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Dadline: Dad jokes: We put the pun in punchline

Dadline: Dad jokes: We put the pun in punchline

Bad puns, that’s how eye roll.

And that, faithful Dadline readers, is the Jan. 4 entry on the “Dad Jokes” 2021 daily calendar, a Christmas gift to me from my teenage daughter.

Never mind that I could have supplied a year’s worth of dad jokes on my own. This calendar will only serve to augment my punny (rhymes with “funny”) arsenal of jokes.

As the name implies, dad jokes are usually brief, one- or two-liners anchored by some silly phrase that puts the “pun” in punchline. In other words, dad jokes are clever, witty and often hilarious. Sadly, the offspring of most dad-joke specialists do not share the same sense of humor, which proves that the long-sought “joke gene” does not exist.

The telling of dad jokes, rather, is a learned behavior, usually revealing itself after age 40 in most fathers.

A joke becomes a dad joke when the punchline becomes apparent. Get it? “A parent!” I guess that pun was so bad it was only two-thirds of a pun: P.U.!

Not all dad jokes are pun-based, though. Many are classic question-and-answer jokes, occasionally laced with insightful elements that put the “a-ha” in “ha, ha.”

How come you never see elephants hiding in trees? Because they’re so good at it.

Makes you think, huh.

You can really learn things from dad jokes. Like, was the shovel an important invention? Yes, it was ground-breaking.

Some dad jokes are really poignant and sentimental.

Do you know the last thing my grandfather said to me before he kicked the bucket?

“Grandson, watch how far I can kick this bucket.”

Really, dad jokes are just jokes. Everyday, ordinary, corny jokes told by dads. If a child says, “What has four wheels and flies? A garbage truck,” grown-ups will laugh and laugh and laugh, like the kid is the next Jerry Seinfeld. A dad tells that joke, kids just groan. (There is such a thing as a “groan gene,” science has proven, and all children are born with it. Not to mention the “eye roll gene,” just like the pun in the opening joke.) Science has also determined that the groan and eye roll reflexes only grow stronger in wives married to dad-joke practitioners.

Let’s be honest here. What’s so great about kid jokes, anyway? There’s a popular Twitter feed called “Kids Write Jokes” filled with, um, “jokes” that little kids have come up with. The whole idea started as “Bad Jokes on Tumblr,” which spawned a book that my wife and I got for our daughter last Christmas.

These jokes are so bad and nonsensical, they are actually quite funny. Many include references to poo, which slays every time.

A few recent highlights from the Twitter feed:

What did the pizza say before it got eaten? Ranch me.

What does a snowman eat for dessert? Snow.

Look, I told you these were bad. Remember, children at work here.

What goes ha ha Bonk? A man laughing his arm off.

Why was 6 afraid of 7? Babies.

Knock knock. Who’s there? Go away, I’m having a poo.

I told you poo was big. Well, I mean, as in popular for kid jokes. Oh, never mind.

See, dad jokes don’t sound so bad now, right?

Anyway, the times we are living in are no laughing matter, so if I may get serious for just a moment, I would like to leave you with some fatherly advice for the coming year:

Never trust an atom. They make up everything.

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Ralph Berrier Jr. has worked at The Roanoke Times since 1993. He covers the City of Roanoke and writes the Dadline parenting column.

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