Those of us are accomplished at dad jokes are accustomed to the rolling eyes, face palms and sneers that are the stock response to our creations from those who have neither the wit or the will to understand. “Cruel and unusual punishment” they moan. “Puns are the lowest form of humour” they cry.
But wait, there’s more. Let’s have a closer look at the dad joke.
‘Normal’ jokes are malicious. The basis of ‘normal’ comedy is mocking someone’s misfortune or perceived weakness, thereby diminishing them. This recognition is nothing new, millennia ago it was propounded by Aristotle that comedy focused on personal “weaknesses and foibles”. ‘Normal’ jokes rely on and reinforce stereotypes and prejudice. Behind the laughter there is cruelty, and it’s personal.
Dad jokes are benign. Their basis is exploring words and meanings and ideas and how they play nicely together. Dad jokes celebrate collaboration and creativity. Behind the laughter is delight. Which is why it appears in silhouette.
Dad jokers are special people (and they don’t have to be dads) who have the skill and ability to appreciate context, to interrogate and comprehend language, ideas and meanings, to recognise and interpret patterns and trends and explore the ways in which all these things can be recombined into something new and then deliver it, all in an instant. It’s more than an art, it’s chemistry or, more likely, alchemy. It’s Mohammed Ali in ballet shoes and a wizard’s cloak. These people walk amongst us.
I contend therefore that because all these marvellous qualities express themselves in the form of dad jokes, that makes dad jokes an excellent predictor of someone’s ability to think differently, to derive profound insights and imagine innovative responses to satisfy business needs. To add value. Who wouldn’t want someone like that in their enterprise?
So, if you’re prospecting for talent, think a bit different and ask a question like “what gives you delight?”. If the answer is something like “dinner with friends” then demur politely and move on. If, on the other hand, the answer is “de switch on de wall” you know you’ve got a live one. Play your cards right and add a dad joker to your pack because, like Parmesan, they’re the gratest.