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Limerick Contest Update


Blog Posted:5/22/2014 2:48:00 PM
I wanted to give an update on this contest as there are several limericks I will have to exclude from placement if they are not fixed. I also would like to give a quick tutorial on what a bawdy limerick is.

There are five limericks which are off the count by one syllable. Please do a syllable count and correct if necessary.

The count is 9,9,6,6,9. No exceptions.

One poem would be a proper limerick if the rhyme scheme were followed. In this one, the 4th and 5th lines rhyme. That is not correct. The correct rhyme scheme is AABBA, not AABBB. Please correct.

A bawdy limerick is not a dirty limerick. A dirty limerick is explicit. A bawdy limerick uses words with double meanings. Done to perfection, a bawdy limerick can be read without overtly offending anyone, although few reach that level. Part of what makes the bawdy limerick funny is "getting" the clever double entendres that a child wouldn't understand. If you remember the "Benny Hill Show", a lot of its humor was based on double meanings.

If you want the limerick to be really funny, it should also employ traditional humorous devices.

The most common device is what the Germans call Schadenfreude, happiness at the misfortune of others. It's the clown's pratfall, the church lady fart, etc.

Another device, a bit kinder, is incongruity. That's the surprise twist, the punchline that often makes a joke funny.

Another common device is manipulation of the language, using puns and tortured rhyme, or dialect.

The really funny limericks will use several humorous devices.

Here's a limerick I wrote for a St. Patrick's day contest. I have tweaked it a bit since then. I will deconstruct it, also.

Premature Exoneration

"It's a cuckold I am!", Mick sadly said
"I'm after finding black hairs in me bed!"
    "An' there's a relief!"
    Sighed Rusty O'Keefe
"I was shure ye were aboot ta say red!"

So the limerick employs Schadenfreude, as Mick laments his wife's cheating with a black haired man. Note that the word "hairs" was used, not "hair", hence code for pubic hair.

The turn comes when Rusty (nickname for someone with red hair) expresses relief that Mick didn't find his color hair. Then, in the punchline, he stupidly incriminates himself by expressing certainty that Mick was actually going to find his hair color, which means he was in Mick's bed also.

Finally, Schadenfreude reappears as Mick is now doubly cuckold, and Rusty has screwed himself too.

Also, the poem is written using Irish phraseology and words are changed to mimic the pronunciation. Perhaps unkind stereotyping, but it wouldn't be as funny otherwise.

Here's a bawdy limerick I wrote using double meanings:

The Well Traveled Linguist

A ventriloquist there was named Monique
Who could make all of her body parts speak
    Her right hand did British
    Her left handled Yiddish
Down below she preferred French and took Greek

Even the title is a double entendre, as "Well Traveled" is code for "been around the block".

It is pretty innocuous until the last line as there is no implication of sexual content until then. Then the double meanings of French (oral sex) and Greek (anal sex) kick in and it becomes quite naughty to those who know the code words. Actually, you could probably even use British and Yiddish if you wanted to stretch things, but I think they've been stretched enough.

Both limericks were based on jokes I read, but were not simply poetic reproductions. The idea is to discover what the essence of the joke is and use that in some way.

Here's the first one:

Sean says to Paddy and Mick, "My wife is sleeping with another man."
Paddy says, "Has he got ginger pubes?"
Mick says, "I most certainly do not!"

And the second:

Q: How does a woman scare a gynecologist?
A: By becoming a ventriloquist!

Actually, this one evolved quite a bit, as the first version of this limerick was very close to the joke:

There was a lady ventriloquist
With maybe an ovarian cyst
    At the time of diagnosis
    The doc had a thrombosis
When her genitals asked to be kissed

In any case, look at some jokes to get ideas.

Also, work on the meter. There are only a few of the poems submitted that have proper limerick meter.

Cheers, and have fun.






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  1. Date: 5/22/2014 10:19:00 PM
    Roy, I believe I understand about bawdy limericks and I really like your examples. But for me "dirty" means "bawdy" as well. There is "subtle dirty"(a more clever type of humor) and there is "too explicit dirty." I prefer the first kind, the way you are doing it. Yes, I saw a few of the limericks using wrong syllable or rhyme scheme in your contest. I tried to point it out to them. I hope some of them listened to me.

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  1. Date: 5/22/2014 8:12:00 PM
    Hey they seemed to have taken away the ABOUT the POEM ability so now you can't see MacCool's tool!

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    Jerden Avatar Roy Jerden Date: 5/23/2014 9:45:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    You're right! The old ones still seem to work, though. Wonder if it's a glitch...
  1. Date: 5/22/2014 8:10:00 PM
    wow those are too racy for me LOL I hope I counted right please let me know! L & L

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    Guzzi Avatar Debbie Guzzi Date: 5/23/2014 9:53:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    euphemisms are US LOL
    Jerden Avatar Roy Jerden Date: 5/23/2014 9:41:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    I'm never concerned about yours, Debbie. Hmmm... Too racy? I seem to remember one that I fav'ed about Pearl Diving....

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8/31/2014 Bad Goldilocks Abecedarianhumorous,
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7/22/2014 A Brush of Wings Versebird,
7/16/2014 Great A'Tuin Haibundeath,journey,stars,
7/13/2014 Blood on the Saddle Limerickfunny,vacation,
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5/26/2014 Albert Einstein Clerihewhumorous,science,
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