punderdome 3000

Punderdome 3000!

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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