James Joyce Beat Britney to the Dirty Pun

Many artists have snuck in 'If you see Kay' line
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Mar 19, 2009 2:41 PM CDT

(Newser) – Britney Spears' not-so-subtle pun in her single "If U Seek Amy" (say it fast) may seem devilishly naughty, but completely original it is not. Many musicians have used the similarly racy "If you see Kay" line—from blues pianist Memphis Slim to Norwegian punk band Turbonegro—which was coined by James Joyce in Ulysses nearly a century ago, Slate reports.

But William Shakespeare's naughty puns predate them all. Says Malvolio in Twelfth Night, "By my life this is my lady's hand. These be her very C's, her U's, and her T's and thus makes she her great P's." Unlike her predecessors, though, Spears doesn't bother to complete the pun, as her line makes zero sense in context: "All of the boys and all of the girls are begging to if you seek Amy."