Punniest of Show (POS) judges
For many jeers our four judge panel was armed with votes ranging between 1-10 points. This would yield each contestant a potential high score of 40 points. In 2010 we added two more judge positions to the panel. Now the highest and lowest votes are discarded which still yields a maximum of 40 points per contestant. (Wasn’t that fun?) Although it appears to be more fair, this new system doesn’t really make a tie vote any less likely. We really jest wanted to math with your mind.
Here come de judges!
Dr. Stan Kegel didn’t invent the Kegel exercises, but he does exercise his readers’ laugh muscles while splitting their ribs and their funny bones with his daily humerus e-mailings on punny and funny subjects. Stan, who is returning for his 14th year as a Pun-Off judge, was honored as Punster of the Year in 2000 by the International Save the Pun Foundation and is a well-loved member of the PUNY Yahoo Group. Autographed copies of “The Ants are my Friends” a book of musical groaners co-authored with former judge, Richard Lederer, are available during at the event. To get more of Stan’s chokes and gags subscribe to “Puns” by sending a blank e-mail to: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jim Ertner retired a few years ago after 41 years in the Navy shipbuilding business. He figured that, like the NASCAR driver whose wheels wore out, it was finally time to reTIRE. Jim has competed in the Punniest of Show seven times, winning three of them (one first place and two second place medals.) All of the winning topics were animal-related. Coincidentally, Jim is the co-author with Richard Lederer of The Giant Book of Animal Jokes (available for sale at the O.Henry Museum and on http://www.amazon.com, and from the publisher http://www.stoneandscott.com.) Jim and Richard Lederer also had two more PUNderful children’s books published in April 2011, Wild & Wacky Animal Jokes and Super Funny Animal Jokes, and two more in April 2012, Cleverly Comical Animal Jokes and Rip Roaring Animal Jokes.
Alan Combs has taught in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Texas since 1970 or forever – take your pick. The difference becomes smaller each year. Always exhibiting a lot of heart, he teaches cardiovascular pharmacology and toxicology. His current interests include the use of educational technology for teaching toxicology. In the virtuous world, Second Life, he is known as PunGently Writer in the Realm of Punsmanship, a kingdom inhabited by shaggy canids and related varmints. Alan and his son Brian also maintain a website Tarzan’s Tripes Forever. It contains over 2,000 humorous “shaggy-dog” stories and a Google search engine to peruse the cumulation. In honor of this collection, Alan was named Punster of the Year (P.O.T.Y.) for 2004 by the International Save the Pun Foundation. Few academic activities have given him the pleasure of this award and he continues to be thankful.
Enid first joined the judge panel in 2011, which makes her a Janie-come-lately, but she’s always on time with her scoring…also on rosemary and basil. And we bay leaf she is sage with her judging as swell.
That year Gary was casting about (that means finding actors to play boxers–and I don’t mean underwear) for a last minuet judge. His back was to the waltz. In a stroke of brilliance–or nepotism–he found Enid. Gary warns us he maple another family member in this year, but Enid remains the most poplar.
As a caster of ballots, she is never outclassed and is certainly not going to be “cast out.” Besides the obvious credibility she gleans from having given birth to Gary, “Leerless Feeder” emcee of the Pun-Off (spawn intended) 60-odd years ago, Enid can also boast of an attendance record at the event that is matched only by our most grizzled contestants and organizers. (bear with me, folks!) Beyond the frequent sidestepping of her own embarrassing issues, (Sorry, Gary’s brothers) Enid has recently come into her own write in the world of comedy as an oft-featured player on FunnyForMoney.com where her comedic video clips have collected her more accolades and larger cash prizes than any other player associated with the Pun-Off. (Sorry, Gary)
John McNeill was a judge of the Pun-Off many eons ago, beyond the memory of man (or at least the younger ones). His main interest now is word puzzles of all types – he is the editor of The Enigma, the monthly magazine of such puzzles published for the National Puzzlers’ League. If you chat with him nicely, he will tell you that the NPL’s annual convention will be in Austin this year, in early July. (Walk-ins are welcome to participate.) However, he will also attempt to recruit you into the NPL as a full member, so be warned.
John is on the judge panel this year graciously filling in for Will Shortz who was invited but who will be at the NPL convention in July, though!!
In the late evening of June 16th 1962, a boy was born on the outskirts of Cleveland, Ohio. Then three-year old, David Gugenheim, residing in San Antonio, Texas couldn’t care less. He was learning to read Pun laden Dr. Seuss books by Bennett Cerf (no relation). His favorite toys were mercury filled, asbestos, coated in lead paint. Growing up half nuts, he was destined either to win the Pun-Off, or the Tour de France. As a armature cyclist, he entered his first Pun-Off in 1983. After winning six metals, and a plastic first place trophy, David made the leap to emcee crew in 2007. He often enjoys long walks, small shiny objects, and trying to find his way home. Gugenheim is working on his first film — Pelicula.