100 Hours of Humo(u)r – Hour 95: The Rule of Krap

One Comedy Tip I Don’t Subscribe To

By Dave Fox

100hours-logo7I’ve spent many years studying comedic theory, and I’ve shared lots of  tips over the last few days. But if you read books about comedy writing, you’ll likely come across one oddly widespread theory I leave out of my workshops because I don’t buy it. It’s called the “Rule of K.”

The idea behind the “Rule of K” is that words with “K” sounds are funnier than words without. Some words sound funnier than others; no doubt about that. And sure, there are funny sounding K-words like “cackle” and “cacophony.” So is there any credence to this rule? Maybe, but it’s dreadfully overblown.

A couple of years ago, I was reading an article humor writing in “Writer’s Digest,” a magazine whose advice I normally respect. But this one article rambled about the “Rule of K” for way too long. Not only that, the rule was their lead-off tip. Seriously? That’s your number one tip for what makes something funny?


There are plenty of non-K-words that kick the K-words’ collective keisters. I will argue that “aardvark,” “platypus,” “walrus,” and “wildebeest” are far funnier words than “kitty cat,” “canary,” “cockroach,” and “cow,” – that “wiggle,” “slither,” “defenestration,” and “Justin Bieber” sound funnier than “click,” “crawl,” “catheter,” and “Katie Couric.”

So I nibble the so-called “Rule of K” with a side order of skepticism. If you want to sharpen your humor skills, there are far more effective things to work on than memorizing a single chapter of the dictionary.

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Published on Tuesday, March 5, 2013

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