Funny words all in a row
April 9, 2015
Humor comes in many forms; There's intellectual humor, sarcasm, irony and slapstick to name a few. A talented humor writer can create humor by crafting words to describe everyday situations in a clever way. Less talented humor hacks simply write about things that might get a chuckle without clever insight and use the word "poop" as often as possible. That's where I come in.
I believe that some things are just plain funny. Certain words, situations and stories are funny without thought or explanation. I enjoy clever humor as much as the next guy. but as with most things in life, I'd really rather enjoy it without having to give it much thought.
Kumquat is a funny word; If you can repeat the word kumquat slowly three times and not chuckle, you probably need to lighten up. Aardvark is a great word because any word that starts with two As and ends with "vark" cannot be taken seriously. Squat, pickle, squeamish, boondoggle and, of course, poop are chuckle-worthy and generally fun to say.
There are other words that are equally amusing but a little more difficult to work into a conversation. When using funny sounding words you should be prepared to use them in a sentence or people might think you're just a flibbertigibbet spouting a bunch of gobbledygook … or a Congressman. Do you see what I did there? You may not want to try this at home … I am a trained professional.
Some words are funny but often misused and misunderstood. A bunghole is an aperture through which a barrel may be filled or emptied and it's a heck of a lot of fun to say! Nobody wants to be a dingus but no for the reason you might think; a dingus is simply a noun used to refer to something whose name you cannot remember and it's more fun to say than "whatcha-ma-call-it."
I admire anyone who can use the word hootenanny. It's a great word and it's funny but I just can't use it with any credibility. Let's face it, I'm just not the kind of guy that you're likely to find at your average hootenanny and I can honestly say that I've never hosted or been invited to a hootenanny. I wonder what I'm missing…
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Recent studies have shown that over half of all married women admit to cheating on their husbands, but I have never heard a man refer to himself using the word cuckold. I'm OK with that. If a guy ever wants to tell you the story of his life as a cuckold, run away, you don't want to hear that story … trust me.
Jabberwocky is an awesome and hilarious word that basically means invented meaningless words. The Patriot Act is a textbook example of jabberwocky run amok (amok is another great word in it's own right.) Jabberwocky applies to all political speeches, most training seminar PowerPoint presentations and pretty much every excuse I ever gave my wife about anything.
Not every word beginning with the letter "q" is funny, but most of them are — quagmire, quiff (it's a real word, look it up), quaff and quack always bring a smile to my face. Quetzal is a one of my favorite words but it's only useful when asking for change in Guatemala and I so rarely ask for change in Guatemala.
Swashbuckler is one of those are words that is both funny and very cool. The "swash" in swashbuckler makes it funny, it's just a frivolous syllable; but pirates were notorious swashbucklers and that elevates it to a whole new level of cool.
Whacko, berserk, gaggle, monsoon, Ted Cruz, haberdasher, aluminum (when pronounced like the British) and shenanigans are funny words used in almost any context.
Critics and English teachers might tell you that being a humor writer involves more depth than just stringing together a series of funny sounding words. I beg to differ … kumquat, kumquat, kumquat … made you smile. If not, maybe you should become a critic or an English teacher.
I'll probably never win a Pulitzer Prize for my witty intellectual insight into the human condition … probably, but I really enjoy playing with the language to amuse myself. Vamoose, bobolink and poop … sometimes, I crack myself up!
Rick Seley is an award-winning humor columnist. He may be reached at email@example.com.