Tuesday Takeaway 18 June: The pun-ishing art of dad jokes

At Big Ambitions, we take our work super seriously…except when it comes to dad jokes. In the middle of sharing client wins and crisis updates, an epic battle rages in our WhatsApp group.

The challenge? Unleash the cringiest dad joke to make even the most seasoned eye-rollers groan in defeat. It’s the Dad Joke Championship, and may the worst pun win. In honour of Father’s Day, it’s only fitting we pay tribute to this sacred tradition of fatherly humour.

A dad joke is a joke, typically a pun, often presented as a one-liner or a question-and-answer. The term was first published by Jim Kalbaugh, who wrote an impassioned defence of the genre in The Gettysburg Times in June 1987 under the headline “Don’t ban the ‘Dad’ jokes; preserve and revere them”. The genre began to thrive on social media platforms; in 2017, #dadjokes was one of the most popular hashtags on Twitter. In September 2019, Merriam-Webster added the phrase “dad joke” to the dictionary, cementing its place in the comedy hall of fame (or shame).

Dad jokes? I’d argue they are an art form. It turns out they’re not just good because they make us laugh (sometimes grudgingly); they make us better humans. A study published by the British Psychological Society took a deep dive into dad jokes and found that even though they’re cringey, dad jokes have the capacity to make us better humans. 

Humour researcher Marc Hye-Knudson wrote that dad jokes are often derided as dumb, but it’s actually the opposite. Part of what makes them funny is simply that they’re unfunny.

This has two benefits researchers saw in kids. One was that it shows them a father figure’s willingness to embarrass himself repeatedly. The second was that it subconsciously teaches kids to be alright with awkwardness and how to respond to it. According to the researcher, kids continually exposed to eye-rolling humour build up a natural immunity to judgement and embarrassment and become adults who feel empowered to be themselves.

Dad jokes are comfortable jokes for comfortable situations among friends and family. They might elicit a disapproving glare but ultimately bring people closer together. They represent a dad at his most annoying but also at his best: warm, silly and loving. Awww.

In a sea of mediocre dad jokes, there is one considered the baddest dad joke of them all? According to this poll, we have a winner: “This graveyard looks crowded – people must be dying to get in” was voted the most amusing dad joke of all time. (Cue drum roll).

And yes, we have an in-house reigning champ – (you know who you are). Keep those Dad jokes coming Big Ambitions. But let’s keep it in the family. The world’s not ready for our kind of humour that’s so bad, it’s good.

Mindful Musings

Tuesday Takeaway 18 June: The pun-ishing art of dad jokes 1

What the world was musing over this past week

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Hollywood Thin Drug Now Targeting Chubby Pets

Move over, Hollywood stars—your pets are next in line for the slim-down! With 60% of American cats and dogs carrying extra fluff, drugs like Ozempic are making moves to help Fido and Whiskers trade in their love handles for a sleek new look.

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How to Keep an Endangered Rhino Warm in Winter

Chester Zoo has discovered a game-changing way to keep their endangered eastern black rhinos cosy during the chilly English winters. This cutting-edge approach not only ensures the rhinos’ comfort but also significantly reduces the zoo’s carbon footprint.

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Brazilian lawmaker’s bathroom blunder

In a week of believe-it-or-not politics in South Africa, we can be thankful that none of our elected officials have sunk to the depths of this Brazilian politician. This lawmaker shamelessly joined a virtual parliamentary session while situated in a highly questionable location.

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The Search for the Cheapest Cup of Coffee in SA

If your daily caffeine habit is starting to drain your bank account faster than a French press, consider some cheaper options. The South African has rounded up some of the most wallet-friendly spots to get your coffee fix in South Africa. This breakdown of the cheapest cups of joe around might surprise you.