DC Improv hosts virtual ‘Pun DMV’ event

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews Pun DMV (Part 1)

Do you constantly crack puns? Do you get accused of making “dad jokes?”

Check out the virtual event “Pun DMV” at the DC Improv at 8 p.m. Friday.

“I noticed that other cities had pun competitions … so I thought D.C. is a city that seems absolutely right for this,” Director of Creative Marketing Chris White told WTOP.

“We have a lot of people who are very much into word play, very intellectual, and that’s exactly the audience you want when you’re looking for pun contestants.”

“We can’t use our showroom, so we’ve been doing it online,” White said. The event focuses on what he calls “freestyle” punning.

“Punsters sign up in advance. They write routines that are about three or four minutes long. They pick a topic … and then they pick a pun theme,” he said.

What are some examples of topics and themes?

“They might talk relationships or dating and all of their puns are with the same theme,” White said. “Maybe they decide to do fish puns or flower puns or animal puns. … It’s amazing to watch. You’ll be stunned how many puns people cram into three minutes.”

Will there be a spontaneous pun-off tournament like in the past?

“We’re going to try to figure out how to work that into our online event,” White said. “It takes a little extra time and a little more finesse. Sometimes things on Zoom are a little harder to arrange logistically, but if we can figure it out, we’re going to add that online.”

The virtual event is hosted by local comedian Dana Fleitman.

“The first time we did a pun event, Dana was a contestant,” White said. “I got an email from her saying, ‘If you’re ever interested, I would love to host these things.’ She’s a very funny standup comedian and an incredible punster.

“She’s great at interacting with the contestants, just putting a little cherry on top of whatever they serve up.”

The lineup of contestants is already set.

“We always need to have people lined up in advance,” White said. “We’re trying to bring in some new people, we’re also bringing back some of our experienced pun veterans, so it’s always a mix of new faces and old events for these kind of events.”

If you’d like to participate in a future event, shoot an email to chris@dcimprov.com.

“The notion for calling it ‘Pun DMV’ was mine,” White said. “So far, it’s worked out very well. We have not received a cease-and-desist letter from the great folks at Run DMC. It’s a pun contest, it needs to have a pun name, you need to have that to help sell it. It’s also happens to be one of the easiest logos to create. I’m pretty proud of that one.”

Tickets to watch the livestream are $5.

“People call [puns] the lowest form of humor, but I think they’re the greatest, silliest form,” White said. “There’s nothing dumber than a pun. When you turn on the news and it makes you depressed or anxious, there’s nothing more escapist than someone complaining about their girlfriend, boyfriend, husband or wife using fish puns.”

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews Pun DMV (Part 2)

Listen to our full conversation here.

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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