Who says puns are the lowest form of wit? Not the many who line up to take part in Brooklyn’s monthly pun competition known as Punderdome 3000. As a close friend of the “official judge,” I-Lean Reynolds, my name is on the schmancy guest list. Otherwise, the cover is a mere $5 for a night of some of the best (and worst) punnery in the 5 boroughs.
In regards to Punderdome 3000, the definition of pun has been simplified to “play on words” for the integrity of the competition. Merriam-Webster defines it as,
the usually humorous use of a word in such a way as to suggest two or more of its meanings or the meaning of another word similar in sound
The contenders are giving a topic then 90 seconds to concoct their related puns. Each gets a turn at the mic to present their best to the audience. Even the funniest puns elicit a minor groan from the crowd, but are followed by an overwhelming applause. By the final round, what was once 24 competitors is now a head-to-head match up of the best 2 of the evening. What ensues is an epic battle of wits! The winner is decided by the applause from the audience and the grand prize is usually a kitchen appliance (think: waffle maker).
I’ve only been to a couple of these competitions but the night is always silly and laugh-filled. The real question is: Is there actually a funny pun? Even the punsters who receive the most applause also receive the aforementioned groan. Alas, this is a rhetorical question and is unimportant to the competition at hand. What is important is the Brooklyn Lager and masterfully constructed punnery from such luminaries as Black Punther, Puns & Roses, and the duo of Pun Pals to just name a few.
In I-Lean’s article she mentions an interesting looking book by John Pollack called The Pun Also Rises. According to his Amazon bio, Pollack “who won the 1995 O. Henry Pun-Off World Championship, was a Presidential Speechwriter for Bill Clinton.”
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