- Borderlands 2 has a side-quest, "The Name Game", where Sir Hammerlock tries to come up with a new name for the ape-like Bullymongs. After his first two ideas are rejected, he gets frustrated and starts calling them "Bonerfarts". This leads to the Bullymongs being labelled as "Bonerfarts" for the remainder of the quest, including the young Monglets being called Bonertoots.
- It last the rest of the game if you choose to stop advancing the quest at that point.
- Mass Effect 2 introduces quarian Admiral Zaal'Koris vas Qwib-Qwib. Don't ask about the name.
- "Banang", a fictional powdered fruit drink that first appeared in Telltale Games' Sam & Max: Freelance Policegames, and quickly became something of a running gag. Sam seems to think it's hilarious, but Max quickly gets tired of the gag.
- The main theme behind the names of everything in The Bizarre Adventures Of Woodruff And The Schnibble.
- The Nostalgia Critic: "Lettuce' is not funny. 'Cabbage' is freaking hilarious. Just watch: lettuce (silence), cabbage (laugh track). Works every time."
- The inherent hilarity of "gurt" is a Running Gag in Echo Chamber; it starts when Ace makes a video about portmanteaus, including separating "yogurt" into "yo" and "gurt". He keeps cracking up whenever he says "gurt", and later the word merely being mentioned is the only thing to get Mr Administrator to laugh, leading to the first time we see more of his face.
- Microsoft Sam Reads Funny Windows Errors has "Taking a dump". Actually, there are a lot of them, like Tacos, Penguins, Diarrhea, and the infamous SWAAAAA.
- In YouTube Poops, one popular practice is to play a short part of an audio clip forwards, then play the same part in reverse. (For example, "something" would become "sus"). This is known as a "sauce joke".
- The VlogBrothers:
- John is travelling on February 1st, 2007. "Okay, we're gonna walk through the airport and see if we can find anything funny. The word "choate" is funny."
- When discussing the 2008 Nerdfighter website, John finds another word he considers inherently funny — "ning", related to their new site building. It's as good as bling but you don't have to spend money on jewels!
- The Cinema Snob describes "Yeti" as one of the funniest words in the English language, to the point he thinks a horror movie with that as a monster (such as the reviewed one, Shriek of the Mutilated) is just asking for involuntary comedy.
- In this Cracked article, Seanbaby describes how he filters any email he receives containing the words "cheese" or "weasel", citing these as the words most often used by people trying too hard to be funny.
- Ben 'Yahtzee' Croshaw has found one for himself near the end of 'Let's Play Normality', it was boobie boobie bum bum. Made him laugh so hard he started to leaked tears.
- In the Rifftrax short "This Is Hormel", poor Kevin has trouble coming up with riffs after hearing words such as "picnic boning" and "batch master".
- The YouTube channel PronunciationManual uses these a lot, and makes the problem worse by blatantly mispronouncing them.
- Family Guy: "Buttscratcher". "Mmmmmmm BUTT-SCRATCHAAAAAA?? Mmm BUTT-SCRATCHAAAA!!"
- In one episode of Garfield and Friends, Garfield takes the viewers through a lab to show them how humor is created, including listing out some words that are inherently funny.
Scientist 1: (monotone) Yellow-bellied sapsucker
Scientist 2: (monotone) Extremely funny.
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "The Last Roundup", Pinkie Pie goes on a little rant about words she finds funny:
Pinkie Pie: Say it with me! Pickle barrel kumquat, pickle barrel kumquat, pickle barrel kumquat, chimi-cherry-changa!
- The Simpsons: Krusty The Clown thinks "mukluk" is funny.
- One from "Homie the Clown":
Krusty: OK, memorize these funny place names: Walla Walla... Keokuk... Cucamonga... Seattle...
Homer: (splitting his sides in laughter) Stop it, you're killing me! Hee-hee-hee, Seattle...
- In Freakazoid!, we got "huggbees". To the point where an entire short was dedicated to finding ways to use it.
- In Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, Bloo got a kick out of the name "Topeka". "It's hot... in To-PEE-ka!"
- South Park would like to tell you about Rob Schneider's latest movie: "Da Derp Dee Derp Da Teetley Derpee Derpee Dumb".
- In Ultimate Spider-Man Deadpool giggles at the phrase "trap". Oddly, not at the "booby" before that. Then again, it is a Disney cartoon.
- The song "John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt". Supposedly the reason for the long name is that the song's writer thought German-esque words were inherently funny.
- On this wiki, cheese.
- The dingbat for typesetting.
- Roger Ebert closes his review of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with "'Turtle,' by the way, is a very funny word."
- Observe this trope in live action! There is a famous German Take That against modern art, "Kunst kommt von Können, käme sie von Wollen, hieße sie Wulst" note , attributed to every Tom, Dick and Harry. This version is the earliest reported; the variant "Wunst" is no German word and never caught on. But in todays oral conversation, you will now always hear "Wurst", sausage. note It partly ruins the "mechanic" of the joke, but it's (somehow) funnier.
- Another German example for forced vague sexualization: Decades ago you could hear kids playing catch, shouting "Krieg mich doch, Eierkopf!" (Catch me, egghead!) Also dictated by rhyme, today it degraded to "Eierloch" (egg hole). Which doesn't make sense at all. But he said hole, Butthead, hu hu.