PART I: PUNTIFICATORS
Prepared Pun Puntificators will open the evening with Original punning on a topic of their choosing - Please keep it to 2 minutes maximum. This is a non-judged portion of the evening.
PART II: PUNSLINGERS
Punslingers will battle fellow punsters in rounds of freestyle punning on a given category following a full audience warm-up. Last person standing gets an official handmade trophy, in addition to bragging rights (if you can call 'em that...). For the glory!
First round: Round Robin in one category with 8 pre-registered Punslingers (3 spots are reserved for first-time slingers!). If there's room in the line-up the judge will call from a queue of “pinch hitters” to bring the total to 8. This group will be reduced to 6 and split into two groups of 3.
Second Round(s): Two groups of 3, each with their own category, will be further reduced to get our finalists.
Final Round: The final category is decided by the audience in a tip battle at the bar. The finalists battle it out until we have our winner!
Wait! What is a pun?!
The humorous use of a word or words in such a way as to suggest different meanings or applications
- OR - the use of words that have the same or nearly the same sound but different meanings.
RULE ONE: Each contestant will have five beats to deliver a pun on the topic. If you haven’t started to deliver by that time you will be out. You then have 30 seconds to deliver. Extra-long set-ups are not usually necessary to get to the pun. Going over the time gets you a Yellow card (see below).
RULE TWO: Yellow card, Red card
Many a fine sport involves the use of yellow cards (a warning) and red cards (player sent off) including fútbol, canoe polo, badminton, fencing, bandy, and now competitive punning.
First round - 1 Yellow card, then Red = you are out
Second round - 1 Yellow card, then Red = you are out
Final round - Sudden Death round, Red card = you are out
Unless time permits! Then we will keep 1 Yellow card in the final.
*Your cards reset every round.
HOW TO GET CARDED
- You deliver something that's wordplay but not a pun (you'll then have 5 beats to immediately try again. Best have one ready in your back pocket, slingers!)
- You pun on a word already used that round (5 beats to try again)
- You go off topic (5 beats to try again)
- You go over the 30 second time limit (you get carded but do not have to try again)
*A NOTE ON TOPICS/CATEGORIES: The judges reserve the right to further define or narrow the category during any round of play. If you push the boundaries of the category, be forewarned - push too far and you will make the judge add restrictions to the category. It’s okay to test the boundary - the first time will pass without a yellow card.
RULE THREE: The "Hillary" Rule
You must use the majority of the syllables in the word in the pun.
2 syllable word = use both
3 or more syllables = use the majority
It's HILLARYous when you use as many syllables as you can.
OFFICIAL SOMETIMES-ENFORCED (WHEN THE PUNNING IS JUST SO DAMN GOOD THAT THIS HAS TO BE HARDER OR ELSE WE WILL NEVER GO HOME) EXTRA-ADVANCED RULES:
- Made up names: Clearly you made up that proper noun in order to force the pun.
- The "Kenny Cloggins" Rule of Forced Rhymes: You can't get away with just substituting the first letter (or adding a letter to the beginning) of the word that you’re purporting to pun on (for example, the category is shoes and you say "My favorite musician is Kenny CLOGgins").
- The "Reese's" Rule: Watch the derivatives, acronyms and abbreviations. Examples - once "Reese's Pieces" has been used, other "Reese's” are out. Once "HR" has been used, "Human Resources" is out. Once "happy" has been used, "happiness" is out.
- The “Tebow” Rule: We will accept a thing (as fitting the category) for what it’s primarily known for. For example, if the category is “authors” we will not accept Tim Tebow. He may have written some books but is primarily known as a quarterback.
*Disclaimer: Judging puns is a very silly idea.
The yellow card in action
Sometimes the judges need to ban certain types of words in order to keep a category constrained. The first time goes without a card. But here, a contestant made the same offense just after the judge had set up a ban-an'-a yellow card was issued.