Goodbye Stephen Colbert & Munchma Quchi, and Hello Brandybuck Cumberbund! It’s Funny Names in the News 95!

Hap-hap-happy Holidays everyone!!! It’s Funny Names in the News, edition 95.

It’s a very happy holiday season indeed, funny names fans! Dave here, and I’ve been so delighted to be done with my “gut course” (thanks Diddy), that I didn’t even realize that the BoFN has been chock-full of awesome material (and not just chock-based conjecture) lately. On Tuesday, Liz posted about alcohol (which is always a winning topic in my book), and then on Wednesday, Kerbey weighed in with an awesome lady named ZaSu, who is peripherally related to… boxing!!!!! That led to my heartfelt proclamation that “Funny names + Some peripheral reference to boxing = Dave is in Heaven!

So the pressure is on, folks, for a star-studded Funny Names in the News today… and luckily what I have will (hopefully) not disappoint! … gulp….

We start off with the retirement of one Stephen Colbert, who closed out his legendary political satire show The Colbert Repor(t) this week to move on to greener pastures as the host of The Late Show following David Letterman’s retirement. To all funny names fans, this means we must remember the fantastic time that Colbert spectacularly broke character to laugh at the name…


Munchma Quchi


This was part of a compilation of Colbert completely breaking character.

Midwest FurFest... because if this doesn't scare Liz enough...

Midwest FurFest… because if this doesn’t shock our resident Midwesterner Liz enough…

From spoof political coverage to something that I think was supposed to be a bit more credible, but still ended up hilarious, Morning Joe correspondent Mika Brzezinski took a break from cleaning up awkward scrabble racks, to bring us this delightful moment last week when she learned about what a “Furry” is! For the uninitiated… (and don’t ask me what the “initiation” process for Furrydom is), a “Furry” is a person who dresses up in a giant furry costume, usually in the presence of other Furries, and do… Heaven knows what… I just hope that what happens at Midwest FurFest stays at Midwest Furfest… because that looks like a lot of dudes!

There's always Pussy Riot!

There’s always Pussy Riot!

Furries were in the news recently because the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Chicago came under fire after there was a suspected chlorine gas poisoning, allegedly targeted at the Furries themselves. 19 were brought to the hospital, but thankfully no deaths were reported.

The Hyatt Regency O’Hare is a building… and speaking of buildings… and architecture… Staten Island Live informs us that Elizabeth Egbert has been posthumously awarded the Albert P. Melniker Awardwhich is bestowed annually upon “a structure, exhibit or person that enhances the quality of life of the Staten Island community.” Ms. Egbert receives the award for her commitment to the Staten Island Museum, which is a place I’ll definitely check out next time I’m in the area.

Next, in the “Does it Quack Like a Duck?” category, we are sad to inform you that less than 50% of what Dr. Mehmet Oz says “has no evidence, and is contradicted by real science.”  That’s a darn shame, because a UPenn educated, Columbia University heart surgeon could be a great spokesperson for the scientific method, but alas that is not the case. Oh well, at least we have his delightful name to keep us happy.

Keep us happy… we know just the thing for that!

Sherlock and Molly

The hair ruffle. Do you SEE the hair ruffle?!?

The Benedict Cumberbatch Name Generator!!!! 

And of course, that is accompanied by this photo of the Benedict Cumberbatch Hair Ruffle, with Amb’s delightful original caption that I somehow wasn’t allowed to modify for today’s post. Probably because we at the BoFN don’t believe in tampering with greatness.

So jaunt on over to the name generator, and then let us know what you get… today you may address me as Brandybuck Cumberbund!

Today… who am I kidding? You can always address me that way! Enjoy your Fridays folks!

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ZaSu, Not Zazu, Pitts


Once upon a time, a one-legged Civil War veteran named Rulandus Pitts married a woman named Nelly Shay, and they partook of afternoon delights and made a baby, whom they named Eliza Susan Pitts, after Rulandus’s two sisters. By jamming the end of Eliza into the beginning of Susan, the baby became ZaSu. Because that’s normal.

