In Puerto Princesa the other day, while going over a wide range of dried fish to bring home, I recalled a joke which ran like this: Absentee bf: I am daing to see you. Furious gf: You might as well be dead. Rest in fish!
In Agusan, I noticed The Meating Place in a mall, where students converge to partake of hamburgers, beef and pork dishes. In the city of cobblers, they boast of their take on crispy chicken, “The Fried of Marikina.”
Pinoys are fond of puns, judging by the preponderant play of words on menus, names of shops, and simple promotional copies, such as “Sea you soon!” on the tarp of gas station Seaoil being built. Copyrighters think they can do no wrong.
Pun is supposed to be humorous - exploiting the various possible meanings of a word or the fact that there are words that sound alike but have different meanings. Academics say that pun is the lowest kind of humor.
But they cannot deny that jokes which are punong puno ng pun have been effective among Filipinos who, as a whole, straddle between those with the most fundamental appreciation and those with the full grasp of languages – their roots, idioms, nuances, and intricacies. The latter kind is expected to cringe over the use of words that sound alike but whose application is interchanged intentionally.
A pun is also known as paronomasia. And there are several types of puns like homophonic, homographic, and metonymic. But we will not dive into that because we want to have some pun. Masaya ang maging mababaw, kalabaw.
The Filipino comedian who has had relative success with puns is Joey de Leon who coined Eat Bulaga and Cheetah-e. He has stuck to that even when he had gone into writing his travel column for the Philippine Star.
On the other hand, I can still recall writer Angel Anden with his column of “andenisms” in the defunct Mod Magazine where his kind of pun expanded from the crisscrossing of meanings of words and went into the play of ideas evoked by phrases. “The secret of success is never kept” or “The best thing to give up is giving up” are typical andenism. They may not have sent us to roar with laughter, but they certainly caused us to smile.
Pinoys have the ability to create jokes even of the most tragic events in their lives, personal or national. In this milieu, puns are the preferred kind of jokes or communicative device. And because we pronounce words, English or Pilipino, in different ways, the possibilities of wielding puns are wide.
In Taglish, how do you describe a gorgeous girl with a nice butt? Ma-booty.
In Visayas” Lu-Botiful.
Am sure you have your own list of favorite puns. They are disastrous for stand-up comics and comedy skits, but they are good baon for family parties. That is why they are called, hopefully with affection, “daddy jokes.”