What's funny? What isn't? And why do I never get a laugh when I tell that joke about the moose?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

K as in Kangaroo and Koala

We’ve all heard about the baby kangaroo who got into trouble with his mother. He kept eating crackers in bed…


Of course the word “kangaroo” is funny: it’s got a K in it! Neil Simon had this to say about the K sound in “The Sunshine Boys”:

"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."

Not only is Kangaroo funny, but so is Koala and Kookaburra. Most of the animals in and around Australia look pretty funny, regardless of how they’re named. I think it’s because they evolved separately from the standard Asian/European/North American models.

But all those “k”s in their names? That’s just kookoo!


The Koala Bear is the creation of somebody with a sense of humor. It isn’t a bear, of course, nor is it as cute and cuddly as it appears.

For the most part, it’s a slow and stupid beast. Unless, of course, someone approaches it as it hands there on a eucalyptus tree. Get too close, and the koala will lash out with inches long claws. Or sink its teeth into your arm—teeth which, although evolved to shred leaves, do a damned good job on flesh. And then, to add insult to injury, it will urinate on you with a particularly strong smelling substance that (despite the koala’s diet) smells less like eucalyptus than it does like, well, urine.

Now, that’s comedy.


Stolen for a book title, but still worth repeating:

One day, a koala bear sits down in a small outdoor café. He orders a large hamburger and fries, which he devours with obvious pleasure. When the waiter brings the bill however, the koala whips out a pistol and fires. The waiter falls dead.

The café manager comes rushing out and demands, “what’s the matter with you? Why did you do that?”

The animal responds, “I’m a koala bear. Look it up in the dictionary” and departs.

The manger goes to the dictionary and looks up Koala Bear in the dictionary, and there he finds the following entry: “Koala Bear: Eats shoots and leaves.”



  1. In the book title, it was a panda, sometimes known as a panda bear. Which also isn't a bear, but at least it's a placental mammal. A member of the order Carnivora, in fact, despite the aforementioned diet. But of course, panda doesn't have a k in it. (By which standard, the funniest word in this comment is "book.")

    Word verification: "nogrec" -- French translation of either Ben Jonson's description of Shakespeare, or a Shakespeare character's explanation (in Julius Caesar) of why he couldn't understand Cicero's oration.

  2. And where does a twenty-ton kangaroo sit?

    On the elephant.

    Word verification: "eplica" --provides back office services for staffing companies (and advertising dollars to Jerry for being mentioned here)

  3. The panda joke pre-dates the book by a good many years. And that author couldn't see anything in it beyond a punctuation error.

    I dislike language whiners.