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The Subtle Art of the Dad Joke

I have a joke about chemistry, but I don't think it will get a reaction.

By ARCPublished 4 months ago β€’ 4 min read
Top Story - June 2023
The Subtle Art of the Dad Joke
Photo by Brian Wangenheim on Unsplash

Long ago, when the first cavedad hit his cavehead on the cave overhang and dropped a stone on his cavefoot, his caveson cavelaughed.

Then, he added the caveat: "It's inappropriate to make a 'dad joke' if you're not a dad. It's a faux pa."

Thus, humor was born.

True story probably.

A few years later, in the 1980's and 90's ("and today..." πŸŽΆπŸŽ™πŸ˜Ž), humor took a weird, twisted turn to something kind of angry and bitter.

Suddenly, it was all the rage to use humor to poke fun at and diminish others, rather than to actually be humorous by oneself.

Mercifully, the dark times have ended.

At least, the dark times where that sort of humor was kind of the only option available have ended.

Sidenote: Laughter and slaughter are separated by just that one letter. Does that make anyone else mildly uncomfortable?

The Age of the Dad Joke

Over the past few years, I have come to recognize that my preferred brand of humor is Dad Joke'ian, at least in structure. This surprised me, as I also know how eye-rolly they can be.

But stick with me a sec, you may be surprised at the benevolent ingredients involved in this cheesecake. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ³

Here's why good Dad Jokes are the best modern day humor has to offer:

  • They're thoughtful. The typical DJ (😎) is somewhat insightful in nature, requiring a slightly-deeper-than-usual look at life in order to alchemize.

Example: How many tickles does it take to make an octopus laugh?


Ten tickles.

  • They often point out some rather odd and arbitrary elements of our culture. Elements (such as language) which we usually take-for-granted and do not question.

Example 1: Why can't a nose be 12 inches long?

Because then it would be a foot.

Example 2: This graveyard looks overcrowded.

People must be dying to get in.

  • Good DJs are harmless by nature. Literally. Even when they are 'poking fun' at something, it's light and sometimes even complimentary in a way.

Example 1: If you see a crime at an Apple Store, does that make you an iWitness?

Example 2: I ordered a chicken and an egg from Amazon.

I'll let you know...

  • There's something about a solid Dad Joke that can lighten even the most serious melodramatic moment one may be experiencing.

Example 1: Did you know corduroy pillows are in style?

Yeah, they're making headlines.

Example 2: How do you follow Will Smith in the snow?

You follow the fresh prints.

Example 3: What did the janitor say when he jumped out of the closet?


  • They're short! No need to stick around for some over-developed punchline that doesn't pay off. Dad Jokes are in and out like a crew of ninjas in an unlocked coal factory at midnight. Speaking of...

Example 1: What kind of shoes do ninjas wear?


Example 2: I don't trust those trees.

They seem kind of shady.

  • They're sometimes lightly self-deprecating. Not in a destructive way, though. In that healthy way that reminds us all not to take ourselves too seriously.

Example 1: You know, people say they pick their nose, but I feel like I was just born with mine.

Example 2: I thought the dryer was shrinking my clothes.

Turns out it was the refrigerator all along.

  • They can be rather 'meta'. I'm not sure if there's a scientific study out there backing this statement up, but just from my own experience, I feel like 'going meta' can help ward off Alzheimers. It feels like taking my brain out of my skull and giving it a deep tissue massage. Seems like that has to be healthy in some way.

Example 1: I've got a great joke about construction, but I'm still working on it.

Example 2: I was going to tell a time-traveling joke, but you guys didn't like it.

  • A good Dad Joke leaves you feeling better and lighter about life. And isn't that what Hugh Morris all about?

Example 1: A skeleton walks into a bar and says, "Hey, bartender. I'll have one beer and a mop."

Example 2: I asked my dog what's two minus two.

He said nothing.

And that's about all the shrimp I can think of.

Got any other reasons why Dad Jokes are the best? Any great Dad Jokes you'd like to share and lighten up all of our day? Feel free to fire at Will in the comments! (Just make sure you play by the above Dad Joke'ian Tenets!)

