Each contestant in The Pun Offs presents a pun on stage in any format, visual, musical, or in the form of a stand up routine. The contestant is scored on a scale of 1 to 10 by the the judges which is added up for their final score. The score is determined by the general presentation, originality, and content. Notes may be used during the performance but can negatively affect the score. A second competition is held in which two competitors face off and are asked to come up with a pun from a topic drawn at random. The first contestant replies and the second contestant is given 5 seconds to reply with a pun on the same topic. The event has been held in Austin Texas every year since 1977.