One of the cleverest things I've ever said onstage was in a time-travel scene, that was randomly called as the year 1603. I jumped onstage as a dying Queen Elizabeth I, and mournfully said "I may have the heart and stomach of a king, but I have the body of a weak and feeble woman." Now that was an incredibly witty turnaround on Queen Bess' famous speech to the troops at Tilbury. I was amazed at my own brilliance. A lifetime of nerdish seclusion with history documentaries paid off at that one moment. It was a supremely gorgeous piece of literary punning.
Did it get a laugh? Did it HELL.
That's because it's the BAD puns that everyone laughs/groans at. And I've done my fair share of dodgy punning. I once pumped out about four or five cheese-related puns in a soap opera scene based on a family of cheese producers. "This business is in my blue veins"/"I'm getting edam better"/"This is more than I can camembert" - yes, people groaned liked they'd just been forced to watch Andrew Bolt's TV show, but that was always accompanied by an escaped snort or two - the sound of people laughing despite themselves.
(Of course, this is TERRIBLE advice for any improvisers reading. Don't pun, guys.)
Businesses love a pun too. In my mind, nobody loves a pun more than an airport business. Here's a selection from Brisbane's Domestic Terminal.
|News Travels! Geddit? 'Cause you're at an airport!|
|Eat 'n' Runway! Geddit? 'Cause you're at an airport!|
|Cafe du Wings! Geddit? Well, actually, I'm not entirely sure what the "du" is |
supposed to mean, but it's probably French or something. But still, WINGS!
And I've lost count of how many times I've seen airport noodle bars called "Wok on Air".
There's a famous fish and chip shop in Brisbane somewhere called "A Salt and Battery".
And hairdressing salons! If they're not super trendy and called something like "Krop" or "Obsidian", they've got names like "A Cut Above". My favourite is "Lunatic Fringe" at Clayfield.
The problem I find is that many puns are completely obvious when you read them - but it would never occur to me to put said pun with said business, or event, or whatever. I lack pun foresight. I would be terrible in advertising.
What good/bad puns have you seen around recently?