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Name Puns refer to a series of image macros with two or more panels in which the first panel presents a celebrity or character captioned with his or her name, followed by a panel containing a pun of the name, editing the image to reflect the joke.
The earliest known instance of a celebrity name pun image macro appeared on the art message board b3ta on September 8th, 2008. The first panel was a photoshopped image of American actress Reese Witherspoon holding a spoon. The second panel removed the spoon from her hand and was captioned “Reese Withoutaspoon.”
Similar practices of "situational photoshopping" has been previously observed as early as in 2003 with Something Awful's Photoshop Phriday contest Anagrammed Movie Posters, which involved anagramming a well-known movie title and then photoshopping the official poster to fit in with the altered context. This technique was once again iterated through Worth1000's One Letter Movie Posters contest in 2006. In non-sequitur humor, the celebrity photoshop meme Woll Smoth also takes a similar approach by shrinking the mouth of a celebrity in the shape of an "O" and replacing all vowels in the name with O's.
IIn September 2008, the Witherspoon macro began circulating on image sharing sites including Laugh It Out, Lowbirdand Demotivate.info. In 2009, a Kanye Interrupts themed image macro of Kanye West was passed around making a similar joke, using a mirror image of the rapper and changing his name to "Kanye East."
Derivations of these images did not gain notoriety until February 19th, 2012, when Redditor crawsome posted a version featuring Jafar from the 1992 Disney feature film Aladdin to the /r/funny subreddit. Prior to being archived, the post received over 3,100 up votes and 20 comments. The same day, Tumblr user i-am-oregonian reposted the image macro. By April 2012, the post had received more than 65,600 notes. The Jafar instance was reposted on several humor sites including LOLROFLMAO, FunnyJunkand College Humor. More instances can be found on Tumblr under the tags “celebrity pun” or “name puns.” Humor blog Slacktory regularly posts these image macros under the tag “Visual Puns.” Between September and December, collections of celebrity name pun image macros were featured on Smosh, Bored Panda, Pop Hangover and List25. In December 2012, the subreddit /r/NamePuns was created to be a hub site for these image macros. Additionally, the Twitter feed @CelebNamePuns launched that month, gaining nearly 3000 followers as of February 2013.
The idea hit mainstream print in March 2012 when the comic artist Max Garcia used the trope in his New York Daily News strip, Between the Lines.
Related: Visual Puns
Image macros of this type involve a visual pun in addition to the textual name change. This type of humor has been seen since as early as 1385, when the Batenburg gable stone was put in place in the Prince's Canal (Prinsengracht) in Amsterdam. The stone shows a castle overflowing with coins, a play on the words baten (to profit) and burg (castle) that combine to form the village's name. Online, photoshopped visual pun images could be found as early as 2005, when Worth1000 held a contest asking people to submit images that were plays on common phrases.
(Left to right: Palm Pilot, Dr. Pepper, Fruit Flies)
Many of these instances involve reverse captioning, where the content of the image is manipulated to fit the caption. Similar to Haters Gonna Hate or Seems Legit, Name Pun captions tend to come before the photo. Images of this type have been collected on Urlesque, Metafilter and The Atlantic, who noted that these puns allow viewers to more effectively analyze the image at hand.
 Know Your Meme – Image Macros
 CollegeHumor via Wayback Machine – Jafar, Jaclose
 Tumblr via Wayback Machine – My dad just sent me this
 Wikipedia – Aladdin (1992 Disney Film)
 LOLROFLMAO – Jaffar Jaclose
 Laugh It Out via Wayback Machine – Reese With/Without Spoon
 Wikipedia – Reese Witherspoon
 b3ta – Message 8722533
 Demotivate.info – Reese Witherspoon
 Tumblr – Search for "Celebrity Pun"
 Tumblr – Posts tagged "name puns"
 Facebook – Between the Lines by Max Garcia
 Ima Let You Finish via Wayback Machine – Kanye East
 Slacktory via Wayback Machine – Posts tagged "Visual Puns"
 Wikipedia – Visual Pun
 Wikipedia – Gable Stone
 Worth1000 – Visual Puns
 Urlesque – 18 Goofy and Hilarious Visual Puns
 Metafilter – Visual Puns
 The Atlantic – The Object Poster, the Visual Pun, and 3 Other Ideas That Changed Design
 Tumblr – Sunny Street
 Smosh – 22 MORE Funny Celebrity Name Puns
 Bored Panda – The 24 Best Celebrity Name Puns
 PopHangover via Wayback Machine – The Best of the Celebrity Name Puns!!!
 List25 – 25 Funniest Celebrity Name Puns
 Reddit – /r/NamePuns
 Twitter – @CelebNamePuns
Mar 11, 2012 at 01:52AM EST
Mar 11, 2012 at 12:22AM EST
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