No Pun In Ten Did - History of The Pun:
The play on words is probably a child’s first venture into humour. We have all laughed at our children as they inappropriately or incorrectly, use words in their attempts to learn sentences and communicate. Often the ways things are said are funnier than the actual words used.
I grew up surrounded by such humour and it has always provided me with great amusement. Such stars as: Hylda Baker, Jimmy Jewel, Arthur Mullard, Bernard Manning, Tommy Cooper, Ken Dodd. Bruce Forsythe, Charlie Williams and television programmes such as, Wheel tappers andshunters club, Open all hours, Last of the summer wine, Some mothers do have em, It aint half hot mum, The comedians Fawlty towers etc; have brought many a tear to my eyes.
I recall many years ago, travelling to Batley Variety Club to watch Tommy Cooper perform. I met the giant of a man outside the venue, climbing out of his Rolls Royce with the car rego TC1. Just his presence made one laugh. Even being serious, he was funny as his stage presence was guaranteed to warm the coldest heart. Part of his act was juggling rubber balls, which he never ever successfully completed. I recall he was at pains to impress on the crowd that he couldn't juggle. “People don’t believe me you know, I just can’t juggle.” The more he explained, the more the crowd laughed, and the worse his attempts became. I think in our efforts to sophisticate humour we lose the intent. Mr Bean, (perhaps the modern day equivalent), continues to prove that we take great delight in the vulnerability of others. In a world gone mad over political correctness, and an over sensitivity to the rights of others, it’s almost a crime to laugh at the unfortunate state of another, almost!
A blind bloke walks into a shop with a guide dog. He picks the Dog up and starts swinging it around his head. Alarmed, a shop assistant calls out: 'Can I help, sir?' 'No thanks,' says the blind bloke. 'Just looking.' Tommy Cooper
I had a dream last night I was eating a ten pound marsh mellow. When I woke up the pillar had gone.
So I rang up a local building firm, I said 'I want a skip outside my house.' He said 'I'm not stopping you.' Tommy Cooper
A woman tells her doctor, 'I've got a bad back.' The doctor says, 'It's old age.' The woman says, 'I want a second opinion.' The doctor says: 'Okay - you're ugly as well.' Tommy Cooper
Some years ago, I worked for an outside catering company (which shall remain nameless). At the end of one day, we were carrying food back from a function into the kitchen from the trucks. One of the chefs threw a raw egg at another. The target, in return threw a piece of black forest gateaux, which resulted in twenty minutes of pure mayhem as food of all sorts whistled overhead, hit windows, cars, walls, chefs, waiters and passers-by. I can’t recall ever being so incapacitated by tears of laughter since that day. It was like the old keystone cops, Laurel and Hardy, Abbot and Costello, and Three Stooges all rolled into one event. Four staff was fired over the event, but I was off like a skinny hogget before the bosses turned up. For months after, the dried egg shells and food imprints, adorned the loading dock walls, and I couldn’t park beside it without bursting into laughter as I recalled every missile thrown, and every target hit.
Words can be nearly as much fun as a well landed pie in the face. In the hands (or mouth) of the right individual, with an appropriately timed delivery, humour can lighten our day and turn a frown into a smile. I recently sent ten different puns to friends, with the hope that at least one of the puns would make them laugh. Unfortunately, no pun in ten did.
The pun, also called paronomasia, is a form of word play that suggests two or more meanings, by exploiting multiple meanings of words, or of similar-sounding words, for an intended humorous or rhetorical effect. These ambiguities can arise from the intentional use of homophonic, homographic, metonymic, or metaphorical language. A pun differs from a malapropism in that a malapropism uses an incorrect expression that alludes to another (usually correct) expression, but a pun uses a correct expression that alludes to another (sometimes correct but more often absurdly humorous) expression. Henri Bergson defined a pun as a sentence or utterance in which "the same sentence appears to offer two independent meanings, but it is only an appearance; in reality there are two different sentences made up of different words, but claiming to be one and the same because both have the same sound". Puns may be regarded as in-jokes or idiomatic constructions, given that their usage and meaning are entirely local to a particular language and its culture. For example, "Camping is intense." (in tents)
Puns are used to create humor and sometimes require a large vocabulary to understand. Puns have long been used by comedy writers, such as William Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, and George Carlin. The Roman playwright Plautus is famous for his tendency to make up and change the meaning of words to create puns in Latin.
Puns make one think, it also gets the grey matter working, for in order to understand the punch line, one has to associate the phrase with another instance of similar usage. I am not sure if languages other than English can share the same complexity, but for those able to get the subtle nuances and elements of word play, it can be hilarious. I tried implementing some instances into English language classes and failed miserably. The only one laughing was me.
So without further ado, here is a collection of my favourite puns which I hope bring a smile to your face.
The late great Tommy Cooper
Well, my wife and I were married in a toilet - it was a marriage of convenience!
You know, somebody actually complimented me on my driving today. They left a little note on the windscreen, it said 'Parking Fine.'
Police arrested two kids yesterday, one was drinking battery acid, the other was eating fireworks. They charged one and let the other one off.
So he said 'I'm going to chop off the bottom of one of your trouser legs and put it in a library.' I thought 'That's a turn-up for the books.'
A man's home is his castle, in a manor of speaking.
Dijon vu – the same mustard as before.
Shotgun wedding: A case of wife or death.
A hangover is the wrath of grapes.
Reading while sunbathing makes you well red.
When two egotists meet, it's an I for an I.
A bicycle can't stand on its own because it is two tired.
What's the definition of a will? (It's a dead giveaway.)
She was engaged to a boyfriend with a wooden leg but broke it off.
With her marriage, she got a new name and a dress.
When a clock is hungry, it goes back four seconds.
The man who fell into an upholstery machine is fully recovered.
You feel stuck with your debt if you can't budge it.
Local Area Network in Australia : the LAN down under.
Every calendar's days are numbered.
A lot of money is tainted – It taint yours and it taint mine.
A boiled egg in the morning is hard to beat.
He had a photographic memory that was never developed.
Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end.
Once you've seen one shopping centre, you've seen a mall.
Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead-to-know basis.
Santa's helpers are subordinate clauses.
Acupuncture is a jab well done.
I've accidentally swallowed some Scrabble tiles. My next crap could spell disaster
To the guy who invented Zero: Thanks for nothing!
The person who invented the door knock won the No-bell prize.
I couldn't work out how to fasten my seatbelt. Then it clicked.