Finding and using 'pure puns': Worked examples
I hope as you go through what I'm sharing here that you will really rocket as a gag-man / gag-woman. It's terrific when you know you can make up jokes, for whatever purpose. You could even find yourself in a comedy career. The sky is your oyster and the world is the limit... or am I mixing my Minotaurs?
Note: You'll need your dictionary
My definition of a near-pun is a word sounding like another word but spelt differently, for instance 'bough' of a tree and 'bow' before the Queen.
A 'pure pun' is a word with the same spelling but a different meaning., Again, the definition is my own. I distinguish between the two because 'pure puns' are incredibly easy to find.
I pick up my dictionary and look for strings of 'pure puns' vertically down the page. I'm going to illustrate this with an example. We're looking for words with 3 or more definitions. i.e. three or more words exactly the same, but printed bold in black to identify the different meanings.
I choose 'list'. There are five main meanings, each containing the root word plus some with extensions (suffixes / prefixes) These may provide us with a way into a gag or two.
In our case there are three of the entries which are 'archaic' or not in common use, Let's rule these out. i.e. 'List' 1, 3 and 5 removed (In my Chambers Dict they're numbered.)
Pull out any different meanings that spark something in your mind, including those with suffixes / prefixes. I get the following::
List 2: enlist, listed building - a protected historic building
List 4: listing - leaning over, listless - disinterested.
Explore the prospects from these words and concepts. We're looking for connections / links between them., plus words within words.
Combining 'Listed building' with 'leaning': Is there a historic building which is leaning? There certainly is... and it gives us our first joke:
Is the Tower of Pisa a listed building?'
Again, not a hysterical gag on it's own, but this is a numbers game.
'enlist' has two parts; it's almost a word within a word, by which I mean 'N' and 'list'.
This could mean a list of objects, activities, people beginning with the letter 'N'. Sticking with people., I'm going to aim for a 'Rule of three' (as shared in an earlier post) where the first two might be sensible but the third is in some way ridiculous.
Here's the gag that comes to my mind:
I've made an 'N' list of great leaders beginning with N. Here it is: Napoleon, Nelson and Noddy Holder.
For anyone who doesn't know, Noddy Holder was the lead singer / songwriter of 70's rock band 'Slade'. Obviously a great band leader, but not in any way as great on the world stage as the other two.
Inidentally, this style of joke can be extended to any letter of the alphabet. You could base an entire comedy performance on lists from A to Z. And why not? Don't worry about me doing it - I won't - and besides the sheer scope is enormous.
Next, and finally, 'Listless'. This is a great comedy word, because it has two words within the word., namely 'list' and 'less'.
When I hear the word 'list', I think of a shopping list. I also think how much harder it is to shop if you don't have a list. If I didn't have a list or had lost one, would I feel less like shopping? Would I feel listless and disinterested? I would.
This line of reasoning leads me to the following gag:
'You don't look at all keen on coming shopping..'
'No. You're right. I've lost the list... and I'm feeling listless.'
I know these jokes aren't outrageously funny. But bang on at it and funny jokes will appear on your page. Do bear in mind that a joke can be worthwhile just because it is relevant. The link to a current topic can make a gag funnier than it seems.
That's enough for today. I hope you have found this interesting and useful.