A Half-Pun is Not a Joke

2021 September 17
by mockers

Back when he was alive, my father suffered from genuine hearing loss. We would often say something to him, and he could only pick up a few syllables. His poor brain tried to fill in the rest. He would then repeat back to us what he thought he might have heard. For example, after my family hurriedly prepared and consumed a meal on a busy weeknight, we neglected to do the dishes while we cooked (which is a big part of properly cooking and the subject of a future mockable). In short, the kitchen was trashed. At some point toward the end of the meal, my sister looked up from her plate and surveyed the damage.

“Look at the kitchen!” She exclaimed.

My dad shot her a puzzled look, tilted his head like a border collie at a whistling contest, and repeated, “Mookah mah heekah?!”

For some reason, the absurdity of the idea that my sister might suddenly proclaim something so strange during a family meal struck us as funny. So funny, in fact, that I am telling you about it over 30 years later and 13 years after the man’s death. I don’t expect it to be funny to you. There was just something about the timing, the moment, and the level of absurdity that made it hilarious. My point here is that ANYTHING can be funny.

By contrast, please consider this entirely fake scenario intended to illustrate a type of “joke” that people tell that is almost NEVER funny:

One day I came home from work after busting my ass for twelve hours straight without any sort of break. I was sore, tired, and ready to be unconscious. I gaze into my wife’s beautiful eyes, and with a weary sigh, I proclaim, “Wow. I hard a really hard day.”

In response, she cups her hand to her ear and says, “WHAT?! YOU WENT SWIMMING IN FART BAY?! DID YOU VISIT TURD ISLAND OR SOMETHING?! HAHAHAHAHA!”

Now, my wife is an amazing human, and would never tell such a “joke” in real life. For the sake of the example, let’s unpack this “humor”.

First, she is pretending to be deaf. She is not deaf. Many people think that this effort meets the definition of a joke. It does not. Lying does not qualify as a joke in any way. Have you ever heard someone say something that is ridiculously incorrect and unreasonable, only to be called on their bullshit? Then then realize what they have said is stupid, so they try to save themselves the embarrassment by saying, “Just kidding…that was a joke”? Yeah…that’s a lie. It’s not a joke.

Second, farts and poop are inherently funny, but just saying the word fart or turd is just lazy. Seinfeld’s career would have been decidedly shorter if his act consisted of getting up on stage, lying, and then just saying the word fart over and over.

The closest thing to a technical term that I can think of to explain this brand of “humor” is the half-pun. By definition, a pun is a joke that exploits the different possible meanings of a word. For example, this is a pun that was submitted to Facebook by my friend Erika:

Now, this pun is so horrible that it throws me into a fit of cringe-rage and makes me never want to speak to Erika again…but it is, most certainly, a joke.

In contrast, here is a half-pun “joke”:

I do not wish to debate whether or not the duly elected president of the united States is a piece of shit. No good could come of such an exercise and I don’t care about your politics. I will, however, point out how this “joke” could only be funny to the hackiest losers known to man.

  1. Get it? People who grew up speaking some language other than English say English words with an accent! I am too stupid to learn to speak another language. I won’t even try. I can, however, make myself feel a tiny bit better by making fun of other people who are doing their best to communicate. My pathetic defenses are hilarious!
  2. Roughly half of the voting public believes that President Biden is not a good president. Instant relatability! Goddamn, you’re lazy. I know, put the man in a sombrero and draw a fake mustache on him. The stereotypes will have them rolling in the aisles! Comedy genius!
  3. Folks walk around calling others a pizza sheet all the time! I have taken a common everyday saying like pizza sheet, pretended like someone with an accent is saying it, and secretly called a political figure a piece of shit! How terribly witty am I? The fellas down at the rally shall surely enjoy a thunderous guffaw upon deciphering my hilarious secret message!

Yes, “pizza” might sort of sound like “piece of” when said by someone with an accent. “Sheet” kind of sounds like ”shit” if one imagines really hard. None of this is a joke. I once had the job title of “pizza chef”. This is an oxymoron and a silly title – but despite being around pizza for 60 hours a week, I never once said pizza sheet. This is not a common saying in any language that I know of . Your “joke” is not a pun. You are a terrible, insecure human for even making the attempt.

Therefore, I do hereby declare the “half-pun smack” a thing. When you are out in the world, simply trying to live your life, and someone breaks out a “half-pun” joke, yell out the phrase, “half-pun!” and smack them in the reproductive organs. Tell them metten sent you. And if you happen to see Erika, feel free to smack her for that Momoa joke, just for good measure.

One Response leave one →
  1. 2021 September 19
    Tstorm permalink

    Ummmm in northeast ohio it’s sheet pizza. So your half pun is a quarter pun at best. Maybe you are a pizza sheet for putting the comment link at the top of the post. What? Imma comment before i read your nonsense? Go Chiefs.

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