When In Doubt, Pun




“I get no respect,” Rodney Dangerfield used to say. The same thing could be said of puns. People groan at puns. And they are generally considered wayward waifs in the world of humor. I think this is a gross injustice. So here is a minority report in their favor.

In a sense, God made the first pun. In Genesis, He created man “from the “dust of the ground”. And named him ‘Adam’ from the Hebrew word meaning ‘ground’. Jesus changed the Apostle Simon’s name to Peter because he was the rock on which He would build his church. ‘Petra’ is Greek for ‘rock’.

Shakespeare is replete with puns, most of which would drive Republican Evangelicals to tears. Pauline Keirnan in her eye-opening book “Filthy Shakespeare” sets the record straight: “It is quite amazing how little attention has been given to Shakespeare’s vulgar, lewd, downright filthy puns. His plays and poems are stuffed with the kind of double entendres and obscene wordplay that would make our most risque stand-up comics blush.” I’ll err on the side of good taste by not citing any.

This morning I thought of the pun when I visited the Tribune’s comic section. Three strips in a row featured a pun. Check them out.

I myself have always delighted in puns. Groans have never deterred me. Here’s one of my own. What do you call the CEO of a Bank Too Big To Fail who has a bridge hand without a heart? An empty suit with an empty suit.

Did I hear you groan?nullnull

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