On Wednesday, we went to something amazing: Pundamonium’s Seattle pun slam, a competition in which folks from around Puget Sound gather to pun-tificate on the cleverest turns of phrase. The showdown, which usually features up to 10 contestants, goes down every other week at Peddler Brewing Company in Ballard and packs the house.
How did this pun-derful competition come to be? Forest I.E. Ember launched Seattle’s Pundamonium, which has five other branches in Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Chicago, Madison, and Minneapolis, in January 2015. It got its start as a monthly pun-off at the Skylark café club in West Seattle, but because the punslam was so popular, she eventually moved the competition to Peddler Brewing and started hosting the showdown every other week. Know how much Forest loves this event? She drives over from Olympia to make sure it happens.
Now let’s hear from the slam’s winner, Ian Mitnick…
Was Wednesday your first time participating in Pundamonium?
Yes. It was a great experience [and] I was blown away by the crowd turnout. It was a lot of fun.
How did you get so into puns and how do you get inspired to make new ones?
I’ve always thought that a sense of humor was my sixth sense. I think I’ve been telling “dad jokes” since I was a little kid, so having a “pun slam” was right up my alley. The categories at Pundamonium were challenging, but also really made me think creatively to try to create clever word plays in categories I had never thought about before.
What’s the best pun you’ve ever delivered, whether it was planned or spontaneous?
I think spontaneous puns are the best. I don’t know if this is the best one I’ve ever delivered, but one of my favorites from [Wednesday] was probably when talking about tools: “What did the bolt put on his salad? Wrench Dressing.”
There was a pretty big crowd at the slam on Wednesday. Does thinking fast on your feet get easier over time?
Yeah, luckily last night the crowd was very forgiving for some of the puns that didn’t land and their laughter at some of the good ones was definitely invigorating. Feeding off of their laughter definitely made it easier as the show went on.