The other day I was in the kitchen by myself, getting something to eat, while The Wife was in the next room with our two babies. I found myself a banana and started singing a little song called "Hello." From the other room I could hear The Wife tell the babies, "Oh look, even when he's by himself he still does the 'Dad jokes.'" Without seeing me, she knew what I had done. I had taken the banana, held it between my ear and mouth, and said "Hello," as if it were a telephone.
She was right, of course. Even though there was no one else in the room, I had briefly pretended that my banana was a telephone. It's a "Dad joke" that often gets my kids to laugh and/or smile. In fact, at this point if I didn't do it they would wonder what was wrong with me. If Dad has a banana, he's going to pretend it is a phone. For them, that's just life.
And for me, it's just funny, whether I'm a Dad or not. In fact, I've seen well-respected professional comedian Amy Poehler do the exact same banana-phone joke on Saturday Night Live, so it must be funny! Right? Why classify it as a "Dad joke" when it's just a funny joke?
If you were to Google "Dad jokes," or look it up on those newfangled hashtags (#dadjokes) (yes, I said "newfangled." I am a dad, after all) you'll find a bunch of jokes, many of which are punny, and almost all of which are funny. (My favorite: "I have a fear of speed bumps. I'm slowly getting over it.") People seem to think that labeling these jokes as "Dad" jokes makes them less funny. I don't get it.
I have several "Dad jokes" that I use regularly besides the banana-phone. If I'm driving down the road and see a bale of hay, whether it be in a field, on a load being hauled, or in a haystack, I'll shout, "Hey!" or maybe, "Hey there!" We live in farm country, so that's a lot of hay/Hey! And you know what, it's funny every single time! (It doesn't matter if I'm a dad or not.) Sometimes I'll even do a bad Jerry Seinfeld impersonation and say, "I'm thinkin', hey!" (My kids have no idea who Jerry Seinfeld is.) (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)
|"Hey there!" (Or maybe "Hay there!")|
Whenever I see a toy or article of clothing featuring the character Winnie the Pooh, I'll say something like, "Ewww, there's poo on the floor," or "Ewww, there's poo on your shirt." Is this a "Dad joke?" Sure. But once, several years ago, it led to my oldest daughter making the funniest Winnie the Pooh joke ever told by a two year-old. (I was so proud!)
|"Look out! There's Pooh on the couch!"|
One of the most commonly cited "Dad jokes" is this one:
Kid: "I'm hungry."
Dad: "Hi, hungry. I'm Dad."
I have a variation of that one that I use frequently. The conversation will go something like this:
Kid: "I'm thirsty."
Me: "You're Thursday? How can you be Thursday when it's only Tuesday?"
It's a great joke that works perfectly six days a week. (It doesn't work so well if they say "I'm thirsty" on a Thursday.)
Oh, and there are a lot more "Dad jokes" where those came from. I push the end of my nose with my finger every time the microwave beeps, and my toddler thinks it is hysterical. Whenever I'm on an elevator with my kids I pretend that the elevator is going to crash, and they laugh every time.
So, I don't care what other people think: "Dad jokes" are hilarious! Not mid-larious. Not low-larious. But high-larious! (And you'll never convince me otherwise.)