Dad jokes are a type of humor that has become strongly associated with middle-aged men with children. They are the thinnest form of comedy, usually based in puns and, unless you’re a 5-year-old, probably nothing you haven’t heard before. Despite being inoffensive, these jokes often generate negative reactions, especially from young children who aren’t ready for such overly simplistic humor. They may also be considered “harmful” because they can cause young children to groan, which can affect their ability to develop positive emotions and learn social skills.
Humor researchers don’t always agree on what makes something funny, but one thing is clear about dad jokes: they violate the norms of joking in a unique way. They’re corny, formulaic jokes that make no attempt to be clever or original and court failure by presenting themselves as intentionally bad.
They’re a sort of weaponized anti-humor that can be used to tease, annoy, and embarrass people in ways that don’t cross the line into bullying. This type of humor is similar to the kind of “cringe comedy” that many teen and adult audiences find enjoyable, even though it may cause their peers to feel uncomfortable or embarrassed. However, dad jokes are different from other types of cringe comedy in that they are often aimed at the children of the tellers, who derive pleasure from their groans and eye rolls. As a result, these jokes have the potential to teach children how to respond to the discomfort of being laughed at, thereby helping them to develop a sense of self-control and emotional regulation. bad dad jokes