I am posting this cartoon by Dan Coverly because I found it to be funny but also because it emphasizes a point I made in an earlier post that for some reason the name ‘Bob’ seems to be funny and cartoonists seem to think that giving a doofus that name makes the joke funnier. And it does, at least for me, though I do not know why.
In a comment to that earlier post, commenter jazzlet reminded me that in an episode of Blackadder, Rowan Atkinson used the name to humorous effect and I looked and found the clip.
In a later interview, Atkinson was asked what made him think that he could make that simple and common name funny.
Marcus Ranum says
Other comedians have claimed that chicken and “pants” are inherently funny. I’m not sure though -- nobody cares why the pants crossed the road.
Marcus Ranum says
A: because Bob was wearing them.
Matt G says
The name Fred also works here.
For some reason, I have decided that if people ever introduce themselves to me by a religious title (Father Williams, for example) and didn’t give me their first name, I would simply call them Bob. Not sure what I would use if they were female, but not really an issue since the priests I’m likely to encounter are exclusively male.
I’m not at all sure about Fred, but that is partly because, at least in the UK, the name is now associated with the terrible serial torturer and killer Fred West.
Oh and thank you Mano, even knowing what was coming hearing Blackadder say ‘Bob’ made me smile.
Tabby Lavalamp says
Other funny names -- “Doug” and “Gary”.
I don’t understand why it’s funny either -- it never made me laugh. Compare this one:
From 11:15 on. The joke here works because of the context.
When Canada was splitting the North West Territory into two parts, the most suggested name from the public for the new territory was BOB.
The Canadian Govt named it Nunavut. Oh well maybe next time.
Dilbert has Bob the dinosaur.
You might want to check out Bob the COBOL programmer.
chigau (違う) says