Can you do any better?
Newspapers love puns in their headlines, especially if they are of the tabloid variety.
Ubiquitous, really — any edition will include at least one pun that is worth a Collective Groan
or Lame Pun Reaction
. Bonus points if it's about sex
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- Newcastle getting relegated on 24 May 2009, led to the following day: "Toon and out" (front page) and "Sob on the Tyne" (back page)
New York Post
In New York City
and beyond, the Post
is famous for running punny headlines on every issue they possibly can. There's even a section of their website
where one can browse through every Post
cover — and only
the covers — going back all the way to 2002. They've also published a book
filled with their most famous headlines.
- A man goes into a strip club and chops off the head of the owner. The headline? "Headless Body in Topless Bar". It's one of the most famous headlines in the recent history of American journalism.
- In December 2007, noted musician and ex-husband Ike Turner was found dead, leading to the headline "Ike 'Beats' Tina To Death". Some readers were amused. Many weren't.
- One of the Post's best (and perhaps most erudite) punny headlines was for New York state bailing out NYC's cash-strapped transit system: "Sick Transit's Glorious Monday".
- President Obama calls on Rep. Anthony Weiner (of New York City) to resign. The headline? "Obama beats Weiner."
- There was also "Weiner: I'm sticking it out" (when he first said he wasn't going to run for re-election, but wouldn't resign immediately).
- A July 2013 article on kosher lube got headlined "The Oy of Sex".
- February 2000- Semi-professional team Inverness Caledonian Thistle beat pillars of Scottish football Celtic 3-1 in a major upset which leads to John Barnes leaving as manager. The headline: "Super Caley Go Ballistic, Celtic Are Atrocious"
- A headline of such merit that it was reported as far away as San Francisco, just on the strength of the pun.
- July 2009- Katie Price states that her estranged husband Peter Andre is small in a certain area on a certain social networking site: "The Twitter batter of tiny Pete".
- Prince Harry (known to the Army by his family name as "Captain Wales") returns to active duty in Helmand Province: "Wales Is In Afghanistan"
The Washington Post
- May 2007: Tightrope walkers race across river near Seoul: Skywalkers in Korea Cross Han Solo.
- A story about the people who work at a local shopping center after closing time during the holidays was headlined, "A Mall and the Night Visitors".
- The local Northern Territory news is locally famous for this. Most memorable one was "Trouser Snake on Plane" (about a man, who was jacking off on a plane)
- A broadsheet servicing Malay speaking Malaysia and Singapore had this to say about Al Gore's election loss in 2000- "Al Goreng," or "Al fried."
- Appearing on The Tonight Show when Jay was the host: "Mooning case reveals crack in law."
- At Wired.com: North Dakota Fanning Hydrogen Flame.
- Alleged headline cited in a Bash Org quote: "Bush and Kerry Hit Road, Trade Blows on Jobs"
- An example from the Sixties in The Los Angeles Times: When a very catchable pop fly fell for a base hit because of the confusion of Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Bobby Wine and second baseman Cookie Rojas, the headline read: "The Daze of Wine and Rojas."
- From the short-lived tabloid The Philadelphia Journal on a story about a North Philadelphia bar fight in which the combatants fired six times, and one died: "Six Shots and a Bier."
- Slate.com had an Explainer article discussing whether kids were harmed more by viewing sex or violence. The headline: Bush v. Gore
- A few British examples (some apocryphal) can be found here.
- The Amherst Bulletin of Amherst, Massachusetts once had "Dispute Over Liquor License Causing Ferment."
- Every other headline on the front page of the Huffington Post will have one. For instance, when the Ravens won the Super Bowl, HP's front page headline was "Nevermore!"
- Republicans turned off by size of Obama's package.
- Johnny Vaughan's breakfast show on Capital Radio in London features "Coulda Pun Better", a weekday contest where listeners suggest better punny headlines for an offbeat news story.
- The Daily Show and The Colbert Report commonly use this trope to introduce their segments.
- When murderer James French was set to be executed by electric chair, he supposedly said "How's this for a headline? 'French Fries'".
- After Dan Savage attempted to re-define Rick Santorum's surname (Google it if you dare), some editors started Getting Crap Past the Radar with headlines like "Santorum Surges From Behind in Iowa".
- DVICE reporting on why Uranus orbits on its side: Uranus takes a pounding more frequently than thought.
- Fark.com encourages users to create punny headlines for news links, holding a vote in December for best headlines of the year. The winner one year was for a story about a gasoline tanker exploding on an interstate off-ramp (I-69), causing traffic to be stopped. The headline read, "Gas blowing out exit brings 69 to a complete halt".
- An old joke/urban legend: An inmate breaks out of an insane asylum and has sex with a passing woman. The next day, the news headline read: NUT BOLTS AND SCREWS.
- In an alternate version, a criminal breaks into a wash house and rapes the women before fleeing: NUT SCREWS WASHERS AND BOLTS.
- And then there's the one about the escaped dwarf psychic: SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE.
- And then there's the one about a man named Arty killing 3 guys over a $1 debt: ARTY CHOKES 3 FOR $1.
- One about a psychic that compliments his heroic actions: IT'S RARE TO SEE A MEDIUM SO WELL DONE.
- A shining example from Three Panel Soul, on the star of the new TRON movie being intelligent: New Tron Star Not Dense.
- "Misleading headlines" are a recurring theme on Frank And Ernest; one example.
- In their book of the series, David Mitchell and Robert Webb imagined editors of newspapers coming up with a stock of punning headlines in case of certain unlikely events happening. For example 'The Hens Justify The Means' in case chickens were every used to teach the law of averages.
- A few of these show up in The Truth, and a few later Discworld books that mention the Ankh-Morpork Times.
- When a cart carrying eggs, a cart carrying milk, and a cart carrying flour crash into each other, Sacharissa writes the headline CITY'S BIGGEST CAKE MIX-UP.
- The Powerpuff Girls episode "I See A Funny Cartoon In Your Future" use the SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE and IT'S RARE TO SEE A MEDIUM SO WELL DONE headlines. Only it applies to a crooked fortune teller, a small woman named Madame Argentina who uses her talent to scam wealthy people out of their money. The second headline comes after the girls capture her in a lit barbecue grill.
- BIG UGLY WOMAN KILLED (Big Ugly is a town in West Virginia.)