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There is no greater fear than seeing the setup for a truly atrocious pun and then seeing a dad grin and proceed to make the most heinous joke you have heard all year. But love it or hate it, the “dad joke” is a mainstay of internet humor. 

This Instagram page gathers and shares memes about fatherhood and “dad jokes” that perfectly encapsulate what being a parent is really like. So get comfortable and make sure you get a chair first, be sure to upvote your favorite (or least groan-worthy) posts and share your thoughts and observations in the comments section below. 

#1

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Chintan Shah
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4 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I'll lay with you... Over a short wide plate.. as they layer chips and toppings over us and we can be in heaven... I'll see myself out now

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While the original dad jokes are no doubt as old as time, the first recorded instance of the term “dad joke” comes from the Gettysburg Times (a very “Dad” sounding newspaper,) which in 1987 wrote, “Don't ban the 'Dad' jokes; preserve and revere them." Evidently, someone in that Pennsylvania town’s community had enough of horrible puns.

This is partially because, unlike traditional humor, dad jokes seem to exist only for the dad to enjoy. If anything, they might only feel that the joke landed if they managed to evoke a groan or eye-roll from their spouse or offspring. 

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Glenn Schroeder
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4 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

My grandfather could always find things that needed to be done outside when his sister-in-law was visiting. It was years later before I figured out that he just didn't like her.

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In this sense, a perfect dad joke is a balancing act, between making something so dumb and simplistic that it’s a chore to hear, but still registers are an attempt at humor. It should be unexpected not because the dad has some clever punch-line setup, but because what the dad says is so cosmically dumb, that a regular person wouldn’t even consider it for a second. 

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Jaya
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4 months ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Great, now I have Cats in the Cradle stuck in my head for the rest of the week. Edit: is it Cats or Cat's, should look that up sometime.

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Many dad jokes also rely on puns, the worse and more stretched, the better. Remember, the discomfort of the audience is the goal, not laughter. A topical example is as follows, “Question: What do a bed bug and the Eiffel Tower have in common? Answer: They're both Paris sites.” This is a great litmus test to see if you are prepared for fatherhood. 

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hitex
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4 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

...and she'll do it again when you don't listen next time

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Puns, for all the harm they may do to some of our brain cells, have been around since the dawn of civilization. Like with so many things, we can thank the ancient Egyptians for the idea of similar sounds being used together to create new meanings. However, instead of using them as jokes, Egyptians saw them as conveying mythological and divine power. So in a sense, Egyptian puns and modern dad jokes both could be a curse to the rest of us. 

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There are examples of puns in everything from ancient China to Mesopotamia and even Mayan records. This makes sense when you realize that, love them or hate them, human civilization needs fathers to continue. Thus, like a parasitic organism, the dad joke has been passed down through the ages to infect one generation after another. 

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Marcos Valencia
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4 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I have a 6 yo daughter... and it's difficult to resist to the emotional attacks. Like when I try to speak seriously to her and she goes "I love you, dad". WTH?

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At a certain level, dads begin to compete with each other to create the ultimate groan-worthy joke. Given that there are probably more dads than ever before in human history, this has perhaps led to a sort of dad-joke escalation, where constant competition improves the performance of all dads, much to the rest of the population’s dismay. 

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Of course, parenthood doesn’t just make dads masters of horrible puns and jokes, it is a huge learning moment. Besides parenting for the first time, being a dad allows an adult to re-see much of the world through the eyes of their offspring. And, surprise, surprise, it’s a good way to see just how many things sort of don’t make sense. For example, why are burgers getting higher and higher when the average human bite has remained static for years? 

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Gia SDP
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4 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It's me with my granddaughter, except there are also toys all over my lap and chair.

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Jaya
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4 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This is now my favorite joke on BP ever. I just can't stop laughing.

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Indeed, the less egregious variants of “dad humor” mostly come from attempting to explain things to curious kids, often with mixed results. On the one hand, adults do have a lot of knowledge and experience, on the other, how exactly do you explain the concept of death or a star to a five-year-old without revealing that you have a pretty limited understanding as well? 

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The regular response of many fathers is to simply make things up, perhaps most famously, the dad in “Calvin and Hobbes,” whose hair-brained explanations for curious Calvin work as a pretty effective punchline. Instead of rolling their eyes, true believers in “Dad humor” were no doubt taking notes. 

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Mama K K
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4 months ago

Nap-etizer!

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Joshua Moore
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4 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I used my Dad voice at a movie theater recently when a few teenagers behind us just wouldn't STFU and I finally had enough and I said in a stern voice "I don't know what you guys are doing back there, but would you knock it off, please and thank you." Someone else in the theater says "Yeah" Not a peep the rest of the movie.

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It’s often easier to appreciate dad moments and humor when there is a degree of separation. So if you are interested in more dad humor, Bored Panda has got you covered, check out our articles on “classic dad moves,” or perhaps peruse our list of memes that perfectly encapsulate the essence of fatherhood

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Brenda
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4 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I've contemplated one of those. I want my kids to be strong now when they're little so I can put them to work when they're older. Living on a farm, you've gotta be strong. Especially when there's wood to split.

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Child of the Stars
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4 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Going large print is awesome. I switched to large print recently, and I noticed less eye strain instantly.

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Bruce W.
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4 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

My father says, "A******s breed a******s." And life has taught me that he's 100% right.

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censorshipsucks
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4 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

probably your anniversary or her birthday. Suggest you put that s**t into your calendar reminder system.

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iBlank
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4 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

for me it was the die-cast metal transformers. I think they were actually designed for poking eyes out and probably coated in lead paint

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censorshipsucks
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4 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

don't. Just let them naturally collapse from exhaustion on the couch at midnight. Then wake them at 6am with a siren sound from youtube (as in air raid siren). When they protest yell in your best military sergeant voice "WAKEUP WAKEUP IT'S SCHOOLTIME" even if it is sunday.

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