O. Henry Pun-Off: 2014

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May 10th was a sunny, not-too-hot day for this year’s O. Henry Pun-Off. Several hundred folks gathered in the backyard of Austin’s O. Henry Museum on East 5th Street to watch this almost-annual event. Since you might be wondering, I’ll explain why I didn’t write up this blog entry earlier in just a minute.

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Local band Greatest American Heroes entertained the crowd for the first hour. They bill themselves as “Austin’s Favorite TV Theme Song Band,” and bring back memories of mostly-good songs from mostly-bad TV shows. After the band ended their set, organizer Gary Hallock welcomed everyone, explained the rules, and introduced the judges. He said that he has been producing this event for 24 years.

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Next was the Punniest of Show competition. Contestants had two minutes to deliver a prepared routine which was then rated by the judges. Some contestants had memorized their scripts while others read theirs from hand-written notes, phones, or tablets. Some punners had better stage presence than others. My favorite was local guy who had a complicated routine with lots of Austin references, but since most of the judges were not from around here, his scores weren’t too high.

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Regrettably, Bill and I could only stay for two hours, so we just watched half of the 32 Punniest of Show contestants. We didn’t see this competition’s winner (Alex Petri), and we missed the later PunSlingers competition entirely (Matt Pollock won).

But here’s the good news, and why I decided to post this entry after all: CBS had sent a camera crew to the event, and last weekend CBS Sunday Morning aired a segment called Once A Pun A Time and posted another video showing two Pun-Off contestants. Take a look—these are both very punny:

Once A Pun A Time – http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/once-a-pun-a-time/

Wordplay at the O Henry Pun-Off  – http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/wordplay-at-the-o-henry-pun-off-world-championships/

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