Puns

Vince Rozmiarek

Hold your groans! Wordplay can be inventive, poignant and, at its finest, a shared discovery.

photo of contest winners and judge at motorco music hall
Courtesy of Durham Magazine

You might find this PUN-believable, but there is an annual pun competition held in Durham each year. Contestants are matched up for one-on-one pun-offs until the final round, when the three top punners try to best each other to become the “Punster of the Year.”

George Gopen, professor emeritus of the practice of rhetoric at Duke University
Duke University

George Gopen thought it was a riot when he beat his college roommate in a pun contest.

"If you keep maltreating your girlfriend, she will send you a dijon letter that says poupon you."

While he loves to pun, Gopen does not take words lightly.

He has spent 45 years teaching literature, composition and rhetoric; the complexities and eloquence of the English language.

So when he heard President George W. Bush give a muddled speech in 2001, George Gopen felt compelled to write the White House.

Need we say more?
Memegenerator.net

Since ancient Greece, rhetoric has been a powerful form of speech used to persuade and impress an audience.

Today, the wittiest among us sometimes exchange the most chuckle-inducing form of rhetoric: the pun. That battle of wits is now a competition in the Triangle where 24 contestants will fight for the title of Pun Master of Durham. A champion will be crowned at Motorco in Durham on Monday at 7 p.m.