The P.U.N.Y. (Punsters United Nearly Yearly) elves are finally organizing the 37th Annual O. Henry Pun-Off World Championships.
The Pun-Off will take place on Saturday, May 10, 2014 at 409 E. Fifth Street, Austin, Texas in the back yard of the O. Henry Museum also known as Brush Square Park. For all you long time Punsters, please note the 10th is the second weekend, not the third weekend. This year we moved up the Pun-Off to avoid UT commencement (17th) which fills up all the hotel rooms.
Persons who want to compete as 2014 Punniest of Show and/or PunSlingers contestant should mark their calendar for Noon, April 1st, to rush in when the registration form will be opened.
more announcements for 2014 Pun-off coming!!
For general information about the O. Henry Pun-Off event, call 512-472-1903512-472-1903 between noon and five p.m., Wednesday thru Sunday or leave a voice message.
You may also want to acknowledge our presents on Facebook where you’ll find several Pun-Off sites dedicated to facilitating both pun chatter & contestant practice. www.facebook.com/PUNYPAGE and www.facebook.com/groups/punoff/
Below are some basic FAQs for contestants to ponder. ~
What is a Pun?
A pun is the humorous use of a word or words in such a way as to suggest different meanings or applications OR words that have the same or nearly the same sound but different meanings.
The above dictionary definition doesn’t exactly tell the whole story. If you’re at all puzzled or unclear about what punning actually is, we strongly advise you to study up a bit before diving into this competition. Many people have a very skewed vision of what types of wordplay actually constitute puns. We do tend to be generous in setting our parameters but we do have our limits. We also offer several resources for honing your skills. Please do take advantage of them.
What isn’t a pun?
While we do enjoy, encourage and embrace many types of twisted words at our event, we aspire to a higher standard than most when accepting or rewarding our contestant’s offerings in competition. A true pun usually plays on the homophonic similarities between two different words or exploits the ambiguities of meaning in words that may appear or sound exactly the same. Thus when addressing the subject of “railroads” it might seem natural to quip, “I’ve lost TRACK of my TRAIN of thought.” This, however, is merely a “PUN ATTEMPTED” because the essential meaning of the words is not significantly altered. To qualify as a true pun those same two key words could be used thus. “I need to TRAIN for the Pun-Off so please don’t dis-TRACK me.” Once you can recognize subtle differences like these, you have a “PUN INTENDED.”
Does a Pun need to be funny?
That is certainly preferable, but for our competition it isn’t required. It is generally the fusion (or confusion) of ironic elements in a phrase or an absurd juxtaposition of intent that allows a pun to become truly funny. When humor happens in our contest it is a natural side effect of contestants & audience attempting to squeeze multiple meanings from a single word, under pressure. If it’s really a pun, it will probably entertain someone! Humor may be our objective but funny can be very subjective.
Do I need to practice?
Obviously it helps. Punning comes naturally and compulsively to many people and we have been taken by surprise by the rare contestant has little or no experience in competitive wordplay. Even those who have never before stood in front of a microphone, have been known to do well in this competition. That being said, our contest follows some very specific rules and you are far more likely to do well if you have a chance to get your feat wit first. At the very least you should read the rules carefully and take time to watch some video clips on YouTube.
Why are there 2 different contests?
While the both require and celebrate punning, these two contests tend to attract totally different types of word players. Yes, of course many people are skilled at both but there are some of us who know our limitations and like to play to our strengths. PUNNIEST OF SHOW is usually a collection of prepared and rehearsed material incorporating of strings of puns and wordplay on a theme. Often it will feature costumes, props, music and even teamwork. Our judge panel is trained to appreciate and reward true puns, they do tend to be more tolerant of fringe wordplay and mere double entendre in this event. 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.