Aug 21, 2011


I love a good pun.

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?


  1. There is The Codpiece (Fish Bar & Grill) at New Farm.

    Hair to Dye For at Townsville.

  2. The Codfather (fish and chips) at Kedron. Any coffee shop with "grind" in the title.

  3. I grew up with a punning father. And it's always very intelligent people who love them. Learned people. When I was younger I delighted in them but as I grew up (and indeed had them trained out of me for Impro) I learned to detest them.

    Getting a groan from the audience (I had to convince myself) is not a great result. Turns out that if you're trying to entertain people, it's a very, very bad one.

  4. Gee thanks Dan.

    I appreciate you leaving comments, but why do you always have to sound like you're lecturing me?

  5. The Thai are the worst for puns: Bow Thai, Thaitanic, Appethaizing, The King and Thai, I Want to Get Thai and the list goes on.

  6. I actually have a secret love of puns. There are certain... acquaintances I have who will skip a day at the beach to pun. But, c'mon, with friends like these, who needs anemones?

  7. I read about a guy who used to announce a theme at any meeting of his friends and everyone would try and pun their way through the evening. Sounded like an awesome idea, but I never had friends who'd play along. Intellectually they were too puny.

  8. The best thai restaurant name I ever heard was Thai Me Kangaroo Down, but I can't confirm it on Google, it might just be wishful thinking.

    Pie shops are starting to get in on that action, there's Piefection at Mt Gravatt (best pies in brisbane) and the Pieface chain which has started popping up everywhere.

  9. I feel like I speak for everyone in the audience (I really don't, I just feel that way) when I say that better concentration is called for if a pun fails to elicit a laugh. I mean, focus if we can't take a joke.

  10. I engaged the services of a lawn care company in Cairns, solely because I loved their name: Mown and Grown.

  11. Can I say, there has been some top quality punning here. Gold stars all round - particularly you Amy D, Mad Hatter and Ola. Excellent work. You can all come round to my place for some innuendo, in YOUR endo, if you get my drift.

    Thanks for all the other business names too guys, they're brilliant!

    Although Stu - I still don't really get "Pieface" - how is that a pun? I'm obviously missing something. Piefection, I get.

  12. I always like the hairdresser 'Beau Tangles'

  13. I always wanted to see a hairdresser called "curl up and dye"

  14. Like Jo said, Thai restaurants, for some reason, like puns.
    My favourite one of all time is the Bangkok Milton.

  15. hahaha that is funny, very fantastic punastic Lol and I agree, that is one of the cleverest things I have ever heard, thanks for sharing it with us!