ZaSu Pitts was born 120 years ago in Kansas and moved to California when she was nine, where she would grow up to star in both silent films and talkies. America’s Sweetheart, Mary Pickford, predicted that people would pronounce the uncommon name as Zaz-oo, as it appears. Pitts however, preferred “Say Zoo,” which is crazy talk because Za does not sound like Say, nor does Su sound like Zoo. So right off the bat, we know ZaSu was a curious dame.

Her first non-extra role was  in the 1917 silent film, The Little Princess, as an orphaned slavey (Yes, that’s a word! It means overworked maidservant. Kind of like Cinderella.)

She starred in several Hal Roach films and in a series of comedies with Slim Summerville. Her stock character as a fretful, flustered spinster was immediately recognizable and often imitated in films and cartoons such as Popeye. Pitts peaked in the 1930s, starring in B movies and comedy short films, teamed with Thelma Todd. Here they are with bobbed hair in bed together in On The Loose. Don’t ask.


Her best known series role was playing a shipboard beautician on The Gale Storm Show (1956) in the role of Elvira Nugent (“Nugie”). Here Gale (as Susannah) has just become engaged to an Air Force officer and is shoving her ring in Nugie’s face.

Pitts’s last role was a switchboard operator in the madcap Stanley Kramer comedy It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. If you are old, you have probably seen that one.

In her personal life, Pitts was married to Thomas Sarsfield Gallery, an actor and boxing (yes, Dave) promoter from 1922 to 1933. She bore a daughter and later adopted a son, both with unfascinating names. The ink was still wet on her divorce papers when she married Eddie Woodall, with whom she remained until her death 30 years later in 1963. A book of candy recipes (yes, Liz) called Candy Hits by ZaSu Pitts was published several months after her passing.

I don’t know what she is clutching. A chair?

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Mariano Martinez, Man of the Margaritas

this gorgeous photo is from WTFrills

this gorgeous photo is from WTFrills

Consider if you will, one Mariano Martinez, high-school drop-out from Dallas, Texas. The year is 1971 and Mr. Martinez opens Mariano’s Hacienda, a restaurant serving Mexican food. Problems arise on opening night when servers realize they can’t keep up with orders for frozen margaritas. His staff has but one blender and they’re short on cut limes as well. Says Martinez in Pegasus News:

We were burning up blenders faster than I could afford to buy new ones, but customers were complaining that the drinks were inconsistent and bartenders were complaining that the drinks were too difficult to make.

Despondent, Martinez takes a long walk one night and stops at a local 7/11 store. Here he finds the machine that will make him famous: the Slurpee maker. Martinez notes that this contraption will solve all of his margarita woes. His drinks could be made quickly, in high volume, and each would be exactly the same as the one before. In this moment, Martinez transforms from restaurateur to inventor.

man and machine photo source

man and machine
photo source

Though the Slurpee is Martinez’s inspiration, he modifies a soft-serve ice cream machine for his first prototype. Curiously, Martinez never patents this invention and is quoted as saying,

I never even dreamed I had anything to patent, I was only interested in my restaurant. I wasn’t interested in going into the machine business.

That first machine makes frozen margaritas at Hacienda for 34 years, after which it retires to Washington D.C.’s National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian. Museum director Brent D. Glass sagely tells us:

The invention of the frozen margarita machine is a classic example of the American entrepreneurial spirit.

from Mariano's Hacienda website

from Mariano’s Hacienda website

Here at Blog of Funny Names, we celebrate the achievements of those with extraordinary and unusual names. Because Mariano’s Hacienda is still going strong (according to the company’s website, Mariano Martinez has three restaurant concepts, with six locations total*), we rim our glasses with salt and raise our frozen margaritas to the man who made it all possible. ¡Arriba, abajo, al centro, pa’ dentro!

* Please feel free to clarify, native Texan and fellow BoFN contributor, Kerbey.

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Ingram “Burt” Shavitz

Ingram Berg Shavitz, better known as just Burt, has one of the more famous beards in America. It adorns all of the products of a billion-dollar company, Burt’s Bees, which he co-founded some thirty years ago and is now the “#1 natural brand” in America.

Burt is a fascinating character. I just watched a lovely documentary about him, Burt’s Buzz (on Netflix now!) and can therefore tell you  a few things about him.

Ingram "Burt" Shavitz, who clearly objects to the name "shavitz".

