Operation: Yuck It Up!

by Victor Shill

Length of Program

One hour

Program Description

Invite the teens to the library to participate in a humor festival in which they compete by telling puns, shaggy dog tales, and jokes that make you groan. The audience will judge the tales and choose a first, second, and third place winner by general applause.


Advertise the “Yuck It Up” humor contest in advance and identify and display humor books that teens can use for selecting material for the contest. Place signs throughout the library and in the teen area. Select a teen or adult emcee for the event. Select fun prizes such as a fruitcake or a moonpie and RC cola for the winning contestants. Encourage teens who visit the library to sign-up as contestants. Consider having several humor contests over the summer. Encourage the teens to have a performance for the general community at the end of the summer program.


Create a display of humor books. Reproduce some jokes and riddles on poster boards for a display in the library.

Books to Display

  • 101 Spanish Riddles: Understanding Spanish Language and Culture Through Humor by Rafael Falcòn.
  • 3650 Jokes, Puns, & Riddles by Anne Kostick, Charles Foxgrover, and Michael J. Pellowksi.
  • Giggles, Gags & Groaners by Joseph Rosenbloom.
  • Jokes, Puns, and Riddles by David Allen Clark.

Books to Booktalk

  • Funny You Should Ask: How to Make Up Jokes and Riddles with Wordplay by Marvin Terban.
  • Greatest Jokes on Earth by Matt Rissinger and Philip Yates.
  • Ha! Ha! Ha!: 1,000+ Jokes, Riddles, Facts, and More by Lyn Thomas.
  • Ha! Ha! Ha!: Over 400 Very Funny Jokes by Tim Archbold, Mik Brown, and Tania Hurt-Newton.
  • Keep’em Laughing: Jokes to Amuse and Annoy Your Friends by Louis Phillips.


Here is an example of an announcement to publicize the event.

The _____ Library invites you to the First Annual Yuck It Up Festival. This festival of groaners, puns, and shaggy dog stories will feature contestants attempting to tell the worst groaner story. The audience will determine the winner by the most boos and Bronx cheers. The first place winner walks home with ___, the second place with ___, and third place with ___. Come have a laugh riot at the Yuck It Up Festival!


Invite teens to collect examples of “Tom Swifties” as well as compose their own examples, and to create a bulletin board display using the examples. Also, ask for teens to volunteer to sign-up to select a “Tom Swiftie” of the day for a rotating display. A “Tom Swiftie” is named for “Tom Swift”, a character created by Edward L. Stratemeyer (1862-1930), and creates its humor by using an adverb to establish a punning relationship between the speaker and the import of what the speaker is saying. For example, “ ‘I know who turned off the lights,’ Tom hinted darkly.”

Encourage teens to select funny riddles and jokes appropriate for younger children and plan and produce a funny joke event for youngsters at the library.




  • The Best of Saturday Night Live: Classic Years 1975-80. (93 minutes)
  • The Carol Burnett Show: A Reunion. (90 minutes)
  • Monty Python’s Flying Circus: Volume 13. (60 minutes)
  • Rosie O’Donnell’s Kids Are Punny. (30 minutes)

Web Sites



Puzzle Paradise “Tom Swifties”

Tom Swifties Page at Thinks.com


Texas Reading Club 2003 Programming Manual / Mission Possible Spy Book!

Published by the Library Development Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Page last modified: June 14, 2011