LOUIS BURKE | Culture | Contact
We’ve all heard these before:
“Hi Hungry, I’m dad!”
“What jam can’t you eat? A traffic jam!”
“I make apocalypse jokes like there’s no tomorrow!”
Chances are if you grew up with a father capable of human speech or had friends with a likewise male presence you’ve encountered a ‘dad joke’ before.
On the surface, dad jokes are a non-threatening wordplay or one-liner, enjoyed for the reason that it is largely unfunny but can be shared innocently by any man who has pro-created.
This, however, might not be as innocent as we all think, because when you scratch just a little beneath the surface you can begin to see that dad jokes might be more problematic than you originally thought.
1. It perpetuates the idea that we have to laugh at men in a position of power.
Growing up, when you hear a dad joke, either from your own dad or a father of a friend, it is usually when they are in a position of power such as giving you a lift or having you over for dinner.
Usually, these men are already the literal patriarch of the family and expecting others to laugh at a joke that is deliberately unfunny abuses the power they have over you.
Even if the idea that a ‘hot chocolate’ might sometimes want to be called ‘beautiful chocolate’ is kind of funny, it’s also low key sexist and v racist when you think about it.
2. It exemplifies male privilege.
As we mentioned before, dad jokes are made with the exception of forced laughter, despite the knowledge by both joke teller and audience that the humour lies in the joke being unfunny.
When these jokes are told by a dad, usually a cis male (ew), it not only perpetuates the idea that men do not have to work as hard as women to get what they want, it’s an actual real example of it happening.
Telling these jokes in front of your children can grow this idea that men should expect results no matter how much effort they commit to something, even if dad’s “joke about the unemployed hardly ever works!”
3. It’s unfair to women.
Close your eyes and try to think of a mum joke. You can’t.
There’s no denying mum jokes exist and while they differ from dad jokes in the way that there is more effort put behind them, they usually don’t have a punchline and are often about something they saw on TV, there’s no denying they don’t really get the response they deserve.
“I went to a cafe the other day and said ‘Large mug of latte please.’ The girl brings it over and I say ‘Hang on, this is a small, I ordered a large,’ and she said ‘Are you sure?’ and I said ‘Of course I’m not sure! I haven’t had my coffee yet!’”
While dad jokes seem to be celebrated and laughed at for their effort alone, mum jokes are treated as some horrible thing that mothers do just to embarrass us and while most dads will try and be funny, there is usually only one ‘funny mum’ in the gang who is generally treated as an outcast.
This is a problem guys.
While dad jokes seem to celebrate a man’s ability to be funny while not even trying, mum jokes shame women for trying to compete with their parental counterparts.
It continues to grow the unfair idea that women aren’t as funny as men which is why female comedians like Amy Schumer and Sarah Silverman get categorised as ‘comics instead of ‘comedians’ and Dave Chappelle gets categorised as the funniest cunt in the world.
So what can you do?
Next time you here a dad making dad jokes simply react as you would if a woman was telling the joke.
If it is funny, laugh.
If it’s not, begin a discourse about the possibly damaging implications of dad jokes and promise to link them to this article later instead of actually doing the arguing yourself.
If that doesn’t work perhaps you should just make like a tree and leave, so to say.
About the writer: Louis Burke is a heteronormative white male millennial who went through a gay phase in university but ultimately decided he prefers having sex with women. He lists himself on twitter as a thoughtmaker and journalist, despite only getting published in online publications like this one when we are running low on sponsored content.
Louis credits his love of dissecting the news, and using political correctness to crucify any writer/actor/comic that is doing better than him, to a gap year spent building poorly designed mud huts in a third world country with a school-counsellor-suggested charity that has since been shut down due to revelations that 90% of donations were spent on useless cunts like him.
With a relatively big twitter following and an elite education at both an inner-city selective school and a demountable arts department in a prominent Sandstone University, Louis relishes in the fact that at 23, he is much more engaged with problematic societal trends that he never looked twice at a couple years ago when he was still going to NRL matches with his dad.