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Interview: Jason Epstein

Category: News

Jason is originally from New York, but spent several years in Austin after graduating from college. He lives in Seattle now, where he works in IT, plays softball, and runs marathons, when not punning.

He’s done some stand-up comedy in the past, and always jumps at the chance to sing karaoke. He believes this helps him feel comfortable with a mic in his hand in front of an audience.


Brian: When did you first become interested in puns?

Jason: At some point during my childhood. My dad is a big-time punster and probably has one of the quickest wits of anyone I know.
I was a bit of a smart alek in grade school. I remember one time when I was in 4th or 5th grade, the teacher told us she wanted us to get our homework assignments in on time. She didn’t want them to be late and said to us “I’m not a good waiter.”
Of course, I blurted out “And you’re not a good waitress either!” To my surprise she actually laughed! (The normal reaction, at the time, was something along the lines of “Jason, one more outburst from you…”)

Brian: How did you first learn about the Pun Off?

Jason: One of this year’s Punniest of Show contestants, Joseph Poirier, was my manager at a company I worked for in 2000, and mentioned that they have this contest of puns every year. Being a huge office punster, I was immediately intrigued.

Brian: You were second last year, I believe. How many times have you competed in Punslingers?

Jason: Yes, I was. I think I played really well through all of my rounds last year, but Ben is really tough, and ultimately beat me in the final round.
This year was the fourth time I’ve competed in Punslingers. I competed last year as well and twice (2004 and 2005) back when I lived in Austin.

Brian: Were there any puns you wanted to include this year, but didn’t?

Jason: Yes, a couple:
“An interesting paradigm… is equivalent to 20 cents.”
“In Spanish class, I was mainly a ‘si’ student.”

Brian: How much time did you spend preparing for the competition?

Jason: I don’t specifically prepare for Punslingers – I’m pretty much punning all the time anyway. (OK, I try to throttle it a bit at work to save my coworkers’ sanity.)
For the Punniest of Show, I struggled to come up with a theme but couldn’t. Eventually, I decided to just munge together a bunch of one-liners that I had come up with over the past year and thought were pretty good. The crowd seemed entertained, but the judges didn’t seem that excited. That’s OK – I had fun and the audience enjoyed it.

Brian: Have does Punniest of Show compare to Punslingers?

Jason: I competed this year, as well as back in 2005 and last year (2010). I have fun with it, but Punslingers is really my strength.

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