The way Kripke from The Big Bang Theory talks is sometimes mocked on the show. Is his particular pronunciation just an eccentricity, or is it some kind of dialect?

  • His real name is John Ross Bowie , I thought it seemed at first show-runners took something from there
    – Vishwa
    Apr 9, 2018 at 3:58
  • Just a side note I always wondered if Kripke has been faking a speech impediment all along just because the actor doesn't always stay true to it. Listen to him closely when he talks. He pronounces R just fine in many cases. Usually not the first words in a sentence but many in between.
    – Kai Qing
    Nov 1, 2019 at 18:04

3 Answers 3


It's a speech impediment, and it was added deliberately:

1 – No, I don’t talk that way in real life.

2 – Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady. I’d read for the Big Bang Theory a few times before the Kripke audition (including two auditions for Leonard – there’s an alternate cosmology out there where I’m Leonard and Kevin Sussman is Sheldon. DID I JUST BLOW YOUR MIND?) I played Kripke as the arrogant prick you see before you, and Chuck felt (wisely, I might add) that he needed some vulnerability. He suggested a speech impediment. Bill Prady (who was also in the room, as was Lee Aronsohn) suggested a liquid ‘l’ – ‘like Brokaw.’ What came out of my mouth was a horrible Elmer Fudd pastiche. Chuck laughed. I got the job.

3 – Good question. No, the impediment is not written into the script, I transpose it on my own.

If you think a Tumblr post isn't reliable, the same claim also appears in "professional" articles:

Bowie notes that he first approached playing Kripke as an arrogant alpha male before Big Bang co-creator Chuck Lorre thought it better to give the character some vulnerability and gave him an over-the-top case of rhotacism (think Looney Tunes' Elmer Fudd).

It's that diagnosis that motivates Kripke to be the permanent thorn in Sheldon's side. "He's basically just overcompensating for sounding silly," Bowie says. "Kripke is a super villain — he’s got a speech impediment the way Lex Luthor has alopecia, but it doesn’t stop him from being endlessly resourceful and incredibly smart. He doesn’t seem to find Sheldon’s quirks charming — it’s almost as if he’s saying, 'Look, man, you are giving nerds a bad name. Pull it together.' "

  • The first quote looks like it is a response to three questions in an interview. Could you maybe add those for some extra context?
    – JAD
    Apr 8, 2018 at 9:41
  • @JAD Tried looking for them, couldn't find them. You'd think that Tumblr post would contain a link, but no luck. Still, you can easily guess the questions from the responses.
    – BCdotWEB
    Apr 8, 2018 at 17:21
  • Hmm that's too bad then
    – JAD
    Apr 8, 2018 at 17:42

From the episode Discovery Dissipation, we have Kripke saying:

Is that a reference to my speech impediment? That's pretty hurtful. I can't control it.

So I don't think it is meant to be any specific dialect - just an oddity in how he talks.

  • 2
    Note that his awareness of it is written inconsistently in the show: in other episodes he appears to not notice it at all and for instance reacts bewildered when for instance Siri doesn't comprehend his commands.
    – BCdotWEB
    Apr 8, 2018 at 9:30

I know this was originally posted over one year ago. But I just wanted to add that I was shocked to see how many of you had never met anyone with the speech impediment they used for the Kripke character. It's unfortunate and I grew up with a kid who faced a lot of ridicule and bullying his entire time in school. His name was Robert Ross but his impediment made him pronounce his name Wobert Woss.

The strange thing is that I'm currently watching the ABC sitcom “Speechless” in which John Ross Bowie plays the father of a son with cerebral palsy. Paying attention to John's character when he speaks I was certain I could see in the mannerisms in his mouth that he actually at one point had the impediment himself and had since corrected it.

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