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Bawdy Limerick Contest Complete - Roy Jerden's Blog

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Bawdy Limerick Contest Complete

Blog Posted:6/7/2014 4:38:00 PM
The Bawdy Limerick results have been posted and are available on the Contest
Results page.

This blog is really more about how I judged them for placement and in particular
about how to make a limerick funny, whether bawdy or not.

Basically, all limericks not using the required syllable count or rhyme scheme were eliminated, no matter how good. There was one in particular that I really hated to eliminate, because it was funny, even if very politically incorrect. I'll honor it here.

There was a young man from Kentucky
Went into the pantry to find a cookie
A gay man from Dover
seeing him bending over
said I just can't believe I'm that lucky

After eliminations were done, all poems started out in first place and then were downgraded one place or more based on the following criteria:

Meter- must be perfect Anapestic or Amphibrachic. One place if not. Two places
if very choppy.
Rhyme - No slant or near rhyme. One place per instance. Tortured rhyme, however,
is OK - because it's funny. (Gibraltar/Malta - it actually will rhyme perfectly in certain accents, BTW.)
Grammar and spelling - one minor error permitted, otherwise perfect. One place per instance.
Bawdiness - At least mildy bawdy, otherwise one place.
Humor - Use of double entendres, punchline, clever puns, Schadenfreude and
the like. One place down if only mildly funny, two places if not funny at all.


I want to take this opportunity also to explain how to write a funny, bawdy limerick
the right way.

'The following limerick is of unknown origin:

The limerick packs laughs anatomical
Into space that is quite economical.
But the good ones I've seen
So seldom are clean
And the clean ones so seldom are comical.

Gershon Legman, who compiled the largest and most scholarly anthology, held
that the true limerick as a folk form is always obscene, and cites similar opinions
by Arnold Bennett and George Bernard Shaw, describing the clean limerick as a
"periodic fad and object of magazine contests, rarely rising above mediocrity."
From a folkloric point of view, the form is essentially transgressive; violation of
taboo is part of its function.' - Wikipedia


A limerick is rhythmic and short, only 5 lines, so you have to pack in the humor quickly.
It's like a short joke. Basically, the first two lines set up the premise and the last line
is the punchline. Lines three and four either clarify or turn the premise, setting up the punchline in line five.

Limericks are humorous, but it's low humor, so aim accordingly. I have written
limericks about math and literature and scientific subjects, but these are for
a limited audience.
Isaac Asimov, the science fiction writer was extremely intelligent,
but he loved  bawdy limericks, so they're not just for dummies or dirty minds.

While the language can be explicit in dirty limericks, I think they are funnier if
they are not explicit, but use double meanings to convey the bawdiness,
ideally something a child could read but not "get".

If you are going to use double meanings, it's important to stay in context
throughout the limerick.

Here's the top limerick, quite explicit, but very funny. I did not discount for
explicitness this time, but I will in the future.

While trimming the bush she was fearless
However, just once, she got careless
And while pruning her snatch
She removed the hole batch
Becoming a Mexican hairless.

This minor change sets up the premise and the punch line a bit better, I think.

While trimming the bush Flor was fearless
However, just once, she got careless
And while pruning her snatch
She removed the hole batch
Becoming a Mexican hairless.

Here's another example from the contest:

She watched, as he rose to attention
Her desire was to hot too mention
From pink lips passion flows
She reaches for his hose
A bit short, he needs an extension

This limerick has great potential for using double entendres,
"rose to attention is good" but does not maintain the context.
"Hose", as used, gives away the meaning, where it could have been
used in a double meaning as below.

Below, I have used the gardening words in double meanings.
Nothing is explicit.

The lady was too hot to mention
as the lawn boy rose to attention
She then took out his hose
to supply her pink rose
A bit short, he needs an extension

Another example below introduces a tool, but without context.
Then a bed is brought in, changing the context again.
It's kind of all given away. There's no suspense, hence
the punchline is not much of a surprise.

There once was a large man named MacCool
who was famed for his very fine tool
all the women they pled
to lay down in his bed
so he let them for he was no fool.

Just a minimum change would have made it
funnier a bit.

There once was a large man named MacCool
who was famed for his very fine tool
all the women they pled
to lay down in his bed
so he laid them for he was no fool.

Here the word laid is used in a double meaning.
BTW, there is a grammatical error, as "lay down"
should be "lie down" as an intransitive verb
is required, but I would not change it as doing
so messes up the double entendre.

Here's one based on the same premise and
using the same rhyme scheme, but which
maintains the context.

There once was a French chef named Raoul
who was famed for his very long boule
all the women they pled
to enjoy his french bread
a bit more than a foot, as a rule

A note was left in the last blog about MacCool's tool
so I looked at the image and it was an unusual drill, so
that inspired this reply.

There once was a president Bill
who used often a safe cracker drill.
With a noteworthy bend
and a knob on the end,
it liberated huge wads of bills.

I'm going to have another bawdy limerick contest
but next time I will allow some additional flexibility.

Cheers, and happy writing.
Please Login to post a comment
Date: 6/15/2014 10:53:00 AM
Thanks for my placement in your contest.
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Date: 6/9/2014 4:11:00 PM
Thanks Roy for my placement in the contest. I thoroughly enjoyed taking part. Hugs Jan xxx
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Date: 6/9/2014 12:51:00 PM
Thank you for this informative results:) not only did you praise and acknowledge those who won but you teach someone like me of how such one is made..:) I read your trails of limericks and really they are humorous... :) thanks thanks much and God bless you more
Login to Reply
Date: 6/8/2014 6:10:00 PM
Roy, you are the funniest guy on the Soup and I can see now that there is even a science to it .. Thank you for sponsoring this contest. It was a stretch for me but I rather enjoyed it! Congrats to all those who placed!
Login to Reply
Date: 6/8/2014 11:04:00 AM
Thanks to Roy and congratulations to all who took part.
Login to Reply
Date: 6/8/2014 9:28:00 AM
Thanks for the challenge, and thanks for the many laughs, Roy !
Login to Reply
Date: 6/8/2014 6:38:00 AM
Thanks Roy for hosting and congratulations to all the winners.
Login to Reply
Date: 6/7/2014 9:53:00 PM
What ever you say George you're the judge.
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Guzzi Avatar
Debbie Guzzi
Date: 6/8/2014 3:42:00 PM
There was a wood worker from Blackpool named McCool for his very fine tool Oh the gals how they pled to work wood in his bed that randy young workman from Blackpool
Jerden Avatar
Roy Jerden
Date: 6/7/2014 10:04:00 PM
I was thinking you were wanting to use the term "tool" in a double meaning, rather than a euphemism... Presumably not, based on your answer. If so, I had expected a term like artisan or carpenter, men who use tools. I didn't realize you were just doing straight ahead sex. Mea culpa.
Guzzi Avatar
Debbie Guzzi
Date: 6/7/2014 9:56:00 PM
though what you are talking about in regard to context I have no idea since a man's tool is widely know as just that?
Date: 6/7/2014 9:05:00 PM
/thanks for my win, Roy. I am REALLY going to enjoy that winner list!!! Nice blog on limericks.
Login to Reply
Date: 6/7/2014 8:09:00 PM
Thanks Roy for placing me in your contest ...Seren
Login to Reply
Date: 6/7/2014 5:15:00 PM
Many thanks for honouring my 'Highlander Jockey' Roy. It's been a while since I entered a contest, and it's lovely to have ones humble silly writes, liked. Chowa, James :)
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