Punster Panel Passes on the Past


At its annual meeting on February 12, 2017, the Brush Square Museums Foundation board celebrated the 40th anniversary of the O. Henry Museum Pun-Off World Championship with a panel of pun-dits who reflected on their favorite memories. In addition, Michael Hoinski, O. Henry Museum Culture and Arts Education Coordinator, explained his challenges in choosing items and photos for the new museum exhibit "Once A-Pun A Time: Celebrating 40 Years of the Pun-Off."

The Panel
  • Bert Piboin has participated in the Pun-Off, especially the Punniest of Show (POS) for jeers, including the first one in 1977. He has also served proudly on the BSMF Board, only retiring this year, after successfully organizing the Pun-Off auction event for several years. He served as the panel moderator.

  • Gary Hallock has shown his stripes as producer and stage builder for 26 jeers. As “Producer Emeritus” Gary may spend less time hogging the microphone these days, but he insists this is merely another stage he’s going through.

  • David Gugenheim entered his first Pun-Off in 1983. After winning six metals, and a plastic first place PunSlinger trophy, David made the leap to emcee crew in 2007, winning POTY in 2015, and serving as Pun-Off Producer in 2016.

  • Steve Brooks. Cross two famous guys named Brooks – Garth and Mel – and you get Austin folksinger/song writer and six-time Pun-Off champion Steve Brooks. He is an emcee and PunSlinger arbiter and 2010 POTY winner.

  • Brian Oakley retired from competition in 2006 after winning his last three “High Lies & Low Puns” efforts (‘02, ‘03, ‘05) and the MVP for Punniest of Show in ‘04. His proudest accomplishments are rechristening HL & LP as “Punslingers” and leading the Pun-Off Topics committee.

  • Joel McColl is famous for his 20-year run as Pun-Off co-producer, stage emcee, and POS judge, having retired in 2008. He was awarded the 2006 International Punster of the Year (POTY).

A Slide Show of the Panel
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