The Power of Low-Stakes Humor

The internet might have destroyed April Fools’ Day, but we can still have fun the rest of the year.

A kid laughing
Petrovich Nataliya / Shutterstock

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The internet was not exactly built to accommodate April Fools’ Day. As my colleague Megan Garber put it in 2015, our digital platforms don’t tend “to distinguish between stories and facts, between the earnest and the satirical.” And online misinformation has only become darker and more rampant in the years since Megan published her article. What was once a spring day for low-stakes fun has become a headache-inducing series of tests to figure out what’s real and what’s not.

If you’re one of those people who has managed to uphold the innocence of April Fools’ Day even in 2023, don’t let us ruin your fun. But we’ll spend today’s newsletter thinking about the range of low-stakes humor that exists in our daily lives—such as the nonsensical jokes of a child or the too-obvious jokes of a dad—and the joy this humor can bring.

On Humor

The Dad-Joke Doctrine

What’s black and white and read all over? This article, hopefully.

Knock Knock. Who’s There? Kids. Kids Who? Kids Tell Terrible Jokes.

There’s some logic behind their hilariously bad attempts at humor.

The Link Between Happiness and a Sense of Humor

Humor is serious business for happiness—but the type of humor matters.

Still Curious?

Other Diversions


I’ll leave you with a joke the writer Ashley Fetters used to make regularly when she was 4 years old:

“Knock, knock.”

“Who’s there?”


“Guitar who?”

“Guitar if you don’t have a house!”

Don’t spend too long pondering that one this weekend.

— Isabel