The Bawdy Limerick results have been posted and are available on the Contest
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 KentuckyWent into the pantry to find a cookieA gay man from Doverseeing him bending oversaid 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 anatomicalInto space that is quite economical.But the good ones I've seenSo seldom are cleanAnd 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 opinionsby 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.'
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 love
d 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 fearlessHowever, just once, she got carelessAnd while pruning her snatchShe removed the hole batchBecoming 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 fearlessHowever, just once, she got carelessAnd while pruning her snatchShe removed the hole batchBecoming a Mexican hairless.
Here's another example from the contest:She watched, as he rose to attentionHer desire was to hot too mentionFrom pink lips passion flowsShe reaches for his hoseA 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 mentionas the lawn boy rose to attentionShe then took out his hoseto supply her pink roseA 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 MacCoolwho was famed for his very fine toolall the women they pledto lay down in his bedso 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 MacCoolwho was famed for his very fine toolall the women they pledto lay down in his bedso 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 Raoulwho was famed for his very long bouleall the women they pledto enjoy his french breada 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 Billwho used often a safe cracker drill.With a noteworthy bendand 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.