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Dad Jokes is a pejorative label typically used to describe a variety of failed attempts at humor involving corny puns, anti-jokes or predictable punchlines, some of the prime examples being Trolldad, Bad Joke Eel and Lame Pun Coon.
While the exact origin of the term “dad joke” is unknown, the earliest known use of the term online was posted in a thread by B3ta Forums member rob on December 10th, 2003, which asked other members to submit “lame jokes” made by their fathers. In the first 48 hours, the thread received 15 pages worth of replies.
On January 20th, 2004, Urban Dictionary user Bunny submitted an entry for the term “dad joke,” defining it as an “embarassingly bad joke.” That year, the joke book Dad – This Joke’s For You was published by Ronnie Sellers Productions. On November 15th, 2005, Civilization Fanatics Forums member Parmenion submitted a thread containing notable dad jokes. As early as March 2006, the website Dads Bad Jokes was created, highlighting notable “terrible jokes your father makes.” On October 5th, 2007, Ice in Space Forums member ving posted a thread calling for other to share their favorite dad jokes. On July 14th, 2008, Yahoo Answers member lilly.rade posted a request for links to sites containing fatherly humor. On January 29th, 2009, a Facebook page titled “Dad Jokes” was launched, gaining more than 34,000 likes in the next five years. On August 30th, YouTuber zombieshoes uploaded a clip from the British television show Spics and Specks, in which host Adam Hills is called “dad” after delivering several bad jokes (shown below).
On October 23rd, 2011, the /r/dadjokes subreddit was launched, containing notable examples of dad humor. On August 24th, 2012, YouTuber Jono and Ben at Ten posted a “shit people say” parody video featuring bad jokes told my fathers (shown below). The video contained jokes bearing many similarities to the Shit My Dad Says Twitter feed, consisting of various quotes attributed to comedy writer Justin Halpern’s father.
On January 8th, 2013, Redditor mattkwish submitted a comic illustrating a typical “dad joke” that involves deliberate misunderstanding or “playing the fool.” Prior to being archived, the post garnered upwards of 2,400 up votes and 40 comments. (shown below)