Dad jokes are, as the name suggests, a subset of humorous speech that is most commonly told by fathers. They are often inoffensive puns that rely on a child’s groaning response to establish their humor value. This is because groans are the low-hanging fruits of comedy; jokes that are easy to produce (e.g., a simple question and answer or a one-liner) have the potential to receive high humor-to-groan ratios and therefore a large amount of laughter.
The ubiquity of dad jokes reveals an interesting facet of human humour: that it can be generated not only by benign norm violations, but also by a desire to elicit groans. Moreover, the fact that these jokes are so egregiously bad may also make them funny. Indeed, a number of books and articles are dedicated solely to compiling examples of dad jokes.
It is worth noting that, in their humour directed towards their children, fathers are more likely to tease and embarrass them than mothers or childless men and women. This is a potentially useful pedagogical strategy, particularly for children who are about to enter or have already entered adolescence, a time when they are at particular risk of social embarrassment.
So next time your dad cracks a cringey pun, don’t let his eye-rolls and palpable irritation stop you from laughing. After all, you are partaking in a long and proud tradition. Besides, laughing has many health benefits, including: bad dad jokes