Dissecting the Dad Joke
“I hear people are dying to get into that place,” my dad says with a smirk after we pass a cemetery with cracked headstones and fading epitaphs. I lean my head against the glass and roll my eyes out the window. In my head, I tell myself I’m hungry but know if I say the words aloud, I’ll get the usual “Hi hungry, I’m dad” or his simple version of “Oh, I’m Dad. Nice to meet you.”
These groan-inducing puns were not his only form of humor (thankfully) and were few and far between but they were always a simple and favorite way to tease.
One of America’s favorite oral traditions is the telling of the dad joke. On reddit, the r/dadjokes page has 1.7 million subscribers. Comedians and celebrities face-off in a Dad Joke challenge in this online video series which currently has over 1 million followers as well. The website Nice One Dad tells you dad jokes as you view the page. In Instagram bios, one can occasionally come across the “dad joke enthusiast” who proudly wears their love for puns like a badge of honor. One can even find dad jokes around the world. Like in Japan, where they have oyaji gyagu.
The simple anatomy of the dad joke:
“Puns are the lowest form of wit” has been quoted time and time again. However, our brain cooperatively uses both our left (linguistic) and right (creative) hemispheres to deliver a pun according to researchers. These play on words require quite a bit of thought.
Dad jokes are kid-friendly (unless you’re an adult talking to other adults.) Most of the time they are used to make their children annoyed and want to hide under a rock. The cleaner, the better and the more cheesier the joke will be.
Groans and eye-rolls.
If you’re groaning and eye-rolling after someone tells a pun-filled joke, have peace of mind that the bilateral processes of the brain are working hard to help to you understand it. This is the primary motivation for the deliverance of puns: the desire to gather as many groans and eye-rolls as possible.
Someone delivering a dad joke does not second-guess themselves. They do not second-guess themselves if you don’t laugh. They do not second-guess themselves if you groan. They say the pun with confidence and they take the response with an equal amount of confidence, without it ever wavering.
A dad joke can and will strike at any moment. There is no ability to prepare for it.
Everyone is a culprit
It’s 2019. Dad jokes are not limited to dads only. All types of people have picked up the art of punning. Trust no one.
Some of my own favorites:
When does a joke become a dad joke? When the punch line becomes apparent
What rhymes with orange? No it doesn’t.
A genie asked, “What’s your first wish?” Steve answered, “I wish I was rich.” And the genie said, “What’s your second wish, Rich.”
Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.
To the guy who invented the zero… Thanks for nothing.
I used to work in a shoe recycling shop. It was sole destroying.
Ok, I’ll stop the punishment.
If someone’s dad jokes are really bad and no one is laughing or groaning or eye-rolling or if it doesn’t seem they can stop themselves from making puns, it could be a sign of a condition called Witzelsucht. The symptoms of Witzelsucht are compulsive punning and socially inappropriate and offensive “jokes” and can be a sign of neurological problems like tumors, strokes, infections, and other lesions on the brain. Check on your dads and pay attention to how much they’re punning.
Have you survived a dad jokester? Tell us your favorite dad joke below in the comments.