To Pun or not to Pun – Is that the Question?

One of the most renowned punsters of all times is William Shakespeare. This year, modern day pun makers battled it out in The Pun-Off 2014, or more officially The 37th Annual O. Henry Pun-Off World Championships, held on Saturday, May 10 in Austin, Texas.

Review article coverTo those of you who unfortunately missed out on this marvellous event, Zachary Pincus-Roth, writer at the LA Weekly, gives us an account of this punning festival. In detail, he describes both the development of and the popularity shifts in the history of pun-making as well as the actual championships including its pre-dinner, its different competition categories, and its array of competitors and their routines.

Perhaps to no surprise at all (?), Pincus-Roth confirms the stereotypes of the pun buff world as one “of gray-haired or socially awkward men”. The article centres around one of these men in particular, namely Ben Ziek. Why Ziek? Well, he won both of the competitions main events in 2013. Unfortunately, this year he only came in second in Punniest of Show, the round of prepped routines, with his tree-themed set that included the line “A wise man doesn’t wait for an opportunity —hickory-ates one.”He also had to acknowledge his defeat in the more creative improv round of Punslingers against his arch enemy Matt Pollock in the final on the theme “musical genres”.

Despite the male dominance, there are female punsters as well! In this article, Diana Gruber is quoted as one of these rare specimens. Apparently, she found this pun forum due to one too many puns uttered. Her roommate who had had enough one day replied: “There’s an organization for people like you”.

And that is the Pun-Offs! Despite some negative vibes around this form of comedy, considered low or not, the trend at the moment is looking upward so check out this article for some really intelligent and creative wordplay! And maybe you are one of next year’s contestants?

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