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Punny Headlines

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Can you top this?

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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    Daily Mirror 
  • 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".
  • A September 2018 article about the sex secrets of The Beatles received the headline "Beat the Meatles".
  • The headline for a January 2011 story about a jerk thieving his girlfriend's grandmother's cremated remains? Urn Stolen by Ash-Hole.

    The Sun 
  • 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.
    • Fifteen years later, the Sun titled its July 3, 2015 edition "Super Calais goes ballistic... Frenchies are atrocious" in response to the Eurotunnel crisis (first a strike by French truckers, and later an immigrant protest) that left many Britons stuck on the road.
  • 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".

    Other Newspapers 
  • 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 Leno was the host: "Mooning case reveals crack in law."
  • At North Dakota Fanning Hydrogen Flame.
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • Philippine broadsheet Manila Standard came up with this headline describing witnesses who pointed at former justice secretary and now-senator Leila de Lima as a major figure in the country's drug trade: "Witnesses finger Leila." Needless to say, many were not amused with it.

    Other references 
  • During the worst months of the Euro crisis, many German media outlets described Greece's frenzied search for the right Sparkurs ("austerity measures" in German) by punning it with finding the right Spartakus.
  • Johnny Vaughan's breakfast show on Capital in London featured "Coulda Pun Better", a weekday contest where listeners suggested 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 evidently suggested to a reporter that they use the headline 'French Fries', though this bit of snark was not literally his last words.
  • After Dan Savage attempted to re-define Rick Santorum's surname (Google it if you dare), some editors started using 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.
  • 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".
  • Extremely common in scientific articles. A single issue of Cellnote  included the following: "Antibiotics Take Radical Measures to Combat Bacteria"note , "Getting to the Bones of Osteoporosis", "Digging Dpr into Bacterial Transformation", "InterSepting DNA Damage and the Cytoskeleton", and "NF-kB Pathway Quenches the Inflammasome".
  • Occasionally highlighted on Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me, either by describing the content and having the panelist guess the headline or giving three ridiculous headlines as a multiple choice question for the panelist. Memorable real examples from segments of the latter variety include "Crack Found in Man's Buttocks" and "Big Rig Carrying Fruit Crashes on 210 Freeway, Creates Jam".

    In fiction 
  • 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 three 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 ever 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 (1998) episode "I See a Funny Cartoon in Your Future" used the SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE and IT'S RARE TO SEE A MEDIUM SO WELL DONE headlines. Only it applies to a crooked fortuneteller, 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.)
    • Similarly, anything involving the town of "Normal," or really any town name that doubles as an adjective. Once there was even "Normal man marries Boring woman" (Boring being a town in Oregon).
    • The Brookings (S.D.) Register has had at least one headline about a "White man" (White being a town in South Dakota).
  • Ugley and Nasty are two villages quite near each other in the Home Counties. There's an urban legend that the local paper was once able to announce "NASTY MAN MARRIES UGLEY WOMAN" but no-one's ever found a source.
  • The Simpsons: "Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish" had Montgomery Burns run for governor but be tripped up by the appearance of a three-eyed fish in Springfield waters, courtesy of from his nuclear power plant. He argued that the fish was a superior evolution, but then choked and spat it up when Lisa and Marge cooked one for him for dinner. A reporter present promptly called in the headline "Montgomery Burns Can't Swallow Own Story."
  • CSI: NY's episode "The Untouchable" features a troubled young woman who has quite a collection of pictures and articles on a wall in her home. One of the headlines actually does read "Headless Body Lost in Topless Bar."