“Evening, what y’all drinking?” asked the bartender.
“I’ll have a pint of ale,” said the pun.
“A beer,” said the joke.
“A vodka martini, shaken, not stirred,” said the word-play.
“Bourbon, please,” said the satirical story.
They debated who was the funniest amongst them.
The pun declared, “I am the funniest one here. My comedy is by far the punniest.”
The joke spoke next. “I’m the funniest. I can be short or long, complex or simple. I am flexible, that’s what makes me the funniest.”
The word-play stepped forward, gesticulating in a dramatic fashion, he extended an arm up and pointed at the joke, “you!” he exclaimed, “are not funny at all. I am a critically-acclaimed thespian!” The word-play’s voice went up an octave with each sentence; “I have trodden the boards at the Globe! Last week I was playing Lear for the RSC! I once got propositioned by Kevin Spacey! Now I find myself in the company of imbeciles! How dare you sa…”
The deep, husky voice of the satirical voice interrupted, “right, first of all, I like your style, some consider the use of puns as lazy, but you carry on, and don’t you stop.”
The satirical story puffed on a cigarette and nodded to the bartender.
The others were dumbstruck, the bartender poured the satirical story more bourbon.
The satirical story turned to the joke, “flexibility should never equate to prowess. No one likes a walkover.”
The satirical story then turned to the word-play, “you claim that success is measured by who or what someone knows, not the strength of their character.”
The satirical story then put his cigarette out in the ashtray and walked out.
The pun, joke and word-play all stood there aghast. None of them could believe how the satirical story always got away with such behaviour. They could not fathom how ridicule, irony and exaggeration were used to criticize the stupidity and immoralities of others. And not for personal gain, but for social change.
It was now closing time at the bar.
Originally published in MuddyUm, 2nd November 2019.