I could’ve put a pun in the title, but I’m dead serious.
Puns are the highest form of comedy. Let me qualify this statement: puns are highest form of training yourself in comedy.
I don’t claim that puns are the funniest form of comedy, but working on the art of formulating puns is the best way to train yourself in the art of comedy.
The act of thinking up puns and saying them out loud exhibits two essential elements of anyone training themselves in comedy:
- Surprising Perspective
This is creativity training. In essence, you’re taking two unrelated dots and connecting them. Most of us don’t connect those dots, and so, it surprises us. What is comedy if not a perspective (on something) that is surprising?
Let’s take a second, look at this practically.
Or actually, we should take a first look first.
But wait, there’s also that reaction you just had, that one that made you want to say: “OMG, that was so bad.” Let’s take a second to look at the second element.
It’s popular to think puns are stupid. When someone makes a pun, there’s this confusion between joy and shame that arises within the average person. Puns are supposed to be stupid, so you shouldn’t enjoy them, but you do, so you feel shameful. Then you try to shame the person who made the pun because they put you in this predicament. People who make puns are often met with this reaction of confused shame all the time.
That act of getting shamed, though, is gold. Comedy is not a kind world. If you’re ever going to get any good at it, you have to accept the fact that rejection is part of the process. You have to test material, and you have to be okay with people not finding it (or you) funny. If you associate your self-worth with whether people laugh or like your jokes, you won’t last long in comedy.
That is what making puns develops—a comfort with vulnerability.
Now, you thought this was gonna be a lot more light-hearted, didn’t you?
Too bad. Puns are serious.
Now go have pun.