Registration 2016

Registration has closed for 2016!
next registration is april 1, 2017!

[Article was edited on 4/3/2016 to past tense] Due to the overwhelming popularity and enthusiasm for the O. Henry Pun-Off World Championships, registration this year was for a lottery that will pick the contestants, allowing persons to sign up any time during a 48-hour period after Noon, April 1st.

Note: You do not need a ticket to watch the event. The event is free and open to the whole community. We may also try live video streaming so follow #punoffATX on Twitter.

In case you missed out on the online registration/lottery, we always seem to have a few “no-shows” on the day of the contest so be prepared to check-in Saturday, May 7th at the Pun-Off registration table before 11:45.

Eventbrite sent persons who registered an email confirmation that their entry was accepted. This is NOT be a confirmation that persons are in the event. Everyone who registered between April 1st noon and April 3rd noon will participate in lotteries. The top 32 randomly chosen in each lottery will get a contestant place in the contest. The rest will be rank-ordered on a stand by waiting list, to obtain a position if people drop out.

Over time, until the day of the Pun-Off because of drop-outs, people will be notified via email if they are  moved from the standby-waiting list to the competitors list. The person will at that point have 24 hours to respond they want to compete. Persons who do not respond, will be moved to the bottom of the waiting list.

On the day of the Pun-Off, contestants and standby list persons should bring their Eventbrite Ticket and we will complete your contestant application form.

Description of the Two Contests

The 39th Annual O. Henry Pun-Off World Championships consists of two competitions of punning in downtown Austin, Texas on May 7, 2016.

Punniest of Show is usually a collection of prepared and rehearsed material incorporating strings of puns and wordplay on a theme (the audience can get) performed within 90 seconds. Often it will feature costumes, props, music, and even multiple punsters. Our judge panel is “trained” to appreciate and reward true puns, but they tend to be more tolerant of fringe wordplay and mere double entendre in this event, especially with favorable audience groans.

The Punslingers competition is conducted as a tournament and requires improvised quips on a randomly selected topic. While it is possible to practice and rehearse for this event, it involves a tremendous amount of thinking on one’s feet and a very quick tongue. Not every pun perpetrator is able to summon up disgrace under fire.


Why are you changing the registration system this year? Since the entire contest filled up in less than 10 minutes in 2015, we felt that the prior system was unfair to people who couldn’t get to a web connection right at noon. It rewarded those with fast internet connections and flexible work schedules.

How will you run the lotteries? They will be run by a computer randomization of the contestant names. Each lottery will be independent, so you may win entry into either or both contests, depending on what you registered for.

What about that cool P.O.T.Y. dinner the night before? You’re invited! Check out our web page for details.

Is my Eventbrite registration/ticket or contestant spot transferable? No. If you need to drop out, your place will go to another person on the standby-waiting list.

Before You enter

  • Watch some YouTube videos, read our FAQ and Rules and Bite Your Tongue so you know jest what the Annual Pun-Off World Championship is all about. Check your calendar and make work and travel plans. Are you ready for this?
  • Clean Up Your Act. To wit “…double entendre and risqué references will usually go over the heads of the innocent while being appreciated by the mature, but we do hope that all contestants will think twice about deliberately including overt sexual references or other adult themes in their prepared material. We feel a responsibility to our audience, many of whom are young and impressionable, to present a program that is not intentionally offensive in its nature. We are especially eager to see that our event is perceived as a “family friendly” one. Everyone will be on the “honor system” in this matter.”
  • Be advised that the Pun-Off is a free, public, austintatious entertainment event so you will be photographed and your stage performance recorded and distributed for posterity, and you consent to this.
  • Punniest of Show(POS)  accepts team entries, but please only enter the “captain’s” name.
  • POS and PunSlingers are independent from each other, so you may join EITHER one or BOTH!



3 responses to “Registration 2016

  1. Hello!

    When does registration open for the 2015 contest? Thank you!

    • Date for the 2015 Pun-Off is Saturday, May 9th. Contestant registration traditionally opens at noon (central time) on April 1st and all positions usually fill up very rapidly. Watch this site for occasional updates and details. You may also wish to visit the Pun-Off page on FaceBook where many contestants and organizers often conjugate and collaborate.

  2. Great,thank you! I am assuming that is April 1st Noon Central Time, correct? Also, the registration will be on this site? Will there be a live link or a registration form for 2015 added by that time?


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