Basically, how do you describe the feeling you have when you hear a joke that is just terrible but you still laugh, despite hating the fact that you're laughing the entire time? Dad jokes would be a prime example of this.

There are plenty of words that can represent these types of jokes (lame joke, cheesy, dry, etc.) but I'm looking for the reaction of the listener. Any ideas?

  • 1
    My aunts always just groan when one of the uncles makes a pun... According to ISO 9001, this is only a valid response to puns, but it's often used for other jokes, too. Welcome to the site, anyhow.
    – Conrado
    Jun 13, 2020 at 18:53
  • 1
    How specific do you need it to be? Guilty pleasure?
    – Laurel
    Jun 13, 2020 at 18:54
  • 1
    Thanks for the welcome, Conrado! I like "groan", this might be close to what I'm looking for.
    – Bat Man
    Jun 13, 2020 at 19:01
  • 1
    reluctant laughter
    – Xanne
    Jun 13, 2020 at 19:59
  • 2
    Cringe or facepalm Jul 14, 2020 at 18:33

4 Answers 4


You had the answer at the tip of your tongue: humoring. When you hear a bad joke--maybe even a horrible opinion, a stranger's conversation starter, a boss's reprimand--then you humor that person by giving the expected response (a laugh, a nod, a smile, a sorry expression) even if your heart really isn't into it. Humoring is used as a verb.

So instead of a reaction, try to frame your thought as an action: "I humored dad when he started the knock knock joke by making sure I would laugh at his punchline, whatever it would be."

  • I agree that's probably the closest we can get to what I'm thinking. The only aspect that "humoring" leaves out is the fact that the listener thinks the joke actually does have some merit. I think you could be humored and find quality in the joke but not necessarily... I had enough reputation, I would up-vote your answer :)
    – Bat Man
    Jun 13, 2020 at 21:03
  • Oh I see. Perhaps then using "glorify," as in, "Dad's knock knock joke was just OK, but I glorified it by exaggerating my laugh since it was his birthday."
    – EBWired
    Jun 13, 2020 at 21:20

I'm afraid "Humoring" won't do. That is what you do to get along with the joke teller. To stall and move the situation to some other subject.

Unfortunate is the description of the joke and your reaction. When you actually find the distasteful joke funny, and laugh, despite your knowledge and sophistication it can be politely called Unfortunate. Meaning that it's really too bad, shameful in fact, that it is so funny since it is truly unforgivable in its humorous power. This incorporates the begrudging respect/admiration you mentioned above. We must keep a respect for humor, begrudging or otherwise, if we are to survive.


How about in spite of? From Lexido:

in spite of: Without being affected by the particular factor mentioned.


I laughed at my Dad's joke in spite of how bad it was.

In spite of implies that you recognize how bad the joke is but you can't keep from laughing at it anyway. Your positive reaction is not affected by the joke's recognized badness.


It really was a silly joke, but something about it or the way you told it just struck me funny.

strike (one) (as) funny

To cause one to laugh or be amused; be humorous or silly to one. Farlex Dictionary of Idioms

"What political office does a horse run for" I asked.
"Mare," Uncle Jack said, straight-faced.
For some reason, the joke struck me funny. I laughed till the tears came to my eyes. Beverly Lewis; Holly's Heart Collection One

"I'm sorry, it may be the worst joke ever."
"Oh, well, struck me funny." Varley O'Connor; The Master's Muse

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