Here at the Funny Names Blog, we don’t consider ourselves humor writers – we are historians and explorers seeking to enrich the world and contribute to the understanding and advancement of the exciting new field of funnynameology. We are pioneers.
As part of our efforts in this emerging academic discipline, we occasionally reach new epiphanies that signify a quantum leap forward in nominal knowledge. Like all responsible scientists, we recognize that we must publish our work and share it with the world. Since science presently contains a massive void in journals addressing funnynameology, we have designated this page as the official repository of all significant breakthroughs in Funny Names Theory.
Funny Names Theory
The Outerbridge Horsey Certainty Principle
Part 1: In the beginning, there was Outerbridge Horsey.
Part 2: Outerbridge Horsey is the standard by which all funny names are measured.
Every system of measurement requires a standard by which all other measurements can be referenced. For most of its history, the metric system used a one-meter long bar of platinum at the freezing temperature of water as its standard. For the Funny Names Blog, Outerbridge Horsey is our de facto bar of platinum-iridium alloy.
There are several reasons for this:
- Over five years ago, it was the name that inspired the creation of the Funny Names List that eventually led to this blog.
- The original Outerbridge Horsey was born in Maryland in 1715, sixty years before the original 13 U.S. colonies had declared independence from the British. Outerbridge Horsey VII is alive today. While most names have to be examined in the context of their particular time period, Outerbridge Horsey provides a benchmark for nearly 300 years of funny name history. No other name we have encountered has that kind of staying power, with the slightly less-accomplished – and slightly less-amusing – lineage of Return J. Meigs (which started 35 years later) its closest known competitor.
- The name has always been unusual. While names like Archibald, Gladys, or Skylar can be considered normal by some people and strange by others, there was never a period where Outerbridge didn’t raise eyebrows.
- For any person to have the funniest name in the world since 1715, it would have to pass the Outerbridge Horsey test. While it is all subjective, and there are definitely some names that can make a strong and valid claim to that title, we have yet to find a name that has had an obvious edge over Outerbridge Horsey.
The S.E.O. Confusion Conclusion
People can talk all they want about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but there’s no way of telling how people will find the Funny Names Blog.
Proof: As of mid-April 2012, the all-time Google search queries that have brought us the most traffic:
Anything related to Taffy Nivert or her death…even though she’s alive (taffy nivert, taffy nivert dead, taffy nivert death, taffy nivert obituary, where is taffy nivert now). Before we started actively publicizing this blog, the Taffy Nivert article was responsible for 55% of all of our traffic. taffy nivert and taffy nivert death are still our #1 and #3 all-time search results.*
- Searches for People’s Names (the top 7 are megalyn echikunwoke, bert sugar, izzy skenazy, bitsie tulloch, jared spurgeon, clayton stoner, wallace wattles)
- Anything related to Cal Clutterbuck and his mustache (cal clutterbuck funny, cal clutterbuck mustache, clutterbuck mustache, calvin clutterbuck, wild mustache, mn wild clutterbuck)
- Funny-named architect queries (funny names for architects, funny architect names, humorous architect names, funny name for architect). In case you’re wondering, there is only one funny architect name you need to know: Outerbridge Horsey VII
- Otter (otter). Seriously, the one-word search “otter” is 10th all-time, behind only taffy nivert, taffy nivert death, and the 7 names listed in the second bullet.
- Funny names blog and blog of funny names. Either 1) we’re starting to generate our own traffic now that more people have started discovering our blog, or 2) we’re finally beginning to capture a segment of the lucrative “funny names blog search” market. We hope it’s a little bit of both.
*(as of May 2012, Megalyn Echikunwoke has moved up to the number one spot, putting Taffy and her death at #2 and #3.)
*(August 2012 update: Saeid Mohammadpourkarkaragah and Funny Olympic Names are now the runaway favorites, for reasons explained here. We’re still keeping this Theory, though, because it’s fun.)
