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7 Reasons Frogs are Funny

Frogs are such ridiculous animals that everything about them is fodder for jokes or parodies. Frogs have been used in comedy for so long that you have to smile just looking at one!

1. Kissing a Frog

They say you've got to kiss a lot of frogs before you find a prince. The fairy tale The Frog Prince has the moral of not judging someone by their looks. The story of Beauty and the Beast would have been a sufficient tale for this concept, except for the fact that some women think horrible beasts are sexy. A frog? Not so much. The whole idea of kissing a frog is funny, but its also so easy to twist this tale into something you wouldn't expect.

2. Leapfrog
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The amazing leaps frogs do has been studied by scientists and recreated in robotic form. It also lead to a pointless but funny-looking game that recently got the mayor of Belfast into a bit of trouble when he injured a tomato playing leap frog.

More frog funniness, after the jump.

3. Froglegs
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Yes, they taste like chicken. The back legs are the only part of a frog that has enough meat to make cooking worthwhile. Cutting them away from the rest of the frog doesn't make them stop jumping, oh no! My mother cooked frog legs exactly once, and was so disgusted with chasing them all over the kitchen to put them back into the frying pan, that she forbade my dad from ever bringing more home. But the rest of the frog? Not edible. That's why you'll so often see cartoons about amputee frogs. A Google Image Search for "frog wheelchair" will yield a treasure of such comics.

4. Eating Flies
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Time's fun when you're having flies! A frog's tongue can move so far and so swiftly, the fly will never know what hit him. If you've ever seen it happen, you have to laugh. Add the unexpected and you have comedy gold.

5. Ribbit
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The way frogs sound is funny. The usual frog croak is often translated as "ribbit", although the folks at Budweiser would disagree. A person with a hoarse or scratchy voice is said to have "a frog in the throat", which can scare literal-thinking children. The character Froggy from Our Gang got his nickname from his rough voice. When someone dies, we say he has "croaked". And some frogs can even scream!

6. Warts
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I know what you're thinking -that's toads! But according to Wikipedia, there is no taxonomic reason for distinguishing frogs and toads. Toads are basically frogs who live on dry land. Some species of toads and frogs have parotoid glands which give the appearance of warts, but are not warts and are not contagious. They are, however, toxic. Dogs can get into trouble by catching a toad because the parotoid glands will exude poison. There have been stories for decades about people who lick toads in order to get high, but since proof or participants are as rare as hen's teeth, this is pretty much an urban legend.

7. Kermit the Frog

Jim Henson's favorite puppet that was his on-camera alter ego evolved into Kermit the Frog. Kermit became the star of ads, TV shows, and movies, but never let it go to his head. In fact, Kermit always had a melancholy self-effacing outlook. After all, it's not easy being green.

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The Funniest Word in the English Language? 'Booty,' According to New Survey
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Some words, regardless of their meaning, are simply more chuckle-worthy than others. To determine which expressions in the English language are truly the most comical, Smithsonian reports that psychologists at the University of Warwick in the UK conducted a survey in which they asked people to rate the “humor value” of a sampling of chosen words. They recently published their findings in the journal Behavior Research Methods.

The researchers selected nearly 5000 words, and then used Amazon’s online crowdsourcing tool Mechanical Turk to ask more than 800 individuals to rank the humor value of 211 randomly chosen words from the list, on a scale from 1 (humorless) to 5 (humorous). Likely not surprising to anyone with younger siblings, the funniest word ended up being “booty,” with an average ranking of 4.32. In descending order, the remaining top 12 words—which all received a score of 3.9 or higher—were “tit,” “booby,” “hooter,” “nitwit,” “twit,” “waddle,” “tinkle,” “bebop,” “egghead,” “ass,” and “twerp.”

Why these words are so funny remains fuzzy. But when they analyzed their findings according to age and gender, the researchers did find that sexually suggestive words like “orgy” and “bondage” tended to tickle the funny bones of men, as did the words “birthmark,” “brand,” “chauffeur,” “doze,” “buzzard,” “czar,” “weld,” “prod,” “corn,” and “raccoon.”

Meanwhile, women tended to laugh at the words “giggle,” “beast,” “circus,” “grand,” “juju,” “humbug,” “slicker,” “sweat,” “ennui,” “holder,” “momma,” and “sod.” As for people under the age of 32, they were amused by “goatee,” “joint,” and “gangster,” while older participants liked “squint,” “jingle,” “burlesque,” and “pong.” Across the board, all parties were least amused by words like “rape,” “torture,” and “torment.”

Although humor is complex and dependent on elements like syntax and delivery, the study's researchers say that breaking comedy down to single-word units could demystify its essence.

“The research initially came about as a result of our curiosity,” said Tomas Engelthaler, the study’s lead author, in a press release. “We were wondering if certain words are perceived as funnier, even when read on their own. It turns out that indeed is the case. Humor is an everyday aspects of our lives and we hope this publicly available dataset allows future researchers to better understand its foundations.”

[h/t Smithsonian]

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Watch the Original Spinal Tap Short Film
Chris Weeks // Staff // Getty Images
Chris Weeks // Staff // Getty Images

Spinal Tap formed in 1979, five years before the classic film This is Spinal Tap premiered. They performed on TV and began developing their personas as idiotic heavy metal monsters.

When the band, along with director Rob Reiner, went to pitch their mockumentary to production companies, nobody "got it." It wasn't clear what an unscripted comedy pseudo-documentary would feel like. So Reiner asked for the screenplay fee—$60,000—to be paid up front as a budget for a short proof-of-concept film.

That skimpy budget went a very long way, allowing the group to produce The Last Tour, a 20-minute Spinal Tap film exploring some of the plot (and many of the songs) that appeared in the later film This is Spinal Tap. There's a surprising amount of concert footage, as various bits that were repeated in Tap (some interview clips were even used in Tap unaltered).

The Last Tour is delightful because it shows a well-developed idea being implemented on the cheap. The wigs are terrible, the sound is spotty, but the vision is spot-on. The characters and the core story of the group (including a string of dead drummers) is already in place, and we get to see the guys improvise together. Tune in (and be aware there's plenty of salty language here):

(Note: Around 4:38 in the clip above, we see Ed Begley, Jr. as original drummer John "Stumpy" Pepys in the "Gimme Some Money" video. Stumpy died in a gardening accident, of course.)

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