Photo of Will:

By Birmingham Museums Trust on Unsplash

(And if you enjoyed this article, please leave a heart! Thanks for reading πŸ€“)


About the Creator


Poems, articles & stories πŸ““

Expressions of things seen 🌌

Sharing of more subtle things felt ✨

Friends call me Tony. 🌊

If you resonate with some of this content, inner connectivity may be of further interest to you on your Inner Path. πŸ’ 

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Comments (14)

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  • Lamar Wiggins4 months ago

    πŸ˜‚ Priceless... DJ are so quick and fun as with your comparison to ninjas. I think my favorite from your list was the Amazon chicken and egg. I laughed out loud. Thank you… and of course I have to share one…ok, here goes. (Clears throat) why do birds fly south? Because it’s too far to walk. πŸ™„πŸ™ƒπŸ˜ŽπŸ˜…. Thanks again, ARC. What a great way to start the day.

  • Em Starr4 months ago

    Hahahahaha... I am crying with laughter (or is that slaughter??). I love a good DJ and you have given me so many brand newbies for my repertoire. Sharing this with my dad too – he is a connoisseur of DJs and he will so appreciate this. Congrats on another well-deserved Top Story!

  • Ian Read4 months ago

    Top notch! Congrats on TS!

  • Dana Stewart4 months ago

    I love cheesy Dad jokes! This article made me smile, thanks for that!

  • Funny, I was already needing to go check this out, then realized it was yours! So funny, already with the subtitle had me cracking up! I have a million things to compliment. 1,000,001 - Caveat with all the caveman words, hilarious. Love the glimpse into history, "true story probably." 1,000,002 - Okay this "1980's and 90's ("and today..." πŸŽΆπŸŽ™πŸ˜Ž)" this made me laugh but what is this a crack at? Now music? Or some other CD compilation? 1,000,003 - All in all, loved the jokes you included and the breakdown of why they're great, the nature of them, how they can be self-deprecating and lighthearted. All of it! Excellent stuff!

  • Gina C.4 months ago

    YAY!! Congrats on Top Story, Tony!! πŸ€—β€οΈβ€οΈβ€οΈ

  • sleepy drafts4 months ago

    These are some fantastic jokes! πŸ˜‚ I love your defense of dad jokes. It's so true that with so much "edgy" and dark humour out there, we all need a little light-hearted chuckle at a good dad joke sometimes. Great work, and congratulations on Top Story!

  • Dana Crandell4 months ago

    Congratulations, Tony! Glad to see this one made Top Story!

  • Melissa Ingoldsby4 months ago

    Very funny πŸ˜† I enjoy dad jokes they are a good way to not take yourself seriously! I enjoyed this. Congratulations on your top story

  • Paul Stewart4 months ago

    Yay, Tony! Such a well deserved Top Story! It had me smiling and I agree with you wholeheartedly about the art of the dad joke. Nice work, pal! I have read the other great Top Story for the Men Community but have yet to comment. Anyway, glad to see this on the front page!

  • Kristen Balyeat4 months ago

    πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ Love this piece so much! Dad jokes are my favorite! I send a note containing a joke with Hudson (my 9 year old) in his school lunch (I homeschool him but he goes to a homeschool enrichment program 2x a week–an unnecessary detail but sharing anyway:)). I know them all. Haha! You mentioned my fave joke of all time: β€œI was going to tell a time-traveling joke, but you guys didn't like it.” Makes me laugh every time, even as I typed it out. πŸ˜‚ Here are some other faves: why did the man fall into the well? Because he couldn’t see that well. Or: What do you call a boomerang that doesn’t come back? A stick Ok, I’ll be done, but I can’t promise I won’t be back later to leave a few more. Haha! Thanks for the giggles! This was fun!

  • Ahna Lewis4 months ago

    haha, this article had me smiling for sure! So where do you get your content? I was thinking maybe you have a dad'abase where you store your best ones?πŸ˜†

  • Gina C.4 months ago

    Dad jokes are the best! πŸ€— This was such a fun read -- I love your writing style so much, it's warm, inviting, and so entertaining! I also learned some really cool Dad Jokes in here πŸ˜… I can't pick a favorite from this awesome bunch, but I really loved the octopus one πŸ€— Now you have me racking my brain for all the Dad Jokes I've learned throughout the years! I feel like Dad Jokes are really kid-friendly (well, I guess obviously...which is why they're "Dad" jokes πŸ˜…) but as a teacher, I super appreciate them 😊 I can see myself using some of these with the littles! Awesome article, Tony! ❀️

  • Dana Crandell4 months ago

    Dad jokes? Hm, that gives me an idea! LOL Great article, Tony!

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