I think many of us (long-suffering waitresses aside) will agree that dads can be pretty funny. And that humor, for better or for worse, is definitely absorbed by their young, impressionable kids. My own father has always appreciated a good pun, and at this point pun-lore is so ingrained in me that when the opportunity to make a terrible pun comes along, I am physically unable to hold back, and have to yell it out (and then turn red and apologize and grumble to myself, “Darn it, Dad!”).
Father’s Day is fast approaching, and with it the familiar dread of what to get the funny father figure in your life. And don’t say, “A tie, and a jokey card about easy chairs and golf.” We both know you can do better. Here, for example, are 7 funny books that funny dads of all stripes will appreciate. After all, laughter is the best dad-icine! (Darn it, Dad.)
For the Dad Who Has Seen Things: Dad is Fat, by Jim Gaffigan
Jim Gaffigan and his wife went and had five young children in a two-bedroom apartment in Manhattan, and somehow he lived not only to tell the tale, but to sit down and write a book about it. And what a book—Dad is Fat is a hilarious, insightful, and yes, heart-warming look at parenting from the perspective of a comedian and family man who has been in the trenches of childrearing. Best of all, Gaffigan manages to be funny while keeping it clean—and when it comes to experiences we share with parents, keeping things g-rated is always an added bonus. (Remember the time you accidentally took your folks to see Eyes Wide Shut because you thought it was a musical comedy? I rest my case.)
For the Dad Who Enjoys a Good Sight-Gag: Confessions of the World’s Best Father, by Dave Engledow
After the birth of his daughter, Alice Bee, ambitious new parent Dave Engledow began to take a series of photographs chronicling his heroic, bewildering, and often hazardous efforts to ensure that his adorable young toddler mastered a number of important life skills, including boxing, deep-frying a turkey, giving a haircut, and basic carpentry. The resulting rich, detailed and deeply funny portraits are as striking as they are silly. No Alice Bees were harmed in the making of this book (but the same can likely not be said for any Dave Engledows).
For your Friend, the New Dad: This is Ridiculous, This is Amazing, by Jason Good
The perfect gift for the brand new dad who has everything except time, the hope of ever getting any sleep, and any idea what he is doing, comedian Jason Good’s sweet, savvy little tome This is Ridiculous This is Amazing is a bittersweet, biting collection of 71 lists to help you through every parenting situation. From the inventive “Games You Can Play While Lying Down” to the lifesaving “Safe Places to Eat Cookies,” fathers of young (or not-so-young anymore) children will laugh, ruefully shake their heads, and immediately go to a secret new place to eat their cookies. The best part? Although each one packs a punch, the lists are brief enough for you to read in between removing a tootsie roll from a tiny ear and unwrapping a toddler from around your legs.
For the Dad who Relishes Satire and Parody: Dear Luke, We Need to Talk, Darth: And Other Pop Culture Correspondences, by John Moe
A brilliant collection of imagined correspondence from various pop cultural icons—everyone from Darth Vader, to Gilligan, to the ghosts from Pac Man, these sweet, irreverent, and fiendishly clever essays will have even the most stoic pater chuckling in his easy chair. If you have dad to thank (or blame) for your sense of humor, this book is the perfect gift. (Just wait until he’s read it first before asking if you can borrow it—what were you, raised by wolves?)
For the Dad Who Wants Everyone to Get Off His Lawn: Not Cool: The Hipster Elite and Their War on You, by Greg Gutfeld
Has your dad had enough of everyone’s sass? Is he tired of the fact that what’s “cool” keeps changing the minute he figures out exactly what it is? Then he’ll doubtless enjoy this incendiary and uproarious book by humorist and non-guff-taker Greg Gutfeld. In a series of sharp, incisive essays, Gutfeld challenges what he calls the “culture of cool”—namely, those celebrities, politicians, and other so-called popular people who dictate for what’s “in” and what’s “out” these days. If you want your dad to grumble, shake his head, and read passages aloud to you, get him this book. If you don’t want him to do that, get him this book and then put on your headphones and listen to that newfangled rap ‘n’ roll turned up really loud.
For the Dad Who Loves to Argue About Politics: President Me: The America that’s In My Head, by Adam Carolla
Radio personality and comedian Adam Carolla has some common sense advice for our leaders—served with a side of snark, of course. Carolla remembers the good old days, and believes he’s just the man to lead us back to them. With hardline positions on such hot-button issues as traffic, the TSA, and even parenting, this acerbic, occasionally outrageous (but also surprisingly cogent and well-argued) book will give you and the dad in your life something new (and a little more fun) to argue about.
For the Dad Who Taught you to Love the Funnies: Batter Up, Charlie Brown and The Complete Peanuts 1950-1952, by Charles M. Schulz
Is there anyone who didn’t love (and doesn’t continue to love) Charles M. Schulz’s timeless Peanuts comic strip series? I’d like to see hands, please. For a delightful walk down memory lane, The Complete Peanuts 1950-1952 features the initial years of the award-winning strip, when the gang was first introduced (as infants!) and the characters began to come into their own. Batter Up, Charlie Brown is a collection of baseball-themed Peanuts comics featuring three complete stories revolving around the travails of Charlie Brown’s ragtag team of players—including Lucy, Linus, Snoopy, Pigpen, and more. Both collections are good for hours of enjoyment of the wry, gentle humor that countless generations grew up reading. I love Peanuts, you love Peanuts, dad will love Peanuts. Why are we all still standing here?
What are some more funny books Dad would love?