Away With Words: An Irreverent Tour Through the World of Pun Competitions by Joe BerkowitzAway With Words: An Irreverent Tour Through the World of Pun Competitions by Joe Berkowitz

Away With Words: An Irreverent Tour Through the World of Pun Competitions

byJoe Berkowitz

Paperback | June 13, 2017

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Fast Company reporter Joe Berkowitz investigates the bizarre and hilarious world of pun competitions from the Punderdome 3000 in Brooklyn to the World competition in Austin.

When Joe Berkowitz witnessed his first Punderdome competition, it felt wrong in the best way. Something impossible seemed to be happening. The kinds of jokes we learn to repress through social conditioning were not only being aired out in public—they were being applauded. As it turned out, this monthly show was part of a subculture that’s been around in one form or another since at least the late ‘70s. Its pinnacle is the O. Henry Pun Off World Championship, an annual tournament in Austin, Texas. As someone who is terminally self-conscious, Joe was both awed and jealous of these people who confidently killed with the most maligned form of humor.

In this immersive ride into the subversive world of pun competitions, we meet punsters weird and wonderful and Berkowitz is our tour guide. Puns may show up in life in subtle ways sometimes, but once you start thinking in puns you discover they’re everywhere. Berkowitz’s search to discover who makes them the most, and why, leads him to the professional comedian competitors on @Midnight, a TV show with a pun competition built into it, the writing staff of Bob’s Burgers, the punniest show on TV, and even a humor research conference. With his new unlikely band of punster brothers, he finally heads to Austin to compete in the World Championship. Of course, in befriending these comic misfits he also ended up learning that when you embrace puns you become a more authentic version of yourself.

Joe Berkowitz is an editor and staff writer at Fast Company, covering entertainment and pop culture.
Title:Away With Words: An Irreverent Tour Through the World of Pun CompetitionsFormat:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 8 × 5.31 × 0.65 inPublished:June 13, 2017Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0062495607

ISBN - 13:9780062495600


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Perfect for any pun lover!! YES YES YES!! A thoroughly amusing book that is equal parts bad puns and good information. All the inside scoop on two pun competitions and it left me wanting to go watch (or participate??) in both. Warning: after reading you will try to pun on every word you see!
Date published: 2018-01-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from #plumreview Great for the "punny" person in your life.
Date published: 2017-11-27

Editorial Reviews

[Away with Words is] low wit in its highest form…Mr.Berkowitz is sensitive throughout to the evanescence and contingency of punning and to the fleeting chemistry of a live pun-on-pun matchup crackling with energy.