Tag Archives: dad joke

Reese Witherspoon Pun

Context: This was not posed as a joke, but asked in the middle of a lull in conversation. The tone of the ‘joke’ is meant to be given seriously, as if recalling a news story they had seen earlier in the day.

M.Z. : Did you hear about that actress that got stabbed? Uhh, what’s her name? Reese something. From Legally Blonde, you know who I mean? Reese—
P.Z. : Witherspoon?
M.Z. : No, with a knife.

Thoughts: The first time that I heard this joke, I was caught off guard. While it is a cringe-worthy pun, I thought that this was one of the more creative jokes that I have been told.

Batman Leaves Church Early

Context: The respondent first saw this joke posted on someone’s social profile.

H.K. : What do you call Batman who leaves church early?
P.Z. : What do you call Batman… um, bats in the belfry. I literally don’t know.
H.K. : Mm ‘kay. Christian Bale.

Thoughts: As cringe-worthy as this joke may be, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I had been stumped by this riddle, as it had modern pop culture references that I’m unused to hearing in riddles. Like many other jokes or riddles though, it used the traditional play on words format.

Joke: Saving it for Later

Main Piece: 

Informant: “My grandpa, he had this big bushy moustache and so he would always get food stuck in it. And people would like point it out, like if my mom was like ‘Hey, you have something in your moustache’ he’d be like ‘Hm. Saving it for later.’”


My informant acknowledged that he had heard this as a running joke from other people with thick facial hair. His grandfather was the person that he heard it most consistently from. We agreed that this was predominantly a running joke for older men- a “dad joke” that carried over into grandfatherhood and older. My informant interpreted the joke as a stock response to disarm and make light of the potential embarrassment.


The prevalence of this joke is what piqued my interest with this entry. It’s not an overly clever joke, a story that you can teach another to tell, or overtly based in identity like many widely proliferated jokes are. The greatest potential for meaning came from its folk group, older men with thick facial hair. This is a group united by its masculinity. This joke could be interpreted as a shrugging off of embarrassment, as my informant and I initially thought, that also celebrates the speaker’s masculinity, messiness, and lack of care. 

British Bus Driver Joke



*Speaking in an artificial British accent*

Bus driver pulls up to a bus stop, opens the door, looks out and there’s a guy standing there. This guy has one leg, three eyes, no arms. 

So the bus driver looks at him and says, “Aye aye aye, you look ‘armless.” 

Background: The informant was born in Canada and spent most of his life in America. The joke was originally told to him by his Welsh father who has a natural British accent. The joke reminds the informant of his childhood, a time when he didn’t understand the joke but still enjoyed his father saying it to him. 

Context: The piece was collected while I stayed with the informant and his family during a state mandated stay-at-home order. We are very good friends and have known each other for a long time, making the performance very casual. He and I were about to sit down for dinner with both of his parents when he turned to me and posed the joke before saying it to his dad and asking if he remembered it. The piece was collected in its natural performance setting. 

Analysis: The humor of the joke relies on an understanding of the phrase “Aye aye aye” being a homonym of “eye eye eye”. This is comical due to the potential interpretation of the phrase as both a British greeting and a reference to the man’s three eyes. The second part of the joke relies on the usage of the British accent to omit the /h/ phoneme in “harmless” so that it sounds identical to the word “armless,” referencing the man’s lack of arms. While the joke isn’t considered overwhelmingly humorous to the informant and audience, conjuring a smile rather than a laugh, the informant retells it as a memory of his father and British heritage. For me, hearing the joke was joyful because it symbolized family and quintessential “dad humor.”

Harry Poter Joke

Main Piece

The following is transcribed from a joke told to myself, GK, by the informant, CZ. 

CZ: How does Harry Potter get down a hill? 

GK: I don’t know. How?

CZ: J.K. Rolling

Background: The informant is a 20 year old, who is a huge Harry Potter fan. He claims to have found this joke online, and loves to tell it because “it’s such a stupid joke”. If you are not a Harry Potter fan, the joke is J.K. Rolling is the author of the series, and the joke is simply just playing off her last name. 

Context: The informant and I discussed this joke over Face Time. 

My Thoughts: For me, this joke would qualify as a “Dad Joke”. I say this because the joke is really short, and the only reason it brings out laughter is because it’s so unoriginal and unfunny. However, I feel like “Dad Jokes” are becoming more popular amongst the younger generation. I say this because over the past couple of years, they’ve become their own category of jokes, and have a certain style that differs them from other jokes. The style I am talking about is, how the recipient is usually laughing at the person who is telling the joke rather than the joke itself.  The dynamic of the “Dad Joke” is certainly interesting in that way.