In Neil Simon's play The Sunshine Boys, a character says: "Words with a k in it are funny. Alka-Seltzer is funny. Chicken is funny. Pickle is funny. All with a k. Ls are not funny. Ms are not funny."Hence the pickle jar in the "Seinfeld" episode.
In an article in the New Yorker published in 1948, H. L. Mencken argues that "k words" are funny: "K, for some occult reason, has always appealed to the oafish risibles of the American plain people, and its presence in the names of many ... places has helped to make them joke towns ... for example, Kankakee, Kalamazoo, Hoboken, Hohokus, Yonkers, Squeedunk, and Brooklyn."...And "naked," unlike "nude," has a k. Presumably, it's even funnier when spelled "nekkid."
In the ["Simpsons"] episode "Homie the Clown", Krusty the Clown tells Homer during a lesson at his clown college: "Memorize these funny place names: Walla Walla, Keokuk, Cucamonga, Seattle." Upon hearing the word "Seattle", Homer bursts into laughter.
In another episode, Krusty the Clown paralyzes his vocal cords when he tries to cram in too many "Comedy K's".
Dave Barry's 1991 book Dave Barry Talks Back reprints a column on linguistic humor. He contrasts the phrases "Richard Nixon wearing a necktie" with "Richard Nixon wearing a neck weasel", and "Scientists have discovered a 23rd moon orbiting Jupiter" with "Scientists have discovered a giant weasel orbiting Jupiter." He concludes that weasel is a very funny word - "You can improve the humor value of almost any situation by injecting a weasel into it."I don't remember reading that, but once, on throwing out the trash, I felt moved to say -- and got a big laugh -- "I don't want the weasels to get it." The normal thing to say was "raccoons," which does have a k. And that either goes to show you just how the word "weasels" is, or it's not about the word at all, but the fact that there are no weasels trying to break into the trash cans, and there are raccoons.
By the way, what's funnier: "trash," "garbage," or "rubbish"?
An old Internet phenomenon involved taking lines from the Star Wars movies and replacing one word from the line with the word "pants", with comedic effect. This suggests that "pants" may be an inherently funny word....I used "pants" for comic effect in the naked gym post.
In his DVD commentaries, Simpsons creator Matt Groening has proclaimed the word underpants to be at least 15% funnier than the word underwear. This idea is based on a theory by Futurama writer Ken Keeler. In the show Futurama, underpants is almost always used in lieu of "underwear."
David Letterman has frequently used pants as a subject of humor, from screaming out "I am not wearing pants!" over a megahorn during the Today Show to naming his production company Worldwide Pants Incorporated.
Consider this dialogue in the dramatic movie "Anatomy of a Murder." The judge has called the lawyers to the bench after the word "panties" -- at a murder trial -- has caused laughter in the courtroom. There are times when the funny-sounding word is a problem. The defense lawyer -- Paul Biegler, played by Jimmy Stewart -- has been trying to bring in evidence that his client killed the man who raped his wife:
Judge Weaver: Mr. Biegler, you finally got your rape into the case, and I think all the details should now be made clear to the jury. What exactly was the undergarment just referred to?And that's a whole other subject: words that sound dirty.
Paul Biegler: Panties, Your Honor.
Judge Weaver: Do you expect this subject to come up again?
Paul Biegler: Yes, Sir.
Judge Weaver: There's a certain light connotation attached to the word "panties." Can we find another name for them?
Mitch Lodwick: I never heard my wife call 'em anything else.
Judge Weaver: Mr. Biegler?
Paul Biegler: I'm a bachelor, Your Honor.
Judge Weaver: That's a great help. Mr. Dancer?
Claude Dancer: When I was overseas during the war, Your Honor, I learned a French word. I'm afraid that might be slightly suggestive.
Judge Weaver: Most French words are.