Truth be told I am a serial committer of Dad Jokes. I fire these jokes off around the kids multiple times a week. Mostly, I forget them soon after. Two recent ones haven’t yet vacates my increasingly tenuous memory and I’ll share them with you now.
The first came while the boy was studying for a Spanish test. Kelly was heading out the door, and she reminded the boy to spend the next hour studying. “I’m going to quiz you when I get back,” she said.
I turned to him and said, “You know what that type of quiz is called, don’t you?”
“What?” the boy asked.
“A Spanish inquisition,” I said. I then immediately burst into laughter.
Another Dad joke came when our youngest daughter put on a leotard. Our older daughter was heading out for a gymnastics showcase and her younger sister wanted to be like her, so she put on her leotard. She then went about constructing some elaborate engineering contraption out the many toys scattered about the living room.
“You know who you remind me of?” I asked her.
“Who?” she said.
“Leotardo Da Vinci.”
I am frequently the only one to laugh at my Dad Jokes. I’ve thought often about Dad Jokes and have decided that mine, at least, always have 4 factors that make them a Dad Joke:
- They are almost always based on a pun of some kind.
- The pun is frequently one that goes beyond the kids’ current comprehension.
- The joke enters my mind seconds before I speak it. It just sort of forms there like magic.
- I always laugh loudly at my joke.
It got me thinking: have Dad Jokes always been a thing? I could reasonably imagine Abraham Lincoln telling lots of Dad Jokes. He was known to be a funny storyteller. I can’t imagine that John Adams would have told Dad Jokes. He was too busy raising John Quincy Adams, who was probably our most intelligent and least funny President on record.
George III does not strike me as a Dad Joker. Was Marcus Aurelius? Dad Jokes must have started at some point, but when? It’s like dreaming about missing your final exam: what did people dream about before there was a such thing as final exams? When did Dad Jokes originate?
Are comedians who are fathers more or less prone to Dad Jokes. Maybe less since telling jokes for a living probably means you need a break from them when you are off the clock. Still, I wonder. Jerry Seinfeld doesn’t strike me as a Dad Joker. Robin Williams does. The real question is: what about Steven Wright? I don’t know if Steven Wright is a father, but if he is, what would his Dad Jokes be like?
Has the Dad Joke phenomenon ever been studies in a controlled, scientific way? It is genetic? And if so, dominent or recessive? Does it skip generations? Is there an equivalent for Moms? I don’t hear much about Mom Jokes. Maybe because they are too busy rolling their eyes in embarassment at the Dad Jokes.
I’ve often wondered what it would be like to be a stand-up comic, and to write my own comedy. Doing it deliberately, however, never seems to work for me. It occurs to me now, however, that I could put together an entire stand-up set by collecting all of my Dad Jokes and putting them into some logical order. That is harder than it sounds, though, since I am frequently laughing too hard at my own joke to write it down.
Written on January 15, 2022.
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