Joy in Puns

That’s right. I said it. I love puns. Fight me.

I heard a fantastic pun this weekend during a story. A friend and her husband were at another Renaissance festival, holding beers, and he knocked hers out of her hand. Then said this beautiful line: “It’s not my fault you can’t hold your beer.”

I laughed a lot, guys.

Being the only person laughing at a pun also brings me joy. Mostly because when the other people aren’t laughing, they’re usually groaning. That’s half the fun of puns in the US: they bring pain to the vast majority of people. The more exaggerated the outrage over the joke, the more hilarious it is.

A favorite comic artist of mine, Mookie (writer of current webcomic Star Power, and writer and illustrator of completed webcomic Dominic Deegan), knew this just as much as I did. Many of his main characters enjoyed telling puns, but then would turn around and give the audience an “oh brother” look when another character would tell one. Because the element of a character not enjoying a pun was just as much fun as the pun itself, or more. Or there would be pun-tastic exchanges between characters, the best of which were when title character Dominic and his wife would flirt with puns. It was beautiful.

That’s one reason I enjoy British media so much. The British love puns, too. I’ve recently gotten into The Great British Baking Show, and the hosts Mel and Sue are wonderful about inserting puns into their announcements. The fact that they’re so prolific with them made it hysterical when they began one episode by stating they had been banned from punning off the word “buns” that week because it would be coming up all episode long and the possibilities were endless. The tortured looks on their faces when they had a great opportunity but had to let it pass due to the ban were as much fun as any joke would’ve been.

During one episode, they were making picnic pies, two contestants were modeling their pies after picnic baskets, and Sue gave this announcement with an enormous grin: “Half an hour left, bakers. Don’t let the time crunch hamper your progress.” She then paused, swung her arms awkwardly, and added, “I’ll just be out back,” in an acknowledgement of how bad that pun was.

A close friend of mine likes to share puns with me because she knows I like them. She does not. Any sharing of puns in the other direction involves accusations of being a bad person who should feel bad. I do not.

I am, however, not spectacular at puns myself, hence the lack of them in the sentences I wrote myself for this pun. I’m a write amateur at them. (See, that’s not very good, but it still makes me smile.) I think admiring the skill others have which I do not adds to my enjoyment.

Do you like puns? What are some that you’ve heard that you’ve particularly enjoyed?

Or do you hate them? Why are puns so terrible?

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