Outlaws with puns

Yesterday’s Bizarro:

This particular pun has been made many times, as you can see by searching on {“if puns are outlawed”}.

Among the sites this search pulls up is a “30 best pun business names ever” site, which notes that

Some people don’t like puns, and wish they would go away, but if puns are outlawed, only outlaws will have puns…

and provides these thirty business names (with photos), from all over:

Carl’s Pane in the Glass [glass co.]
Wok on Water [Chinese restaurant]
A Salt & Battery [fish and chips]
Juan in a Million [Mexican restaurant]
Eggs Eggsetera
Phở Shizzle [Viet Thai restaurant]
Sew What! [alterations and tailoring]
Hindenburger [flame broiled hamburgers]
Lan Lord’s [cyber cafe, computer gaming parlour]
Seldovia 1st Main St. Church of Cod
Bags Bunny [pocketbooks etc.]
Lettuce Eat Sandwich Bar
Marquis de Salade
The Sweet Dairy-Air
The Rapt Scallion [restaurant]
Book Passage
Florist Gump
Nin Com Soup
Cubic Hair
Cycloanalysts [bicycles]
Optimeyes [opticians]
Pita Pan
The Merchant of Tennis
Sure Lock Loans [w/ drawing of Holmes]
Faux Sure [decorative faux finishes]
i feel like crêpe
Sofa So Good
Frock Off [women’s clothes]
Lord of the Fries
Master Bait & Tackle

Some of these places blossom in punning. Here’s the sign for the Church of Cod in Seldovia, Alaska:


8 Responses to “Outlaws with puns”

  1. Chris Brockett (@chris_brockett) Says:

    Another in the same vein, in Bellevue, WA, and presumably elsewhere: What the Pho’

  2. Julian C. Lander Says:

    My favorite is “Hindenburger,” but I wonder what fraction of its customers get the reference.

  3. John Baker Says:

    When I studied bankruptcy law some years ago, it seemed to me that a disproportionately high percentage of the bankrupt companies had jokey names. That gave me something of a kneejerk reaction against punning and other nonserious business names ever since.

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      “Disproportionately high percentage” embodies a claim that is (in principle) empirically testable, though it’s not easy to see how. One wrinkle is that jokey business names are heavy in certain types of businesses (hair salons, for example) and light in others; another is that bankruptcies are frequent for certain types of businesses (restaurants, for example; there are lawyers who specialize in restaurant bankruptcies) and rarer for others.

      • John Baker Says:

        Well, this was impressionistic, so I’m not claiming that this is necessarily something I could defend empirically. Also, it was about 30 years ago. I don’t think any of the companies involved were hair salons (which tend not to have bankruptcies with interesting legal issues), and I think few if any were restaurants; if memory serves (it probably doesn’t), they tended to be retailers and manufacturers.
        In concept, it might be possible to do an analysis of whether business failure is correlated with the jokiness of the business name, adjusting for type of business. Jokiness is subjective, but I think there would be broad agreement on which names are intended to be jokes, and in principle it should be possible to get good data for business success or failure. That sounds like a lot of work, but maybe it would make for a good business school project.

  4. Bob Richmond Says:

    Google finds numerous Chinese restaurants named
    A Wok on the Wild Side

  5. arnold zwicky Says:

    The Outlaw snowclone — “If X are outlawed, only outlaws will have X” — appeared on Language Log in a compendium, here, and later here,

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