“The thrill of the competition rekindled my love for one-liners” – Lovdev Barpaga


Credit: Lovdev Barpaga

“The big finale began when a member of the audience shouted ‘freestyle!’ I looked across at Julian and we were both stood with blank faces.”

These words were spoken by the official Pun Champion, Lovdev Barpaga, 39, when asked by the Leicestershire Press for his recollection of the defining moment that he said the pun to end all puns and would be crowned UK Pun Champion 2017.

Lovdev said: “That’s when I looked down at the cards collected in my hand and decided that it was all or nothing.”

The UK Pun Championship finals concluded on 14 February when Lovdev clashed with fellow finalist, Julian Lee, in an unplanned freestyle dash to claim the title.

“Lionel Richie has opened a butchers for the Asian community, he’s called it Halal, is it meat you’re looking for?

“As soon as I said that line I dropped the mic and waited nervously for the audience’s retaliation… there was no going back.”

Lovdev, an NHS Healthcare assistant and comedian for 10 years had been stringing pun-related material into his shows for around 6 years prior to deciding that 2017 was the year he would apply for the UK’s Pun Championship.

“I remember having to create over 50 subject related puns and going away to mind map how I would approach each one.

“The thrill of the competition rekindled my love for one-liners, it was always something I enjoyed including in my shows, but never really got to truly focus on.”

The UK Pun Championships were held as one of the hundreds of events that are happening this month as part of Leicester’s Comedy Festival and was hosted by celebrity comedian, Jason Byrne.

Lovdev said: “Jason was so versatile in how he handled the audience’s reactions and when he realised how proactive they were he wouldn’t stop getting them involved.

“It was so intense, nerve-wracking and truly thrilling to get to play a leading role in it all.”

Lovdev has discussed possible plans with the event’s organisers to make a return to hand over the crown to the 2018 UK Pun Champion and says that he won’t be reapplying next year.

“I would love to make a guest appearance and hand over the crown to the new champion, it would be great to have an exchange of puns with the winner to see how our material matches up.”

Lovdev will be hosting his latest gig ‘Silly Sausage’ at Manhattan 34 this Saturday at 6pm, and will also be performing at The SoundHouse on Sunday 26 February.

By Jason Cowlishaw

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