In America, though men have historically dominated politics, business and other avenues of power, they’ve long been a staple of cultural humor. From film to TV to today’s online memes, the hilarity of men failing has been pretty standard fare, especially as that power dynamic has become more exposed. Maybe it’s compensating; maybe it’s distraction. Maybe it’s just desserts. Whatever has driven it, it’s been pervasive.
The biggest mother lode (so to speak) of humor involving men through the years is their inability to do things women pull off seemingly without effort, such as cooking, crafts or, most of all, childcare. Hollywood has long had a fascination with men being put in the position of caretaker. It’s been at the core of films such as “Three Men and a Baby,” “Paper Moon” and “Mr. Mom,” to name a few. Television dads fared a little better in TV’s early days. Danny Thomas, Robert Young, Hugh Beaumont and others played straight-laced, loving, advice-dispensing dads everyone wished they had. But in more recent times, we’ve had Homer Simpson, Peter Griffin and Al Bundy setting the standard.
Yes, dad has often been the butt of the joke. Sometimes, he’s been the entire plot.
Then there’s this recent addition to our lexicon: the dad bod. Wikipedia describes it thusly: “Dad bod is a slang term in popular culture referring to a body shape particular to middle-aged men.” Urban dictionary is slightly less euphemistic: “a male body type that is best described as ‘softly round.’ ” Or, to put it disconcertingly specifically, as one female college student did in a 2015 Washington Post article, it’s “a nice balance between a beer gut and working out. The dad bod says, ‘I go to the gym occasionally, but I also drink heavily on the weekends and enjoy eating eight slices of pizza at a time.’ ”
However you phrase it, it doesn’t sound particularly complimentary, though we note there were several reports and surveys, published about the time the “dad bod” became a thing, that purported women — particularly young, attractive women — found the dad bod appealing. We do note, however, that such reports typically tied the phenomenon to Hollywood celebrities. Think Seth Rogan, Jason Segal or pre-“Guardians of the Galaxy” Chris Pratt. In those terms, it makes more sense.
In that spirit, and given that this weekend is given over to praising and honoring fathers, we’ve decided to explore another pop culture happening: the “dad joke.” We’re not sure how bad (some would say clever, but they’d be dads) puns got that moniker, but it does seem to fit. Men seem somehow more likely to appreciate the silly humor, while daughters, especially, seem instinctively prone to eye-rolling when they hear these gems.
So, for Father’s Day, we present 10 examples of dad jokes, culled from a variety of online resources. We’re pretty sure they are in the public domain. In any case, it’s almost certain no one would lay claim to them publicly. But if you’re looking for something to brighten dad’s day, you might throw one of these at him. Or let him tell you one of his own.
1) What did the octogenarian pirate say on his birthday? Aye matey!
2) I was reading a horror story in braille, but I had to put it down. I felt something bad was going to happen.
3) Last night, I had a dream that I was a muffler. I woke up exhausted.
4) I just found out my toaster isn’t waterproof. I was shocked.
5) My friend keeps saying “Cheer up man; it could be worse, you could be stuck underground in a hole full of water.” I know he means well.
6) Why couldn’t the bicycle stand up by itself? It was two tired.
7) Did you hear about the guy who invented the knock-knock joke? He won the no-bell prize.
8) What do you get when you cross an agnostic, a dyslexic and an insomniac? Someone who lies awake at night wondering if there is a dog.
9) There was a kidnapping at school today. But eventually he woke up.
10) When does a joke become a dad joke? When it becomes apparent.
In all seriousness, fathers, if they’re doing it right, don’t have an easy job. And many studies have pointed out the benefits of having a present and caring father. In any case, a little humor is a key ingredient in any father-child relationship.
Happy Father’s Day!