*(October 2012 update: Although the Olympics ones are still way ahead of the rest. Mullet fish and Giuseppe Garibaldi have been our most successful recent posts, and have surpassed Megalyn Echikunwoke, Fearne Cotton, and Taffy Nivert.)
The Izzy Skenazy Postulate
This post proposed answers for two significant questions:
1. What’s the best way to get a funny name worthy of a spot on this blog?
Simple – it’s through an awesome parent, who gives you a name like Taffy, Gutzon, Bitsie or Salmon. A good first name can singlehandedly make a name awesome, but it helps if your parents also had a whimsical last name like Vanderbilt, or if your dad, Outerbridge Horsey X, bequeaths you the name Outerbridge Horsey X+1.
2. What’s the best way to get onto this blog at age 14?
Well, unless you’re the child of a celebrity, in which case the “wacky name and a touch of fame” is yours at birth, then the best way is as follows: fulfill the requirements for question 1, be splendidly precocious, and have a parent like Lenore Skenazy who helps make you a star.
The Armstrong-McLish Allowance
A person whose birth name is funny enough to qualify for this blog may also have several funny nicknames, with no adverse effect on their success.
- The Bramble Exception
However, when someone with an excellent legal name tempts fate by trying to legally change their name, they may experience a significant downturn in their success.
The Mustache Humor Summation
Mustache + Funny Name = Awesome Person
We don’t know if it’s the mustache that makes the person better, or whether it’s because we just really like mustaches (which is absolutely true), but the category of moustachioed, funny-named people is one of our favorites.
Evidence: Edward Drinker Cope, Cal Clutterbuck, Rollie Fingers, Binyamin Shlomo Hamburger, Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter, Ras-I Alujah Abuja “Livingstone” Bramble (pictured), Gutzon Borglum, and many more.
The Bone Wars Settlement
If two people with equally funny names face off in some sort of competition, the winner of that competition can make a valid claim to funny name supremacy.
- The Muffet McGraw Corollary
When a person with a funny legal name squares off against someone whose funny name is only a nickname, the legally-named individual tends to do better.
Evidence: “Muffet” McGraw’s team losing to Kimberly Duane Mulkey’s Baylor Bears in the 2012 NCAA women’s basketball championship game.
The Baldwin Churchill Rule
Having two last names as your full name is a surefire way to be considered for funny names glory.
The Kermit Can Kill Conjecture
People born with unusual names (especially boys named Kermit) often become some of the most hardcore tough guys (and gals) on the planet. It is theorized that this could be due to a natural response to early schoolyard heckling at the hands of unenlightened youths who have not yet learned the awesome power that the funny name holds.
The Ed Balls Reflection
1. Vulgarity alone does not make a name funny. However, some vulgar-sounding names are very funny.
2. When used sparingly and with discretion, this humor has near-universal appeal.
3. We will exercise restraint and moderation, but will not shy away from posting about people named Ed Balls or Dick Dickey when we discover them.
The “Corneli Are Never Superfluous” Truism
If your name is Cornelis, Kornelis, or Cornelius, then you are awesome.
(Theory inspired by Amber of Words Become Superfluous)
Case Studies: Cornelius Crane “Chevy” Chase, Dr. Kornelis “Kees” A Schouhamer Immink, Cornelius K-9 Bundrage, Cornelius Drebbel, Cornelius Calvin Sale, Jr., Cornelius Vanderbilt, Cornelius, North Carolina, Dr. Cornelis Bontekoe, the Tea Doctor, Cornelius McGillicuddy Sr.
The Ogden Nash Omission Prohibition
If funny named poet Ogden Nash wrote a stanza about a funny named baseball personality who is featured in one of Rob’s posts, that stanza will be featured at the end of the post.
…and Rob “ott” to follow it up with a comment saying “You go, [so and so]!”, and if he fails in either of these particulars, it shall be declared a balk, and will be followed by the universe exploding, or Rob’s beloved Padres finally winning the world series (which we’ve always expected would signify the end of the world anyway).