Ingram “Burt” Shavitz, who clearly objects to the name “shavitz”.

He has a marvelous long beard, which has been a trademark of his for decades. Today it’s an actual trademark as part of Burt’s Bees product packaging as well, which is more than you can say for most people’s facial hair (ZZ Top being a possible exception).

But Mr. Shavitz wasn’t always a mountain man. He was born in Long Island, New York, and for a while in the 60’s and 70’s was a very successful photographer in the city, first for a Jewish weekly paper, then for Time magazine. He took a lot of great pictures, and snapped shots of big important folk™ including Malcolm X and JFK. All sorts of people with letters as their name, really.

He eventually tired of life in the concrete jungle and like many reasonable people would, decided to move to rural Maine to live in a small cottage with no running water or electricity. He then became a beekeeper when someone offered him some bees.  You all know how it is, someone offers you bees, you can’t just turn that down.

Some bees, earlier.

Some bees, earlier.

Burt began making some honey and selling it to local natural food stores, the modest beginning of the now huge company that bears his name. He then met the well-named Roxanne Quincy when he picked her up as a hitch-hiker. They hitched up together in Burt’s shack and she started making all kinds of things from Burt’s leftover beeswax. This enterprise eventually made them both rich, though you couldn’t tell from looking at Burt.

He’s the homebody sort, for whom a good day is when no one comes by. He used to not be listed on the phonebook, having his two dogs in there instead. Of course, today the only people in the phonebook are the ones who signed up twenty years ago and forgot to cancel.

Burt  still lives in a small house with no electricity, and doesn’t seem to miss it. He threw out his last TV in the 60’s ‘because it needed a lot of repair work’. Imagine that, he probably has no idea who killed JR or anything.

Who would ever want to kill this guy anyway?  He's adorable with that hat and all

Who would ever want to kill this guy anyway? He’s adorable.

Goes to show you, find what makes you happy and do that. Life will take care of the rest.

Also, when someone offers you bees, take ‘em.

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Elbert L. “Ickey” Woods

Never underestimate the impact of a sibling.

For some, perhaps your brother or sister told you -bert was the funniest way to end a name.

For others, it could be they couldn’t pronounce your name and it came out “Toe” or “Na-kin” or “San-raw”. Such is the case for Elbert L. Woods. His younger brother called him “E-E” and the name Ickey stuck.

Imagine the high jinks young Mr. Woods endured on the playground during recess.

Adversity brings opportunity.

He received a scholarship from University of Nevada, Las Vegas. During his senior year, he lead the school with 1,658 yards rushing. The total remains the second-most in UNLV history. To this day, he still holds the school’s record in single game rushing attempts with 37 in two different games. Go Rebels!

Ickey, we of the BoFN thank your brother for his contribution.

Perhaps best remembered for the Ickey Shuffle—the touchdown celebration. (Take that playground bullies.) Creating the “Excessive Celebration” rule for the NFL.

But it didn’t stop there. NASCAR fans may remember Darrell Waltrip performing the Ickey Shuffle after winning the 1989 Daytona 500.

Or more recently the GEICO commercial, which featured Mr. Woods at the deli counter.

Or if there are any Cincinnati Bengals fans in the house—Ickey played his entire NFL career for Cincinnati—Jeremy Hill reprised it after scoring a touchdown against Carolina in October 2014.

Football is still in his blood. Ickey is the longtime coach and owner of the Women’s Football Alliance team (full contact), Cincinnati Sizzle. I’ll bet we can fry up an egg or two with the heat they create.

With the passing of his son, Jovante, at home from asthma at the tender age of 16, he created the Jovante Woods Foundation. The foundation provides funding and education for asthma research and organ donor education.

Well BoFN fans, while you rush into the holiday fray, and celebrate the holiday spirit, please take a moment and join me in a cup of cheer.

Perhaps we could all face Cincinnati real sudden-like, toss down our peppermint cocoa, and perform a little Ickey Shuffle—minus the spike if your using the good dishes. If not, don’t forget to say “Opa”!

Now if you’ll excuse me, Mr. Cranium brought home some mistletoe. And I’m dying to test it out. ;-)


Tracy – Fannie Cranium’s Guide to Irreverent Wisdom

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