HE'S the Fife comic who works for a bank by day, is a punslinger by night - and loses no interest in either.

As one of the contenders in a UK gag-writing contest, Richard Pulsford is a master of wordplay. Yes, you could call him a pundit.

The father-of-three has been saving up his best material as he goes for gold against seven other stand-ups in the final of the annual UK Pun Championships in Leicester on Monday.

He has plenty of available credit with the judges, having reached the final in each of the four years of the comedy contest - and he insists balancing a career in banking with 100 stand-up gigs a year does not make life too taxing.

The Herald:

Pulsford will be hoping the balance will be tipped in his favour in 2017, after just missing out as the championship winner last year with gags like: "Life is like a box of chocolates. Made of leather and zipped around your head. Or so says Forrest Gimp."

And then there was: "When I was in Paris I saw this very large elephant taking a huge dump in the Champs-Élysées and all the Parisians gathered round and put a big yellow jersey on it. It apparently won that year's turd de France."

To reach the 2017 final, he invested some time depositing the five gags he needed to ensure he did audit he could to impress the Leicester Comedy Festival assessors.

His nemises in last year's contest Masai Graham, aka General Punochet, from West Bromwich is not in the finals and the Bruntisland comic reserves hopes that he could end up being the beneficiary.

Graham took last year's title with gags such as: I’ve got a joke about a fat badger, but I couldn’t fit it into my set."

The Herald:

He went on to win the coveted Funniest Jokes of the [Edinburgh] Fringe Award with: "“My dad has suggested that I register for a donor card. He’s a man after my own heart.”

While Graham is absent, Pulsford says he would not put his mortgage on whether he will win, reserving judgment till the big day comes.

"A friend in Fife has promised that if I won it she would get her washing machine plumbed in. She hasn't done it in three years. She says there is no way I would do it. That's how confident she is in me. And so I am rising to that challenge," he said.

But he admits it would be a bonus to finally cash in by taking the honours in the contest which also features Glasgow father-of-two Iain MacDonald.

For Pulsford, what started off as a hobby has paid dividends as he decided to branch out from his office job to the stage.

After funding his on stage experience with bouts of amateur dramatics in Edinburgh, he said he got hooked on stand-up with after his first gig at the Free Sisters in the Edinburgh Fringe 12 years ago. "I got on the bill, and there might have been 20 or 30 people there and remember being completely terrified. It went well enough to not put me off doing it," he said.

He spent 18 months away from audiences at one point to take stock before he got withdrawal symptoms and made a return.

"But the pun side of things came out of Leicester Comedy Festival, when they first accepted me into the competition and that just became more my shtick. Because I like writing short jokes," he said.

"I work in the financial sector as a business analyst and there is a connection I suppose, as there is an analytical aspect to writing jokes, getting the setup and the punchline to match. I work in a bank, yes, but I'd like the public to stay on my side."

The five gags that got him into the finals.

1. I got stuck in a traffic jam. The traffic report said the road workers had played 2 games of football, in dance costumes, on the gravel. And the sports report confirmed, it was tu-tu on aggregate.

2. I bought an Impressionist painting, but my cat scratched it. So I'm now selling it on, as a clawed Monet.

3. I told my friend I'm going to look for gold in the Yokohama River. He said, "Japan?". I said, "It's the best way of looking for gold!".

4. I saw a sports car being driven by a scantily-clad young sheep. Yes, in a lamb bikini.

5. I sent a food parcel to my first wife. Fed ex.