TMI Thursday: I Was a Victim of Bad Dad Jokes

My name is Kilby and I have a childhood trauma to confess: I was the victim of bad dad jokes. If you grew up with a dad who told bad jokes, just reading the title of this article filled you with instant comprehension and maybe even a chill down your spine in remembrance of just how bad your dad’s jokes were.

For those of you who didn’t grow up with dads who told jokes, or didn’t grow up with dads, or grew up with the mythical dad who told jokes that were actually good, you cannot comprehend how growing up with a bad joke-teller leaves scars on your funny bone. For me, the cycle has continued. I am now married to a bad-joke-telling dad. Read on to hear an unfamiliar tale of woe.

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The first thing you need to know about dads who tell bad jokes is that they are not telling these jokes for the benefit of their audience. In fact, if their goal was to be funny and actually make people laugh, they would go out and find some better jokes. This Wall Street Journal article suggests that dads tell jokes out of a desire to connect without having to tell dirty stories. Um…alright, WSJ. You stick with that.

I have confirmed with Mr. Blades and other victims of childhood bad-dad-joke trauma that bad-joke dads must be dealt with in very specific ways. To laugh at our fathers’ awful jokes would have been to encourage them to tell more, which is why none of us ever did. Around my family dinner table, with a captive audience of four (me, my mom and my two siblings), my dad got forced chuckles at best. More often, his “jokes” were met with grimaces and groans, which he paid absolutely no mind. Jovial laughter at his own punch lines was always enough for him.

I don’t mean subjectively bad jokes, people. I mean objectively bad jokes. I would call them, more accurately, joke attempts. Ones like:

Setup: Why should you eat carrots to improve your eyesight?

Punchline: Well, you don’t see any rabbits wearing glasses, do you?


Setup: Why did the king get crushed when his golden throne fell on him through the ceiling?

Punchline: Because people in grass houses shouldn’t stow thrones.

My father, unfortunately, is no longer with us and I do feel the loss of those bad jokes now. Peculiar circumstances have arisen over my partner’s joke-telling and I wonder something cosmic is at play. Mr. Blades always told great jokes (even clean ones!) until we had kids. Now that he’s a father, Mr. Blades has turned into a bad-joke-telling dad, even though he, himself was the victim of a BJTD!!! But my dad passed away when my cub was little. Could it be his spirit shining through Mr. Blades and giving me a wink and a nudge? I guess we’ll never know…

If you had a bad joke telling dad, tell me about him in the comments. If you remember any of his bad jokes, tell them, too :)

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