Wikipedia doesn't often get it wrong, but when it does it fails spectacularly.

Take, for instance, its entry under "Dad joke" which it would have you believe "is a pejorative term used to describe a corny, unfunny, or predictable joke, typically a pun".

That's rich. Wikipedia may be good at a lot of things but no one's ever accused it of being able to tell one end of a joke from the other.

As a dad and someone who likes to think of himself as a bit of a jokester, I take exception to this.


It's said that to talk about a joke is to render it unfunny. Well, sure, if you're letting Wikipedia do the talking.

According to the formerly reliable online encyclopaedia: "One of the most common 'dad jokes' goes as follows. A child will say to the dad, 'I am hungry'. To which the dad will reply, 'Hi, Hungry, I am Dad'."

Clearly they've deliberately chosen an inferior example of the genre in order to support their overall agenda of dad-joke bashing.

The dad joke is in fact one of the supreme forms of humour, as proved by its ability to endure across millennia and vast distances. It crosses racial and social boundaries and can be found in all cultures and classes.

An inquiry on - its own name a bit of a dad joke - about cross-cultural dad jokes quickly turned up examples in Hebrew, Indonesian and Spanish. One classic: "Dime algo."


That one still cracks me up.

Dad jokes can have a considerable economic benefit. Whole entertainment franchises have been built on them, notably the Police Squad/Naked Gun series starring Leslie Nielsen. Family Guy is an extended dad joke at the highest level.

Jesus himself, though not a father in the traditional sense, was not above the odd dad joke. In fact he used one to get Christianity off the ground when, putting the apostle in charge, he said to Peter - whose name is also the word for "rock" in the original: "You are Peter (a rock) and on this rock (Peter) I will build my church."

Dad jokes are not only low-cost and inclusive, with minimal impact on the environment, they can also be turned out pretty quickly - something to do with low expectations of quality.

I sometimes worry that people think I am as stupid as the character I play in the jokes but this is a minor concern compared to the amount of joy I bring. Or try to.

Even though most of my children have left home, thanks to social media, no dad joke need go wasted.

They are extended to a wide family of enthusiasts. Where else would I have got to wonder aloud: "When the Evers-Swindells won all those medals did we reach peak twins?‬"

And I can enjoy the dad jokes of people who aren't my dad, such as when Dick Frizzell posts a 1983 still life he painted and captions it "just to keep things in perspective".

Dad jokes are part of the glue that holds a family together, if only by uniting the children in a common front against them.

In general we need to take every opportunity to laugh we can get - no matter how desperate. So dad jokes are to be encouraged and honoured, because life would be duller without them and a dad-joke free family would almost certainly be dysfunctional in many other ways.

Meanwhile, I'm off to edit a certain entry on Wikipedia and give it a piece of my mind - probably the amygdala.