Dad jokes are the family-friendly, groan-worthy puns and one-liners that fathers all over the world can’t help but tell. Whether they’re about the “two sheep that walk into a bar” or a play on words that sounds more like a marinade than an insult, these cringe-worthy zingers are beloved (or loathed) for their cheesiness.
But that’s not the only reason to love or hate them — a new study suggests they’re actually good for you. Researchers found that kids who are exposed to more dad jokes grow up to be less self-conscious and have better social skills. They also develop more resilient emotions, thanks to the practice of overcoming embarrassment.
That’s because dad jokes make children laugh, even when they’re a little embarrassed by them. Rather than letting their shame deter them, they use humor to bond with their parents and connect with other people. Then, they keep bringing that same pun to the table year after year, hoping they’ll eventually get it right.
But there’s a reason these puns aren’t always funny, and that’s their predictability. When you hear a dad joke, you know it’s coming and can roll your eyes or groan before its punchline, because we’ve heard it all before. That’s why it’s not just about the content of the joke; how you deliver it is equally important. It’s all part of the dad joke lore, which dates back millions of years. It’s the natural inclination for fathers to tease their offspring and create laughter, just as they’ve been doing since the beginning of our species.