NHPR's Rewind: No Pun Like an Old Pun

Jun 23, 2016

In 1990, NHPR language commentator Richard Lederer shared with listeners some of the 10 “Best-Stressed Puns” of 1989, as decided upon by the International Save the Pun Foundation. Take a listen to Lederer recounting what the International Save the Pun Foundation considered to be some of the best puns of 1989.

Founded in 1978 by John S. Crosbie, the ISTPF aimed to preserve a medium of humor that guarantees a reaction-- be it a groan or a laugh. The foundation published these “best of” lists annually and people who could stand it were able to subscribe to their monthly newsletter, “The Pundit.”

Crosbie passed away in March of 1994 at the age of 73-- at the time of print we were not able to determine if it had to do with his pun lifestyle. Despite Crosbie’s passing and the objection of many, the pun lives on through organizations such as P.U.N.Y (Punsters United Nearly Yearly) and their support of the annual O’Henry Pun-off in Austin, Texas. P.U.N.Y is closely affiliated with the International Save the Pun Foundation. May 7th of 2016 marked the 39th year of the O’Henry Pun-off competition. Contestants compete in two categories:  “Punniest of Show” where each entrant has 90 seconds to recite a pun-filled routine for judges, and “Punslingers” where competitors go head to head in spontaneous pun battles, centered on a topic chosen by the competition staff. This year’s winners were Jerzy Gwiazdowski (Punniest of Show) and Benjamin Ziek (Punslingers).

If you’re looking for even more puns to garner reactions at dinner parties or family gatherings you can check out “Crosbie’s Dictionary of Puns."