This Ridiculous Dad Stereotype Needs to End ... Now

goofy dadI am mostly pretty chill when it comes to how marketers and advertisers depict fathers. There are a lot of “Dad-Bloggers” (ugh, is that what I am?) who are borderline Men’s Rights Activists when it comes to this topic. “DON’T CALL ME MR MOM!” they shout as they clutch their camo-patterned diaper bags. But there is one aspect that of society’s depiction of dads that really gets me all worked up. Here’s the first three lines of an email from a social media something-or-other that I just deleted.


Fathers. They’ve all embarrassed us one time or another with their “funny” jokes or their amusing sense of style, but we love them just as they are. With Father’s Day around the corner…

Society has coined a new term recently: Dad Jokes. Now originally Dad Jokes followed a specific pattern where the dad torments the child by not giving the child what he wants. Example:

Child: I’m hungry.

Dad: Hi Hungry. I’m Dad.

That’s the most classic example. The important element isn’t that the Dad made a bad joke, it’s that he made a bad joke at the expense of meeting the child’s needs. This is actually very similar to the school teacher’s “I don’t know, CAN you go to the bathroom?” Perhaps Dad Jokes are really just Teacher Jokes. 

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But now people are referring to ANY bad jokes as Dad Jokes. But bad jokes have always existed and are told by virtually everyone. You go to an open mic at a comedy club, and you’re going to hear a lot of bad material. But no one says, “Man, there were a lot of Dad Jokes in there tonight.”

So, bad jokes are not Dad Jokes. OK? Settled? Moving on.

On top of that, the common consensus is that “Dads aren’t funny.” But this is a ridiculous statement. The truth is PEOPLE aren’t funny. There are so many unfunny people in this world. Some of them are dads. But you know what? A lot of dads are funny. 

My dad is hilarious. David Vienna of thedaddycomplex is hilarious. Charlie Capen and Andy Herald of how2beadad are hilarious. There are funny dads everywhere.

Look, you can joke around and say that I’m clueless around the house and Mom is the one really running the household and I’m really just a third kid for her to take care of and I’m just a big dummy man-child who couldn’t handle a grocery list if my life depended on it. And I’d laugh along with you and shrug it off because you’re only slightly wrong. 

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But don’t come around here talking about how dads embarrass their kids with their Dad Jokes. My kids get nothing but grade-A comedy in this house.
(drops mic)
(gets stern look from wife)
(picks up mic and puts it away neatly)

What Daddy stereotypes drive you nuts?


About The Author: Nate Smith is a comedian and a writer who creates content for the web. He has been performing improv, sketch, and stand up comedy since 1999 and is currently a performer and teacher at the Curious Comedy Theater in Portland, Oregon. You can find him on his blog, Improvising Fatherhood, or on Twitter, @bestnatesmith. He shared this piece with us as part of our tribute to dads for Father's Day.


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