Judges 2012

Punniest of Show (POS)

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.

Stan Kegel

Stan Kegel pictureDr. 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 13th 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:puns-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.

Jim Ertner

Jim Ertner

 Jim Ertner retired a couple of 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 had two 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

Alan CombsAlan 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 Hallock

Enid Hallock picture

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.

Last 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)

Bob Dvorak

Bob Dvorak

Up until last year Bob was just another of the many contestants vying for the judge’s flavor. As a competitor in PunSlingers, Bob wasn’t too fast, he was just half-fast. Although he claimed to great wit it turne out he was only a half-wit. This year marks Bob’s first tentative venture onto the Judge Panel. If he proves to be unworthy of this task, he may be asked to volunteer at the used book sale next year.

As an engineer, Bob is used to solving complex problems, one of which is how to teach one of his friends to read. This friend sees all the letters of a word out of order. Bob is writing a dictionary just for this friend. He calls it a dyslexicon.

Bob thought that as an engineer he’d finally realize his childhood dream to drive a train. Instead he found himself trying to fix a car with a broken drive train. “Close, but no cigar.” His psyche may be “cigarred” for life.

As a hard-corpse player on the YahooGroups PUNY listserve, Bob is credited with originating the POODLES, a “clipped down” version of the time-honored / time-wasting shaggy dog story. When a car drives past, presumably such a streamlined mutt is better able to cut to the chase. You may find the PUNY group does something for you too. Check it out by clicking here…

Valerie Bennett

Valerie Bennett

When she first signed on as curator of the O.Henry Museum in back in 1989, Valerie had never heard anything about the Pun-Off, yet a month later she would be expected to oversee the event. Since her previous gig had been to oversea the restoration of the Battleship “TEXAS,” she had an ocean such a small thing like the Pun-Off probably wouldn’t destroyer. Although the punsters did assail ‘er, Valerie fired up her big guns to keep the contest afloat that first year and some Howitzer-vived the next 22 years under her direction and dedication. Eventually she came to appreciate (and very nearly understand) the twisted minds that create and recreate the event. Upon her retirement in 2011, she callously assumed she might be able to take a pass this season. No such luck, Valerie! The vast experience she has a mast while enduring puns makes her so frigate endearing to the punsters that she’s been recoiled to stand in judgement while seated on our panel for the first time. Batten down the hatches, we’re roping she’ll knot be frayed. Even if her scores end up tide, you know she means swell.