Enough with the 'dad jokes', mums can love a lame punchline too

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock 

I am the most irritating kind of parent: I am not funny, but I like to think I'm funny – and I tell a lot of cheesy jokes. It all starts when the children are small, and you have a captive audience. They haven't heard jokes before, so anything you do or say is hilarious.

Your children haven't seen a lot of stand-up or TV comedy, so they can't possibly compare you to the comedy stylings of Tina Fey or Hannah Gadsby.

Hell, you can blow a raspberry and get belly laughs for days.

So it's been a gradual process that my children have started to groan and roll their eyes when I roll out a pun, or rifle through the back catalogue of the jokes in my brain to some good clean riddles I thought were hilarious in my youth.

What's brown and sticky?

A stick!

See, hilarious.

Why don't cannibals eat clowns?

Because they taste funny.


You see my point: I am not a funny woman, but I love a good laugh. And with my three children having not yet learned the art of telling a joke with the punchline last, I feel like the comedy is up to me in our single-parent household.

My problem is that my kids insist on referring to my humour as "dad jokes".

As a feminist, I have a problem with this. I have gently explained to them, several times, that either parent can tell a lame joke, not just dads.

"Mums can be just as unfunny and cringe-worthy as dads, you know!" I've exclaimed to nobody in particular, ad nauseam. "Why can't they be known as mum jokes?"

My children, of course, just roll their eyes and do that patronising, "Okay mum" thing.

Eventually, my eldest, a teen just brimming with attitude (is there any other kind?), kindly explained to me that mum jokes are different to dad jokes.

"How?" I asked.

"These two guys walk into a bar, a sailor and a priest," he started. "No, wait, it was a sailor and a cowboy. Maybe it was three guys? Yes, a sailor and a priest and a cowboy. Anyway, the sailor says to the bartender, 'Hey bartender' - he's talking to the bartender - 'Hey bartender, give me a--' Hang on, maybe it was the cowboy. Okay, let me start again…

"So, these three guys walk into a bar, a sailor a cowboy and a priest. The priest says to the bartender – hold on, what does the priest do? Maybe there's no priest. I need to think about this for a moment. Anyway, it's really funny, you're going laugh so hard."

I was shocked. "That's what you think of my jokes?" I asked.

My teenager said, "That's what a mum joke is. The jokes you tell are dad jokes."

"So hang on, let me get this straight," I fumed. "Dads tell lame jokes, but at least they have a punchline, while mums can't tell jokes at all?"

My teenager shrugged. "I don't make the rules, Mum, but if it makes you feel any better, either way, your jokes aren't funny."

Thanks, kid.

So I'm making it my mission now to drum into my kids that the jokes I tell are mum jokes, not dad jokes.

And if that means I have to keep on telling jokes every day and then talking about them in some excruciating post mortem afterwards, then damn it, that's what I'll do.

I will tell lame, unfunny jokes until the cows come home, but they will all have a punchline.

And at least my children will be schooled in the combined art of lame comedy and feminism, all at once.