There is a checklist of 48 comedy techniques on page 189 of Creativity For Entertainers Volume Two. That list came from my book Comedy Techniques for Entertainers which is out of print. One of the listed techniques is spoonerism which is a term you may not be familiar with.
A spoonerism is switching the first sounds of two words. I saw Carol "CLaroL" Crooks perform an excellent spoonerism routine at the 2009 Northwest Festival of Clowns banquet.
Here is some more information on this technique excerpted from the Clown In Times.
The Rev. William Archibald Spooner (1844-1930) was famous for unintentionally transposing sounds between words. In his honor the comedy technique based on this verbal blooper is known as a Spoonerism. Here are some of his words:
He once told a groom, "it is kistomary to cuss the bride." (He meant "customary to kiss the bride.")
He told a rector, ''The vicar knows every crook and nanny in the parish." (nook and cranny)
One Sunday he asked the congregation to sing, "The Kinkering Congs Their Tattles Tike." ("The Conquering Kings Their Titles Take") .
He invited the members of Parliament to honor Queen Victoria with ''three cheers for the queer old dean." (dear old queen)
Speaking to a group of farmers, he began by saying, "I see before. me tons of soil." (sons of toil) He warned his congregation in a sermon that "there is no peace in a home where a dinner swells." (sinner dwells)
Another person prone to unintentionally making the same mistake was Mary Livingston on The Jack Benny Show. When she was scripted to ask for a swiss cheese sandwich, it came out "chiss sweese sandwich".
Jack was quick to capitalize on mistakes by any member of his cast, including himself. One week he asked Mary where her car was. She was supposed to answer, "it's in the garage on the grease rack." Instead she said, "grass reek." Jack immediately challenged her to use that phrase in a logical sentence. She couldn't think of one, but the next week the writers scripted a response for her. She got a letter from her mother which she read to Jack. The first sentence was, "last night a skunk ran across our lawn, and boy did the grass reek."
This type of error can be purposely scripted into a routine. For example, on The Fibber McGee and Molly radio show, Mayor LaTrivia, played by Gail Gordon, would slip into spoonerisms when he got upset because Fibber misunderstood him. He might exclaim, ''the speaking I was man about! The span I was meaking about!"
The June 11, 1946 Fibber McGee and Molly broadcast was about Fred Warring and his band being their summer replacement. Mayor LaTrivia commented he thought Fred Warring's music was old hat. Fibber told the Mayor he didn't think it was very nice to criticise Mr. Warring's hat because if he wanted to wear an old one that was alright.
After trying to carefully explain his comment to increasing misunderstanding, LaTrivia said, "Now look here, Mr. McGee, I didn't say Mr. Hat was wearing an old Warring, I mean, if he wants to lead his hat in an old band, if he wants to wear his bat to his handstand. (Pause) Now look, I was only trying to explain I made no reference whatsoever to Mr. Warring's hat. Have I made myself clear?"
"Yes, but Mr. Mayor, you might be more careful indulging in personalities, a man's hat is his own business."
"Oh, for heaven's sake! I didn't intend to Mr harrings wat reference, heference to rarrings, refer, riffle, hafle ... when I said that an old handleader has a bat, an old hat, as you stated ... nobody would ... I was ... we were you ... I... (long pause) McGee, good day!"
Archie Campbell (- 1987), a country comedian and Hee Haw show writer, was known for telling complete fairy tales in spoonerisms. One of his stories was Rindercella. The conclusion was, "and the storale of the mory is if you are invited to a bancy fall by a pransome hince don't forget to slop your dripper."
Clowns can do the same thing. The man who first got me into clowning was Larry Luebben. One of his routines was telling the story of Rittle Led Hiding Rood, all in spoonerisms.
Reprinted from The Clown In Times Volume 4 Issue 3 Spring 1998