The Corner

Re: Place Names

I got a tsunami of funny place names, some of which I should have thought of myself, like Sheboyan, Walla Walla, and Azusa. Of course, Mona beat me to Ho-Ho-Kus, N.J., which always strikes me as a joke when I see it on a board at Penn Station, along with other New Jersey suburbs, like Mahwah or Perth Amboy. Then there’s names that follow the rule that the “K” sound is inherently funny: Kalamazoo, Albuquerque (especially as pronounced by Bugs Bunny), Kokomo, Rancho Cucamonga, Lompoc, Kankakee, Poughkeepsie, Passaic, Tuscaloosa, Yakima, Nyack, Muskogee, Schwenksville (Pa.), and Apalachicola. As Yakov Smirnoff (who now lives and works at his own theater in Branson, Mo., of all places) said, “Every country has that one city that everyone makes fun of, even Russia. In Russia, we make fun of Cleveland.” And just to round it out, how about Wausau, Puyallup, Yazoo City, and Chattanooga.  OK, back to work, people!

Mark Krikorian — Mark Krikorian, a nationally recognized expert on immigration issues, has served as Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) since 1995.

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