Did you hear about the guy who invented Lifesavers? They say he made a mint.


Actually, I’m not sorry at all. Dad jokes have become just as much a core part of my identity as fatherhood itself. Maybe it’s because I make my living as a writer and I am naturally drawn to clever wordplay, even as cringe-worthy as some dad jokes may be. In fact, it might even be because they’re so cringe-worthy that I like them so much.

A friend of mine remarked that he cracks dad jokes all the time even though he is not a dad himself. I told him that I’ve been making these kinds of jokes for years; it’s just that I now have permission to use the label. I wouldn’t want to be accused of being an anti-dentite (or whatever the fatherly equivalent would be).

But why is it that we use the term “dad joke” at all? There’s even a Wikipedia entry, saying it’s a “pejorative term” for a joke that is largely deemed “corny” or “predictable.” Are we to extrapolate, then, that fathers have an “unfunny” sense of humor and that we are all embarrassed of our dads?

Have I become that guy? Will I have to drop off my daughter a block away from school so her friends won’t see me? That would drive me mad. I’m sure I’d tire of it quickly.

According to the wiki, dad jokes typically include puns and are (understandably) told by dads. They’re reasonably family-friendly, generally avoiding risque content that may be inappropriate for children. Given this, though, how is that all that different from the harmless jokes that kids tell one another. The punchline to the chicken crossing the road uses a pun, but we don’t call that a dad joke.

Dance until your feet hurt. Sing until your lungs hurt. Act until you’re William Hurt.

How would you differentiate a “regular” pun from one you’d call a dad joke? Are all puns dad jokes? I piled them high in a segment in one of my vlogs and I post them on Instagram from time to time using the hashtag #BTRDadJokes. I’m embracing the term. You might even say I’m reappropriating it.

To some people, dad jokes epitomize lameness. I disagree. While I certainly won’t step on stage as a stand-up comic any time soon, I appreciate the humor and quick wit that a solid dad joke can deliver. We could all laugh a little more. That’s why Phil Dunphy is my TV dad hero. I think he’s the dad I aspire to be.

You only get one chance at a first impression. I suggest Julia Child, because it’s easy to do. “Save the giblets!”

How do you make a Kleenex dance? You put a little boogie in it.

I’m here all week folks. Remember to tip your servers.