What makes a pun funny?
We’ve all heard bad puns. There’s no denying, some puns make you groan. In fact, many of the puns on this website probably have the same effect.
However, for some of us nothing tickles our sense of humor more than a well-timed, clever pun.
What’s the difference?
I consider the following factors to be important to determine the quality of a pun.
We’ve all heard puns which do not extend to multiple levels of creativity. For instance, someone says “I hurt my nose”, and someone else says “wow, that really stinks“, and they put a heavy emphasis on the word stinks.
Of course I appreciate the effort for this pun, but it certainly doesn’t win any pun competitions.
However, great puns are spontaneous and combine two or more different concepts into one.
Similar to the previous point about how to make funny puns, your puns have to be relevant to the situation. I’ve heard a lot of times where people are like, “want to hear a pun?” and of course that is the worst way to tell a pun.
If you want an example of puns that are not relevant to any given situation, grab yourself a Laffy Taffy and read those jokes. Many of them are puns, but they of course require setting up the relevance which isn’t as effective as when the relevance is circumstantial.
Some puns make me groan because I’ve heard them 100 times. To the contrary, when people tell me a pun that is original, and especially when it was made up on the spot, it has a much different result.
Coming up with original puns takes practice, it’s more learning to associate words with other words than learning comedy or joke skills.
On this website you’ll notice a mixture of the two. Many of our puns are originals, and others came to mind because we’d heard them before. Often I hear that the originals are the ones people like the best.