Wisconsin's favorite dad jokes, from classic one-liners to groaners only a father could love
Dad jokes from Wisconsin readers Caitlin Shuda/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin, Wochit
It’s no secret that fathers have a knack for a special kind of humor – that groan-worthy one-liner that screams Dad Joke.
We know this from personal experience.
When USA TODAY Network-Wisconsin reporter Melissa Siegler says she's running to the store, her dad reminds her she should drive instead. It's much faster.
Robert Zizzo, Wisconsin regional sports editor and father of three, always responds to the phrase “C’est la vie” by saying “La vie.”
And there are plenty of dad jokes outside our newsrooms. We turned to our readers all over the state to ask for their best, or worst.
In honor of Father's Day, here are our readers' favorites.
A nose for winter
Laurie Friedman Fannin of Hortonville told us her husband and son have a favorite joke every winter. After the first snowfall, Laurie’s husband will ask the same question of his son.
“What did one snowman say to the other?”
Laurie said she and and her daughter will roll their eyes and wait for the reply.
“Do you smell carrots?”
The Lord helps those who buy a ticket
Connie Milz of Milladore told us about her father, Ralph Schmitt of Loyal, and the joke he always told.
A man prayed to the Lord to allow him to win the lottery.
“You could help me just a bit if you would purchase a lottery ticket,” the Lord told the man.
'Let’s go by McDonald’s'
Nancy Schlies told us she grew up in the 1960s just outside of Green Bay, and driving into the city was a big deal. It was during those trips that she and her brother and sister learned a lesson from their father about saying what they meant.
They would be picking up groceries or running errands along Main Street when the siblings would hope to stop for a hamburger at Henri’s or McDonald’s.
“Let’s go by Henri’s or McDonald’s for a burger,” the children would shout.
Dad would drive straight past the restaurants, pointing out they just went by both places as requested. The children learned to ask to go into the restaurants.
“Memories are of long ago, but it taught us a quick lesson on how to use correct wording of what your intention truly was,” Nancy wrote.
A joke given to charity
Karen Bugni from Marshfield said her daughter, Gina, used to ask Karen’s husband, Joe, if he’d like to contribute to the “Gina is Poor Charity.”
“Only if you contribute to the Dad Will Be Reimbursed Fund,” he would reply with his hands out.
'They didn’t turn out at all'
Tracy Johnson from Port Edwards told us her father, David Johnson from Wisconsin Rapids, has a whole arsenal of dad jokes. She shared a few with us.
One year, her parents had a garden. Her father would tell people he planted potatoes, but that they hadn’t turned out at all. Everyone would share condolences and say how disappointing it was.
“Nope, they didn’t turn out at all,” he would reply. “I had to dig them out.”
Her dad would also share his secret to prevent going bald – you simply knot your hair from the inside.
“Dad can fall asleep in his recliner at the drop of a hat,” Tracy wrote. “If you ask him if he’s sleeping, he will tell you he’s just checking his eyelids for holes.”
You can't get to Oshkosh, by gosh
Tom Nevers from Oshkosh told us about his father, a traveling salesman.
One day, his dad was lost in a rural area, so he stopped and asked a farmer for directions.
“How do I get to Oshkosh?” he asked.
The farmer thought for a minute.
“Go down to the next crossroad and turn right … no, turn left … no, go straight … no, turn … By gosh you can’t get there from here,” the farmer replied.
Tom’s dad had a second go-to joke about a friend who went ice fishing one day.
Tom’s father asked his friend if he had any luck.
“No, and I’ll never ice fish again,” the man said. “It takes too long to cut a hole in the ice big enough for the boat.”
'Is your hair green?'
Bob Brooks from Appleton shared a joke from his father.
“Is your hair green?” an old lady asked a young boy.
He brushed his hand from his nose up through his hair.
“No, it’s (s)not,” he replied.
Sad news about Gimmee
Nickie Brown from Sheboygan said when she was a child, she always wanted something.
“Give me some money for candy,” she would ask. “Give me a ride to the park.”
One day, her father answered “Gimmee died.”
“It took me a while to figure out who ‘gimmee’ was,” Nickie told us. “I still use that response with my grandchildren today.”
A bald statement
Ron Solberg Jr. from Medina shared a comeback line his father has used since the 1980s.
When Ron’s dad was in his 40s, he started inheriting the family trait of a thinning, receding hairline. Once in a while, a friend or sibling would comment about it to Ron’s dad.
“Well, as the saying goes, God only made so many perfect heads,” Ron’s dad would say. “And then He put hair on the rest!”
A fruitful doctor's visit
Duke Charnholm from Green Bay told us whenever his dad would go to the doctor, the family would always ask him what the doctor told him.
“He would always say ‘You can buy green bananas,’” Duke wrote.
A fork in the road to heaven
Dale Marzynski of Woodruff shared this joke with us.
“Three men in heaven were discussing how they got into heaven.
“The first man, a rabbi, indicates that throughout his life, he fought discrimination, attempting to treat all mankind alike.
“The second, a priest, indicates he continually helped the poor and abused.
“The third states ‘I am in heaven today because I stuck a fork in the toaster,'” Dale wrote.
'Dad, will you make us a shake?'
Jessica and Jaimie Stein from Green Bay shared two of their favorites growing up.
They always loved their dad’s homemade chocolate shakes.
“Dad, will you make us a shake?” they would ask.
Their father would come up to them, grab them by their shoulders and shake.
“Abracadabra! You’re a shake!”
“Thirty years later, and we’ve come to appreciate his best (and worst) jokes,” Jessica and Jaimie wrote. “A personal favorite of his goes like this: What’s brown and sticky? A stick.”
'The nectar of the gods'
John Mattern from Sheboygan told us about his father, Robert Mattern, who always told his favorite joke.
“A local man was always bragging about how great his favorite beer was,” John wrote. “He drank it, his friends drank it, as did the entire neighborhood. He described the beer as ‘nectar of the gods.’ After a while, another friend asked why it was so wonderful. He told the local man, ‘Why don’t you send in a sample to the university to get the beer analyzed?’
“The man said, ‘I will do that!’
“Two weeks later, he received a response from the lab: ‘Dear sir. We are sorry to inform you that your horse has diabetes.’”
'If it looks like a duck…'
Elspeth Tibbets from Sturgeon Bay told us that her father, Frank Newman was a treasure and outstanding leader when he worked in the forestry department in Canada.
“He was so kind and helpful to all who worked for him at the St. Williams Forestry Station,” she wrote. “He had a wit and many sayings to go with. My favorite was ‘If it looks like a duck, waddles like a duck – it must be a duck.’”
'I don’t want to do this!'
Often, fatherly jokes also pair well with fatherly wisdom.
Louanne Crowder from Green Bay told us about one occasion in particular when her father’s advice became a lifelong lesson.
“It was my job to sweep out the two-stall garage every week,” Louanne wrote. “There was mostly road dust and the occasional dried leaf. I remember looking at Dad while sweeping and saying ‘I don’t want to do this!’
“He looked at me and replied, ‘You don’t have to want to.’
“It took me a moment to digest that, but it stuck with me ever since.”