Jacob Dodson took second place in Punniest of Show at the 2010 O. Henry Pun-Off by punning on Austin street names. He was also given the mmMVP Award, which is determined by vote of all the contestants.
Twenty-one year old Jacob has been living in Austin for eight years, and just graduated from UT with a degree in English. He’s looking for employment, should anyone need a punster who can write.
Brian: How did you first learn about the Pun-Off? Have you competed before?
Jacob: I first heard about the Pun-Off my senior year of high school, four years ago. Some friends and me were driving around downtown and saw a sign for it. It sounded like something that I could do well in, so I entered the next year in Punniest of Show, which I’ve done for the past four years. I’ve never made top three before. I don’t even think I’ve been in the top ten. The last two years I didn’t do well at all, so it was nice to do better this year.
Brian: What inspired the topic of Austin street names?
Jacob: I can’t recall exactly. I had been to a pun-off dinner and was trying to go asleep one night, but my mind was too busy making puns. I remember ‘South First’ popping into my head and knowing that I could make a dirty little joke off of it, and then I hopped out of bed, looked at a map of Austin and went with it.
Brian: Were there any puns you wanted to include, but didn’t?
Jacob: I don’t think so. I made a list of street names and then worked off of that and managed to get most of them in there. I wanted to pun on ‘Congress’ but couldn’t come up with anything; I think that’s the biggest street I left off.
Brian: How much time did you spend preparing for the competition?
Jacob: I wrote for about two hours one night and then didn’t work much on it for the next couple weeks. I was still on the waiting list, so I wasn’t assured a spot to get in, but I looked it over a couple times and then read it a lot to myself the day-of once I had gotten in.
Brian: How did you first become interested in puns?
Jacob: I first became interested in puns just through my sense of humor. As a moderately funny guy and a guy moderately skilled with the English language, the two fit together really nicely.