Why Bad Dad Jokes Are So Popular

When it comes to bad jokes, nobody does them better than dads. From cheesy puns to stale one-liners, a good dad joke has it all: they’re corny, formulaic and unapologetically cringe-worthy. But, despite their ubiquity and groan-inducing nature, not all dad jokes are created equal. Some are so bad they’re actually funny. And, as it turns out, there’s a good reason why.

There are more ways to convey humor than you can shake a stick at, and many of them are clever, witty and original. So why do we associate bad jokes with dads? And why are they so popular?

Dad jokes have long been the stock in trade of stand-up comics, with entire books and articles devoted to aggregating them. However, the rise of social media has turned dad jokes into a new lingo meme with nearly universal appeal. And while there’s a lot to be said for the ability of bad jokes to unite people in sighing condescension, they also reveal something about how we perceive and value comedy.

Dad jokes are, as the name suggests, jokes told by parents to their children. According to a recent study, they’re important for preparing children for adolescence. By teasingly striking at their children’s egos and emotions without ever teetering into bullying, fathers teach their children how to cope with embarrassment. This is a valuable skill, especially at an age when adolescents are particularly sensitive to sociocultural processing and are more likely to react to their embarrassment with aggression or depression. bad dad jokes