Comedian Philip Simon’s just published a kids joke book. On the face of it it’s just a stocking filler but it might also be a manual for lockdown dads
The end is in sight. The end of this cursed year. And more importantly, away from a turn of the calendar, perhaps the end of the pandemic.
Nothing much really changes when the clock ticks past midnight on December 31 of course. But the sense of an ending brings on a couple of big ticket brainstorms for many working dads I think. Firstly looking back at what’s been quite the year. And secondly pondering how they are going to get through this unique Christmas experience and keep the kids entertained.
A new book synthesises both these threads. A joke book. Philip Simon’s a comedian who occasionally contributes to this site. He’s written about the horror of seeing his entire industry shut back in March. Many men still define themselves by their work. Philip’s an active and equal parent but he had questions about both his career and his identity after he was effectively rendered unemployed.
And then he just kept himself busy. He set up a podcast, a YouTube project and he gathered together some really ripe jokes. The Schools Out Comedy Club saw kids send in their own jokes that Philip would then read out on screen. You know you want some examples:
Why did the alien want to leave the party? Because the atmosphere wasn’t right.
What do cats put in soft drinks? Mice cubes
Why did the cookie go to the doctor? Because he was feeling really crummy
All raise a titter. All at least make sense (unlike those collated in the weird Kids Write Jokes Twitter feed). And Philip has now published them all in a book profits from which will go to food poverty charity FareShare (You can buy it here).
The whole episode speaks to the working dad experience in 2020. And perhaps more fundamentally to the essence of fatherhood.
When the world was turned upside down Philip found something to do, looked to navigate it, keep occupied and hold it together. And key to success was some really naff jokes. If there’s one thing all fathers have in common it’s corny dad jokes.
2020’s been hard and discombobulating but dads have been able to draw strength from their often remarkably resilient and always awesome children.
And looking ahead to the next tricky of couple of weeks Philip’s joke book offers a template to work off. Get on with it, improvise, bring humour to the situation and we might just make it through.
This year has been no joke. Yet a joke book might just sum up the experience for working dads better than anything.