Dad jokes are an anomaly in that they do come from your Dad, however the term joke is very loose. Does your Dad have the same jokes from when you were a kid? I am sure he does. But what are the cultural references they use?
For my Dad it is Fawlty Towers, Eric and Ernie, and Tommy Cooper. Just like that!
I have heard the same gags for 40 years but, thankfully, I still have some cultural knowledge of what the hell he is blabbering on about.
But what about our kids? Will they groan at our quips because they are on repeat or will they just sale over the their head anyway when we make jokes from League of Gentlemen or Vic and Bob?
Here is my rationale.
I grew up in the 1970s with three TV stations and, seemingly, only one radio station which was full of people we now know should be kept as far away from children as possible.
At that time TV was awash with comedians of our parent’s generation and radio was still in the dark ages when it came to new music. So our cultural references were the same as our parents.
Thankfully technology, and young people with talent, emerged and we could grasp emphatically at our own culture. Our parents had no idea about this as they just saw it as young people being loud and shut it out by shoving ripped up Daily Mail’s in their ears.
But what this gave us was our reference from our own time plus a back catalogue of culture, in inverted commas, from our parent’s generation.
Fast forward twenty years to today, where music and culture is all over the place, and all that information has made younger people relatively clueless about past generations.
I knew Elvis, The Beatles and Gary Glitter (!!) but these were not my generation. Ask an 18 year old about Prince, Queen or Erasure (no idea why they popped in my head) and they wont have a clue.
In their defence, and in the aid of research, I had a look at the Spotify top 40 over Christmas and I only recognized one band or song. St Winifred’s School Choir. What does that say about my cultural knowledge of today?
In my defence, I have never been a chart or mainstream type so for the last 20 years I have lived in Indie world.
So, in 20 or 30 years time, when Dads all sit together in a pub with their kids, will WE even have the same cultural dad jokes. Or will our kids look bamboozled when we turn with a mad face to them and utter ‘you’re mine now!’