No pun intended. We’ve all heard it said, usually after some cringe worthy one-liner. But here’s the thing, do people veer say it and really mean it? I mean, isn’t saying “oh, no pun intended” just calling attention to the pun itself? You’d really think that you’d want to avoid doing that, but doesn’t ever really seem to stop people from saying it.
And the thing is, the only reason people really ever say it is when they’re trying to cover their own asses. You’ll never hear the phrase so many times as when you’re with someone who thinks that they’re hilarious, but nobody else really does. It’s like it’s supposed to be a bandaid for the awkward silence when nobody laughs at your terrible joke, but for all you folks out there who are throwing “no pun intended” around? Yeah, this blogger’s caught on to you.
So, if you are a “no pun” kind of guy or gal, I’ve got a little advice for you. First and foremost, like I said, quit calling attention to yourself and your lame sense of humor. It sounds harsh, but it’s the truth that nobody else is telling you. Believe me, when you’re making an ass out of yourself, everybody else is uncomfortable too.
Secondly, it just doesn’t work like that. It’s like when people say “No offense, but…” and then they say something horrific like “all gays and Jews should be relocated to West Hollywood”. Um… yeah, that’s still offensive, even with the disclaimer. Consider “no pun intended” the same way. It offends me. It offends my comedic sensibility. So just cut it out!
Finally, I just plain don’t believe you. I’m not calling these folks liars, but honestly, puns are pretty intentional. Okay, sometimes they just work themselves into conversation. For example, when you’re at a funeral and somebody says “How’s school?” and you say “Ugh, there’s a lot of make-up work. It’ll be the death of me.” (True story, and easily the most mortifying experience of my life) But it’s usually cases like that, where you’re so horrified that you made the most inappropriate pun conceivable. When people use them for comedic effect, I’m not going to lie and say that I don’t laugh because I usually do. Hell, doesn’t everyone? I’m just saying, “no pun intended” is, like, the most deliberate phrase in the English language. Just own it and accept the fact that nobody laughed at your joke.
So for all you “no pun intender”ers out there, I hope you’ve learned a valuable lesson. And for those of you that don’t use the phrase? Please, do this lowly writer favor and don’t start. I assure you nothing good can come of it.