The pun, of course, is a much maligned form of humor. Noah Webster, in his first edition of the American Dictionary of the English Language (1828) defines the pun as “an expression in which a word has at once different meanings; an expression in which two different applications of a word present an odd or ludicrous idea; a kind of quibble or equivocation; a low species of wit.” Sigmund Freud, in his seminal work Wit and Relation to the Unconscious (1917), added: “Puns are generally counted as the lowest form of wit, perhaps because they are cheaper and can be formed with the least effort.” Sounds like the father of psychoanalysis suffers from pun envy. In an article for the New York Times, Joseph Tartakovsky posits: “Puns are the feeblest species of humor because they are ephemeral: whatever comic force they possess never outlasts the split second it takes to resolve the semantic confusion.” Punsters will counter that if the pun is the lowest form, then it is the foundation of all wit. Known for his razor-sharp wit, comedian Oscar Levant declared: “A pun is the lowest form of humor — when you don’t think of it first.” Take that, Noah and Siggy!
For punsters, the internet, serves as a giant sandbox, where they can all step in, gluttons for punishment, and hurl puns at one another, howling with devilish glee (and not a single groan!) that only a true paronomasiac can appreciate. Here are the best of puns or the worst of puns, depending on your perspective (pun purists will note that some of these are not technically puns, but rather clever wordplay).
A punster sent ten puns to friends with the hope that at least one of the puns would make them laugh. No pun in ten did.
I have a few puns about unemployed people, but none of them work.
It’s hard to explain puns to a kleptomaniac because they always take things literally.
A backward poet writes inverse.
A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited by police for littering.
A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The police are looking into it.
A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class — it was a weapon of math disruption.
A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab center said: “Keep off the Grass.”
Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
A vulture boards an airplane, carrying two dead raccoons. The stewardess looks at him and says, “I’m sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger.”
Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused novocaine during a root canal? His goal: transcend dental medication.
If you jumped off the bridge in Paris, you’d be in Seine.
“I have a split personality,” said Tom, being frank.
In a democracy it is your vote that counts. In a feudal system it is your count that votes.
I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian.
I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.
No matter how much you push the envelope, it will still be stationery.
She was only a whiskey maker, but he loved her still.
When life gives you melons, you’re dyslexic.
The fattest knight at King Arthur’s round table was Sir Cumference. He acquired his size from too much pi.
The midget fortune-teller who escaped from prison was referred to in the news as “a small medium at large.”
The soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.
Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana. Your fly might be open.
Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they lit a fire in it. Eventually it sank, proving once again that you can’t have your kayak and heat it too.
I dreamt I was swimming in an ocean of orange soda but I realized it was just a Fanta sea.
Two fish swim into a concrete wall. One turns to the other and says “Dam!”
Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said to the other: “You stay here; I’ll go on a head.”
Two hydrogen atoms meet. One says, “I’ve lost my electron.” The other says “Are you sure?” The first replies, “Yes, I’m positive.”
Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.
When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion.
The priest made holy water by boiling the hell out of it.
What’s your favorite clever pun?