James Clarke Masthead
July 9 2012 at 10:07

Readers as far east as Toowoomba in Queensland, Australia, and as far west as Montgomery Park have, over the years, been adding to Stoep Talk’s collection of puns.

Here’s one fresh from Fish Hoek. In fact, they don’t come fresher. It comes from Professor John  Earl, retired Wits geographer:

Higgs Boson walks into a church and the priest says: “Sorry, we don’t allow Higgs Bosons in here.”

The Higgs Boson replies: “But without me, how can you have mass?”

It is interesting – even fascinating – how most people’s reaction to puns is to groan. And the cleverer the pun, the louder the groan. I am sure a psychologist could explain this.

Threnody, my secretary who files everything under M for Miscellaneous, found that she had accumulated so many puns that she decided to sort them out by dumping them.

I managed to rescue some that have been doing the rounds on the internet in recent months:

Don’t join dangerous cults: practise safe sects.

A will is a dead giveaway.

A backward poet writes inverse.

A boiled egg is hard to beat.

A friend, Nigel Fox, who, despite his name is a member of the Rand Hunt Club, collects more groans than most. He confesses to being “a pun in the arse”. He sent these four:

Once you’ve seen one shopping centre you’ve seen a mall.

If you jump off a bridge in Paris you’re in Seine.

When she saw her first strands of gray hair, she thought she’d dye.

Did you hear about the cross-eyed teacher who lost her job because she couldn’t control her pupils?

Judging by the up-to-date jargon this one is fairly new:

No matter how much you push the envelope, it’ll still be stationery.

A reader, Gerard McCallum of Vereeniging, asks if I know how to |kill a circus troupe. “You go for the juggler.” (Groan.)

“And what do sea monsters eat? Fish and ships.”

Personally, I think puns about German sausage are the wurst. (Thank you, Claire Barnes, for that one.)

Another reader says he stayed up all night to see where the sun went. “Then it dawned on me.”

Marl Haken tells me: “A girl claimed she recognised me from the Vegetarian Club – but I’d never met herbivore.”

Years ago the Society of Editors in Victoria, Australia, published their favourites. Paul Schamberger of Parkhurst sent them to me. They included:

With her marriage she got a new name and a dress.

A lot of money is tainted. It taint yours and it taint mine.

Some other clever puns: 

I’m reading a book about anti-gravity. I just can’t put it down.

I didn’t like my beard at first. Then it grew on me.

England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool.

And some vintage ones:

Be kind to your dentist. He has fillings, too.

I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.


Prime Minister Mori of Japan received some basic English conversation training before visiting Washington to meet President Barack Obama.

The instructor told the prime minister: “When you shake hands with President Obama, say: ‘How are you?’

“He will then say: ‘I’m fine thank you.’ And you say: ‘Me, too.’

“Afterwards we translators will do the work for you.”

It seemed simple enough. But when Mori met Obama, he mistakenly said: “Who are you?”

Obama was taken aback but still managed to react with humour: “Well, I’m Michelle’s husband, ha-ha…”

Mori replied: “Me too, ha-ha.”

Then there was a long silence.

Contact Stoep: E-mail: jcl@onwe.co.za; Website: www.jamesclarke.co.za;

Blog: http://stoeptalk.wordpress.com


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