Dad Jokes — Why Are Bad Jokes So Bad but Also So Great?
July 10, 2022
Graham Thurgood, Volunteer Content Writer
You don’t want to laugh at eye-roll inducing dad jokes, but you do. Why is that?
We’ve all done it when we’ve heard them.
The eye roll.
It’s a common reaction when someone tells a “dad joke.”
Two guys walk into a bar. The third guy ducked.
Cue the eye roll. Maybe a knee-jerk “Oh my gawd,” or a quick “Pfft, good one” accompanies, but nevertheless, a smile, grin, guffaw or laugh escapes every time.
So why do we laugh at something that we find stupid, pointless and beneath our intelligence, and what makes them so great?
What is a dad joke?
Dad jokes are short, usually a pun, and are presented as a one-liner or question-and-answer, but not a drawn-out narrative.
The exact origin of the term “dad joke” is unknown, but there are examples from 1987 in a Gettysburg Times article headlined “Don’t ban the ‘Dad’ jokes; preserve and revere them.” Then the term gained popular mention in the American hit sitcom “How I Met Your Mother” and an Australian quiz show called “Spicks and Specks.”
Dad jokes are also referred to as “anti-jokes” — meaning they derive humour from an intentionally unfunny punchline. They are a reference to the quick and cheeky answers a dad gives to his child when they state the obvious:
- Dad, I’m tired.
- Hi Tired, I’m Dad.
Or, now that there is a whole genre dedicated to dad jokes (complete with a Wikipedia entry, an addition to the Mirriam-Webster dictionary, and numerous Reddit pages), a joke with an evident and cringe-worthy answer.
- Why did the coach go to the bank?
- To get his quarterback.
Yet another form of the dad joke that has made its way into the dad joke sphere (and my personal favourite) is the one-liner.
Sundays are always a little sad, but the day before is always a sadder day.
Basically, dad jokes are anything dads might say to get a laugh out of their kids, eye-roll or not. When someone tells a dad joke, they know that it is not meant to hurt anyone while simultaneously making it so stunningly apparent that everyone will get it.
Dad jokes are a reprieve from the viciousness we see on social media and television today.
Why Dad Jokes Are Good For Us
While dad jokes may only provide a small amount of humour accompanied by the obligatory eye roll, that slight guffaw is good for us.
Surely you have heard the term “Laughter is the best medicine.” The phrase didn’t become mainstream because laughing is fun when you are sick — there’s actually scientific evidence to back it up.
Here’s why laughter from dad jokes is good for your health:
- Immune Booster: Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases infection-fighting antibodies and immune cells, meaning it will improve your disease resistance.
- Relaxing: A good laugh from a lousy dad joke relieves emotional and physical stress, leaving your muscles more relaxed for up to 45 minutes.
- Releases Endorphins: Endorphins are the chemicals in your body that make you feel good. Laughter releases endorphins which promote a sense of well-being and can even reduce pain temporarily.
- Heart Protection: Giving some giggles to dad jokes improves blood vessel function and increases blood flow, protecting you against heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems.
- Burns Calories: Laughing for ten to fifteen minutes per day can burn about 40 calories — which adds up to three to four pounds per year!
- Eases Anger: Laughter diffuses anger faster than anything else. Next time you’re in a disagreement, try to look at the funny side of your problems to move on quicker and not hold on to bitterness or resentment.
- Prolongs Life: A Norwegian study found that people with a good sense of humour lived longer than those who didn’t.
Laughter from a good/bad dad joke
- Adds joy and zest to your life
- Strengthens your resilience
- Enhances relationships
- Is attractive to others
- Diffuses conflict
- Promotes teamwork
- Is good for group bonding
- Shifts your perspective
- Brings people together and strengthens relationships
- Releases inhibitions
As you can see, there are numerous benefits to laughing at dad jokes. So tell them more often and help yourself and others lead healthier lives.
My Love For Dad Jokes
I am a writer (a copywriter by day), and most of my humour is based on sarcasm and wit, so dad jokes are right up my alley.
I try to come up with witty sayings at my job and use wordplay to get my point across in more unconventional ways than simply stating facts.
But when I am texting with friends and family, my favourite thing is to quickly throw in what I think are witty answers or comments to their questions or statements. Like any good dad joke, I am pretty confident they roll their eyes and smile when they read them.
(Me, after my mom sent a picture of her dog sleeping on the couch after a visit to the groomers and the caption “shaved and sleepy”) — Isn’t one of the seven dwarves named Shaved?
Anything to get a smile out of people.
Even my brother-in-law gets in on the action.
When asked if he knew his blood type, he said, “Of course, red,” without skipping a beat.
Even with what might be a serious question about a potential health issue, a good dad joke breaks the tension and gets a laugh.
I love humour, I love a good dad joke, and I use them to connect with people. It makes me feel good to make other people laugh. I also throw them into my family’s group text chat any chance I get.
My sister always points out when I make a good dad joke (usually with the eye-roll and laughing emojis, actually), and I know my mom enjoys them too. That makes me feel good knowing that I can brighten their day, even momentarily.
So What Makes Dad Jokes So Great?
For my money, dad jokes are a way to add a little humour into any situation, even just for a second.
Life can get really serious really fast. I am all for it if we can find a quick way to remember that life is still beautiful and supposed to be fun, especially in trying times. Dad jokes give us that momentary break from reality to let us know that our purpose on this earth is to enjoy the time we have.
Dad jokes are so bad because they are simple and to-the-point, but they make us laugh a little every single time and bring a bit of humour to any situation, and that’s why they’re so great.
My name is Graham, and I am a freelance copywriter. I don’t have formal degrees or training as a writer, but I found and cultivated a skill so I could work remotely and pursue my passion for travelling. I like to give back when I have the opportunity to contribute to a community dedicated to self-improvement. If you are looking for more ways to find happiness and self-improvement, check out what Low Entropy offers.
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