Photo: Mila Supinskaya Glashchenko/Shutterstock

The Shocking Science Behind Dad Jokes

by Alex Yenni Mar 25, 2014

HERE’S A NOT-SO-FUNNY JOKE for you: What has two legs, is recently married with a child, and has the sense of humor of a Mormon camp counselor? Answer: all my friends.

If you’re like me, and you’ve noticed a precipitous drop in edginess, and a dramatic increase in corniness amongst recent dads, you’re not alone. Welcome to the phenomenon of Dad Jokes.

We’ve all heard them. But perhaps nobody is more viscerally aware of this change than the single 30-somethings out there, the ones forced to stand idly by and watch this slow death of sophistication; to watch the wildest guys in the room slowly become unfunny husks of their former selves. It’s like watching a clown car careening off a cliff.

And apparently, science agrees.

It’s long been suspected that testosterone and humor in men are locked into some sort of loose but direct correlation. In fact, the British Medical Journal confirmed that assumption with just such a study. Another thing that science has confirmed? That the arrival of kids delivers a swift kick to the manliness factory: namely, testosterone production.

That new baby is super adorable and smells great, right? Well, what you’re holding is the Manchurian candidate of man-vibes. What you’re smelling are pheromones, honed biologically over millennia as an evolutionary mechanism to lower your testosterone and keep you from straying. That baby’s survival depends on you not being out carousing with other cave women. Humankind doesn’t find those kind of antics funny. And that baby is there to shut the party down.

And thus, dad humor proliferates. It starts with the whitewashing of your Facebook feed. Razor-tongued repartee and quick-witted insults give way to G-rated puns and pathetically predictable punchlines. Once darkly hilarious musings are boiled down to mush. Vanilla-flavored mush. Pudding in fact. All life’s banalities and tired observational quips reduced to a tasteless custard of lameness.

Your kids aren’t just killing you. They’re killing me also.

Whether you choose to believe these findings is up to you, but the anecdotal evidence is rock solid. The verdict is in. Dads are lame. And one day, dear male reader, you’ll be one. One day I’ll be one. RIP to our dignity and charm.

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