Words Which Can Be Funny

Yesterday’s post reminded me of a line in Neil Simon’s (one of my favorite playwrights) The Sunshine Boys. One of the main characters, Willy, says, “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.”

So, I was wondering if you knew of other funny words or phrases. There is a whole science of etymology which explores such things, but as listeners we have certain phrases or words that spark humor. I mean when Steve Martin first said “Excuuuuuse me!” did we not all laugh? The funniest words and those which many comedians employ are those we can categorize as “double entendres.” (Can you tell I used to teach English Language and Composition?) A double entendre is an expression with a double meaning, one of which is a bit more risque than expected. For example, on TV last evening, one could watch Meet the Fokkers.

Please keep it clean in your responses, but have you seen or heard such phrases? I once remember a restaurant billboard that said something such as, “Try our new fish dinner, just for the halibut.”
I mean, let’s face it: “Kumquats” is a funny word. As is “Oshkosh,” “Peoria,” “Chock Full of Nuts,” Organ Grinder,” and “Chamber Pot.” (The last of which I use quite often, as I write Regency romance.)

About Regina Jeffers

Regina Jeffers is the award-winning author of Austenesque, Regency and historical romantic suspense.
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