A slew of aspiring jokesters gathered this past weekend in What Cheer, IA (the official holder of the world’s most comedic, and ironic, city name) to hold the prestigious Whirled Pun Championship and attempted via almost a dozen plays on words each to make a bare-bones audience laugh. In at least one case, however, no pun in ten did.
The opener consisted of some semi-clever references connecting Beyonce to the concept of buoyancy, Donald Trump to the trump suit in bridge, and aunts being trapped inside a mall to ants being trapped inside an ant farm. As if this weren’t enough to make one slap one’s knee and hold one’s side while experiencing utter gales of laughter, more was yet to come. Much, much more.
This reporter will spare you the sordid details, except to say the eventual winner emerged as a surprise to no one: Tom E.D. (whose name is funny whether you mispronounce it slightly to sound like “comedy” or instead assume those initials stand for a certain personal problem) managed to rile the audience up the most and dodge at least two of the four rotten tomatoes launched in his direction, and so was crowned Whirled Pun Champion. “I couldn’t help myself,” he told me, which received a playful eye roll, to which Tom continued, “No, seriously, this self-help book on puns sucks!” He then proceeded to chuck a large volume out the nearest window, which sailed to the ground and hit a man named Chuck in the head.
Will next year’s greatest pun contest be named the Whirled Pun Championship Too? Will it attract even more corniness thicker than molasses on toast? Or will those seeking a good time stick to observational comedy and fart jokes at their local club? Only time will tell.