The dad joke is a time-honored tradition. It likely goes back to the dawn of humanity, middle-aged cavemen making bad puns about sabre-toothed tigers and woolly mammoths, and stretches through centuries upon centuries of seismic global changes to the present day, largely unaltered. It’s only fitting, then, that modern dads, looking to adapt their art to new trends, have clearly identified the online prank video as a rich “comedic” vein.
Take, for example, this prime dad joke: a daughter cheats at Mario Kart, which is a low-stakes videogame that nobody honestly cares about, maybe once, probably a year or two ago. The dad will not let this go, very likely makes jokes about it at every available opportunity. Then, sensing a prime opportunity to take his brand of child-rearing humor viral, he escalates.
Knowing his 13 year-old daughter Vivian is anxiously awaiting a response to her arts school application, the dad deploys his joke at a heightened emotional moment, crafting a faux rejection letter that centers on Mario Kart cheating, and rolls camera on the moment of truth.
It’s a real groaner. A dad joke par excellence.
The joke, lest anyone think it’s truly mean, pays off with Vivian opening the second, real letter and finding she’s actually been accepted after all, Kart sins or no. Joyful laughter, hugs, jumping up and down, and the ultimate dad affirmation (“I’m proud of you”) all follow. The payoff to his joke secure, all is well, and the dad goes back into waiting, likely saving up further references to poor videogame conduct for high school and college graduation toasts, wedding speeches, and offhand quips during every major holiday to come.
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