Wednesday, May 4th: ‘The Pun Also Rises’

The Pun Also Rises
Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, South Court Auditorium (Fifth Ave. at 42nd St., Manhattan)

While the pun is often dismissed as the lowest form of wit and many punsters are commonly ostracized for their wordplay, such attitudes are relatively recent historical developments. In this provocative presentation, John Pollack – former Presidential Speechwriter, World Pun Champion and author of The Pun Also Rises – explains why such wordplay spans the globe, how it revolutionized language, played a pivotal role in the rise of modern civilization, and even today continues to fuel human creativity and progress.

Weaving together research from history, neurology, pop culture, literature, anthropology and humor, Pollack will answer some fundamental questions: just what is a pun, and how do our brains process such ambiguity? How did punning impact the development of human language, and how did that drive creativity and progress? Just who conspired to drive the pun’s reputation from the province of divine instruction into the ghetto of low humor, and how did they succeed? And why, despite its detractors, does the pun still matter, perhaps more than ever before?