Dad jokes are those classic one-liners, puns, and knock-knock jokes that make adults and kids laugh out loud. They are so silly and cheesy that they are funny because of their absurdity and unfunniness. But it’s not just the fact that they are bad that makes them fun to tell, but also how they make people feel about them.
Dad jokes generate groans, eye-rolls, and feelings of disgust or embarrassment in their target audience, but it is not the audience that the joke actually targets. Instead, it is the teller of the joke who feels most amused by its utter cheesiness. In this way, dad jokes are a subspecies of “cringe comedy.”
Unlike the conventional jokes that we use to convey humour, a dad joke flagrantly violates linguistic norms. Its tame, offensively lame pun is a direct attack on a normal convention of speech that, in itself, renders it funny (Luu, 2019).
Dad jokes have a long history in our cultural consciousness, and it is no coincidence that fathers are more prone to telling them than other types of jokers. Although it may seem tempting to dismiss dad jokes as bad, cheesy, and unnecessary, they reveal a lot about the psychology of humour and joke-telling, and they can teach us about the important role that fathers play in their children’s development. How do we know when a regular joke has leveled up to become a dad joke? The answer: when its punch line becomes a parent! best dad jokes