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It’s 1181 B.C.E., Aegean Sea. Odysseus, Greek hero of antiquity, devoted husband to Penelope, having been blown off course in his valiant voyage back to Ithaca, made landfall in his ship, the Argo, upon the island of Cyclopes. Polyphemus, cycloptic son of Poseidon, captured Odysseus and his crew and began feasting upon them.
Odysseus, taken by the graveness of the situation, had the strategic foresight to introduce himself to Polyphemus as “Nobody,” which came in very handy as shortly thereafter his crew worked to bind the giant and blind him with a burning wooden stake.
“Help me!” Polyphemus cried out to his fellow cyclops, “Nobody has blinded me!” … and because of that, nobody came to his aid.
Strategic foresight? Yes, definitely. But how did Odysseus think up this bit of clever wordplay so readily under duress? Simple: Odysseus was a dad.
His son, Telemachus, would have been about 20 at the time and so clearly Odysseus was well-rehearsed in the art of the pun from his life as a dad before his Odyssey began. So Odysseus’ tactical intelligence aside, I contend that this is also one of the first examples in recorded history of an absolutely solid dad joke.
If you think that was a long way to go for a so-so punchline, tuck in …
Some five years ago, society experienced a new Renaissance. It was around that time that “Dad Jokes” entered the lexicon, as well as our collective awareness. Previously known as “groaners” or just “bad jokes,” these humorless bits of humor gained renown through their repetitious, often tiresome overuse by your typical dad.
The Dad Joke burst into popular culture. Dad Joke-A-Day calendars. Dad Joke posters. Dad Joke memes. Dad Joke compilation books. Dad Joke t-shirts. Dad Joke comedy nights. Dad Joke articles on Inman. People leaned into it hard, and what’s beautiful is that dads shared the spotlight of this linguistic gift with anyone and everyone; you didn’t have to be a dad to drop a bad dad joke.
Case in point: I was once ringing up at a convenience store while wearing my “Dad Jokes? I Think You Mean RAD Jokes” t-shirt, and the maybe 19-year-old cashier piped up and asked me if she could please tell me all of her favorites. The ground leveled. It was a touching moment of unity— centered entirely on utterly dumb wordplay — that transcended nearly every social construct.
And so it went for many years.
But time has marched on, and society has slowed in its fervor for this form of pun-ishment. You can still find all the merchandise, but interest has markedly waned and it seems like this phenomenon will become a thing of the past; the Renaissance will become a then-aissance, because people have simply grown tired of the mighty dad joke.
But that’s the thing.
Any good dad joke has worn out its welcome long before the punchline ever emerges. The setup alone induces the groan. Anyone in earshot knows — and doesn’t wanna hear — what’s coming. But does that stop it? No sir, no it doesn’t.
Dad jokes are no longer trendy? Dads don’t care. We’re gonna tell them anyway. You don’t think they’re funny? They never were! Not to you anyway — but they’re funny to us, and that’s all that matters.
And so it is, and so it shall always be; the dad joke in every age shall be inflicted upon you and me.
So, even though you’re tired of them, we’re not remotely tired of telling them. And with that, here are 10 more dad jokes perfect for Father’s Day.
Concerned Parent: My son has been eating electrical cords. What do I do?
Dad: Ground him until he conducts himself properly.
Child: Daddy, do trees poop?
Dad: Of course, that’s how we get number 2 pencils.
Real Estate Agent Dad: This listing is great, but it’s probably better for cats.
Buyer: What do you mean?
Agent Dad: It will take you nine lifetimes to pay it off.
Linguist: “Pre-” means before and “Post-” means after.
Dad: Using both of those prefixes together would be preposterous!
Dad: Looks like there’s a big sale down at the Lego store.
Child: Oh really? Can we go?
Dad: No. People are lined up for blocks.
Real Estate Agent’s Dad: You better watch out! That agent you beat in the sales competition said he’s coming for you.
Agent: Meh, I’m pretty sure I can take him.
Real Estate Agent’s Dad: I don’t know. He said he flips houses in his spare time!
Dad: My first job was at an orange juice factory. But I got canned.
Innocent Bystander: Sighhhh. Why?
Dad: Because I couldn’t concentrate.
Marine Biologist: Did you know that great white sharks grow up to 20 feet?
Dad: I don’t believe you. Sharks don’t have feet.
Real Estate Agent: They are hoping for $500k for this condo.
Dad: Ok got it. And what would be the condo-minimum they would accept?
Riddler: What’s the difference between a poorly dressed man on a unicycle and a sharp dressed man on a bicycle?
Real Estate Agent Dad: I’ll sell anything, but my bread’n’butter is listings with finished basements.
Fellow Agent: Oh yeah? Why is that?
Agent Dad: They’re my best cellars.
Dad: Did I ever tell you I met Bruce Lee’s vegan brother, Brocco Lee?
Dad: No. Serious Lee is Bruce’s other brother who can’t take a joke.
Property Manager: I’m failing at work because of my irrational fear of intricately clustered commercial buildings.
Psychologist (and Dad): Sounds like you have a complex complex complex.
Zoologist: Did you know Peruvian owls hunt in pairs?
Dad: That’s because they’re Inca hoots.
Property Manager: Did you hear that they were unable to rent out the only remaining unit in the apartment building?
Dad: Sounds like it was last but not leased.
Long ago in a remote jungle, there was a tribal king who lived in a grass hut where he ruled from a golden throne. One day, there came a warning from his scouts that explorers were en route to steal the throne. In an effort to protect it, the king stowed the throne on the roof of his hut and covered it with thatch.
The explorers arrived and searched for the throne to no avail. The king, thinking he was in the clear, had his guards begin taking the throne down from the roof, but as they worked it slipped from its rigging, came crashing down and killed the king.
Proving once again that people who live in grass houses shouldn’t stow thrones.
Connect with Devon Broderick on LinkedIn.