Dad jokes are a unique and beloved genre of humor. They’re the sort of puns and play-on-words that only fathers can pull off, usually with a touch of cheesiness. Pick any American sitcom, and you’ll see them in abundance. They might not be funny to everyone, but kids love them! And it turns out that there’s a reason for that. In fact, one expert says that these dad-centric puns may actually be good for children.
The defining feature of a dad joke is its complete lack of subtlety, often relying on excruciatingly bad, overly-obvious, and trite puns. This lack of subtlety, however, is exactly what makes it so funny to kids.
It’s also what makes dad jokes so controversial. Normally, when someone shifts into a humorous mode of discourse, they do so because they have something genuinely funny to say. Dad jokes flagrantly break this rule by following their shift with a blatantly lame pun.
So while it might be tempting to dismiss dad jokes as just bad jokes, it’s important not to do so. These jokes are actually a fascinating study in how we communicate and develop our sense of humor, and they reveal much about how parents and their children interact. And if we can all stop rolling our eyes and groaning when these jokes are told, perhaps we might even learn to appreciate them.