Dad jokes hold a unique place in the comic paradigm. Sure, they may make you groan, but they really serve a much broader purpose.
There are also multiple types of dad jokes, each with their own niche approach. In general, a dad joke is one told by a father that has a double meaning or purpose to the joke. Whether imparting life wisdom or practical street smarts, touching on social norms or cultural subtleties that elude children, dad jokes are way more sophisticated than they appear.
In many cases, dad jokes are simply wisdom disguised with humor. However, at its core, a dad joke stems from dad’s desire to connect to his kids through laughter. After all, there is nothing better than seeing your kids laugh.
Let’s explore each sub-type of dad joke.
1. Sarcastic Dad Joke or Quip
Sarcastic dad jokes are really a way for dads to comment on the complete stupidity of something your children are doing. Generally, these are barely jokes; really, these quips just counter the ridiculous things our society tells children in an attempt to help develop street smarts.
Some examples of ridiculous things that society teaches kids include sayings like, “there is no such thing as a stupid question.”
Um, yes there is. And there are also stupid people. A lot of them.
Usually, I use sarcasm and quips when answering stupid questions. I simply offer stupid answers in return.
For example, when your child asks, “are we there yet?” and you’re driving 83 mph on the freeway with no exit in sight. My answer, “yes. Go ahead and get out.”
If they ask, “how much longer?” I save my energy by providing a standard answer (no matter how much further, whether it be 32 seconds or 18 hours). My answer is always “about an hour.”
These little quips work in many situations:
Q: Where is my _________?
A: Up your butt and around the corner
Q: Have you seen my _____________?
A: Yes, it’s right next to your toothbrush and toothpaste… or maybe you left it next to the trash can when you took the trash out….
2. Listen Carefully (you might learn something)
Much of dad humor helps kids realize they can’t take everything at face value. Every day your children will be pummeled with all sorts of outside information that is designed to usurp your role as authority figure and knower of all things. Don’t let that happen without a fight!
When I was a kid, my dad was a human encyclopedia. But with Google, none of us dads stand a chance. We must actually develop meaningful relationships and conversations with our kids if we want to have influence. But our jokes can help them in many ways. Some examples:
Q: How many apples grow on a tree?
A: All of them
Q: What color is George Washington’s White Horse
Q: Who is buried in Grant’s Tomb
3. Pop Quiz
Dad jokes that leverage this skill make sure that kids have been paying attention. It’s important that kids keep track of all of the brilliant wisdom we impart, and what better way than a pop quiz?
Sometimes these are spelling-, grammar-, or idiom-based, but any way you look at them, these are some of my favorites.
Q: What is the difference between a Crocodile and an Alligator?”
A: One will see you later and the other will see you in a while
Joke: You know I used to tell dad jokes… but then he passed away.
Q: What kind of person takes care of a chicken?
A: A chicken tender
4. Double Meaning in Language aka Puns
Do other languages have the same concept of a pun, or is that unique to English? Who knows! What I do know is that puns are probably the most important category of dad jokes.
I believe it’s because we need to teach kids to think when they hear something—and to not just take something at face value. What better way than to wrap a secondary meaning into something every day?
Q: When does a pun become a dad joke?
A: When it becomes apparent.
Joke: I’ve been teaching myself to juggle clocks. I guess I have too much time on my hands.
Joke: I told this girl I was talking to I liked to race cars, she asked me if I win often? I said no, the cars are much faster
Joke: I’ve started telling everyone about the benefits of eating dried grapes. It’s all about raisin awareness.
Q: Where does the king keep his armies?
A: In his sleevies.
Joke: A carrot went to a football game. Wonder who it was rooting for…
Q: Why did the belt go to jail?
A: Because it held up a pair of pants!
Q: Why did the coffee call the police?
A: Because he was mugged.
5. Just Plain Funny
At the end of the day, most dads love to tell funny jokes because we like to laugh. After many years of slogging it out for a paycheck and putting our needs to the side, a joke can make it all worthwhile.
The funny jokes are actually a great way to connect with our kids over time and recognize that they are growing up and that our conversations, wisdom, and relationships change. Telling your kid a cleanish joke that they can’t get into real trouble with is a great way for them to learn the boundaries and grey areas about what can and can’t be said—and who you can say it to.
Q: If a girl with big boobs works at hooters, where does a girl with one leg work?
Q: My wife has got two left feet… We went on vacation and she bought flip flips.
Q: What do you call a camel with no humps?
6. Spelling Humor
If your kids are struggling with their spelling tests, these jokes can bring them back around!
Q: What do you call a fish with no eyes?
A: A fsh
I don’t tend to love these as much, although they will make me laugh a little. Mostly they make me groan, and I’m not sure what wisdom we are trying to impart here…
Q: What do fish get high on?
Q: What do you get when you cross an elephant with a fish?
A: Swimming trunks.
Q: What do you call a Mexican weather forecast?
A: Chile today, hot tamale.
8. Innovation or Serial Dad Jokes
Innovation Dad Jokes are another unique class. These are designed to demonstrate iterations or require participation from your kids and to begin teaching the art of crafting a joke. These include “Why did the chicken cross the road” or “your mama” jokes. I find these to be highly satisfying ways to pass the time on a car trip (assuming mom doesn’t find them offensive).
Q: Why didn’t the toilet paper cross the road?
A: It got stuck in a crack
Q: Did you hear about the restaurant on the moon?
A: Great food, no atmosphere.
One Liners: Your mama’s so fat she has her own zip code.
What Did We Miss?
We’re just getting started here. Did we miss any major categories? What are some of your favorite dad jokes?
Anyway, it’s time to go. I’m hungry…
We enjoy many things about the Ninja Dad life, but one thing we don’t like is repeating ourselves. Constantly. Especially when it has to do with manners, behavior, and general commonsense decorum.
So, rather than nag ourselves hoarse, we developed a genius reminder system to keep our kids in line. They’re called manners cards, and we swear, sometimes they actually work. Check them out here.