Dad jokes are those one-liners and question-and-answer puns that fathers love to tell their children. They’re the kind of family-friendly, eye-rolling, corny jokes that make you laugh just a little bit too hard.
They’re often offensively lame and skewed enough that they evoke not just a reaction of laughter, but also groans of disapproval and disgust. In short, they’re cringe comedy at its finest — and, like other forms of cringe humor, it can be a powerful way to connect with kids in a meaningful and funny way.
It may seem tempting to dismiss these types of jokes as bad or simply dumb, but that would be a mistake. When looked at in the right light, dad jokes reveal a fascinating and complex phenomenon that sheds light not only on how and why we laugh, but also on our relationships with our children.
In fact, research shows that children who are exposed to a lot of dad jokes tend to be less self-conscious as adults. They develop a natural immunity to embarrassment and feel better about their own awkwardness, which can be a valuable life skill. So next time you’re with your kids and they ask, “What does a baby giraffe call its mother?” or “How do you keep a squirrel from climbing trees?” be sure to answer, “A squirrel calls it its mommy.” They’ll appreciate the sentiment. And you might just get a good laugh out of it, too! best dad jokes