According to Pew Research Center the millennial generation surpassed the number of ‘baby boomers’ in 2019. That being said, boomers may need to watch their backs and their ‘jokes’. Speaking of jokes, are boomer jokes okay for kids, who just happen to be boomers’ grandchildren and great-grandchildren?
Boomer humor can be just fine for kids, but it’s all about context and intention. Jokes between grandparent and great-grandparent boomers and their grandchildren can boost their relationship and bridge generation gaps, but it’s important that humor stay clean and avoid put downs on both sides.
To be clear, I’m not actually a boomer, but have ‘boomer’ parents. This means my kids and grandchildren see boomers as ‘really, really old’, and that’s not entirely untrue. It’s also true that humor is an excellent means for different generations to get to know one another. However, it can be used as a vice to divide, as well.
Let’s consider how the topic of boomer humor doesn’t have to divide, but can actually enhance multi-generational relationships.
I’ll explain, for those who’ve been living under a rock, what a boomer is; what’s meant by boomer humor; how being called a boomer can mean an insult (“Ok boomer!”); and some pros and cons to guide parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents regarding this humor with kids.
What is a boomer?
So before moving on, we need to make sure we are clear about ‘what’ is a boomer, or who is maybe the better question?
A boomer, according to Merriam-Webster, has several meanings actually. But the one that is referenced the most nowadays is “a person born during a baby boom,” being that this baby boom refers to the years 1946-1964, after the end of World War II, in which there was a rise in babies born.
Since ‘boomers‘ were born between the years of 1946 and 1964, this makes them today’s grandparents and great-grandparents of children.
|Bill Gates||Internet Mogul, known best for co-founding Microsoft|
|Donald Trump||the 45th President|
|Oprah Winfrey||Television Personality/Journalist|
|Michael Jordan||(former) #23 Basketball Player for Chicago Bulls|
|Rowan Atkinson||actor/comedian, famous for Mr. Bean|
|Jeff Bezos||Founder of ‘Amazon’ online company|
|Elizabeth Shue||Actress, known especially for the role of Ali in The Karate Kid|
|James Patterson||Author of kid series: Ali Cross; Daniel X; Dog Diaries; I Funny; and Middle School (among many others)|
|Drew Carey||Comedian and host of The Price is Right!|
|Ina Garten||Chef and host of TV cooking show, Barefoot Contessa|
|the late, Bob Saget||Comedian; original host of America’s Funniest Home Videos; and star of Full House|
|Angela Merkel||former leader of Germany|
And because boomers are the ‘oldest generation’ alive today for the most part, it makes sense that there can be a natural discrepancy between their likes; interests; concerns; and lifestyles than other generations, from their children (‘Generation X’…that’s me!) to their grandchildren (millennials born 1981-1995 and Generation Z born 1996-2010) and great-grandchildren (Alpha, born 2011-2025).
Today boomer is used to not only refer to a certain age bracket, but also a type of person, or a certain personality. A boomer connotes someone who is confident, independent, and self-reliant. But these traits also can be called: cocky; headstrong; and narrow-minded. And yes, boomer automatically implies an older person.
Thus, there lies the conundrum.
When boomers think themselves being confident and resilient, a millennial might call them pigheaded and stubborn.
More Fun Jokes articles similar to this one:
- 6 Tips On Making A Two (2) Year Old Laugh (Guaranteed)
- 9 Things That Toddlers Find Funny
- Is Non Sequitur Humor Suitable for Kids? (Teacher Explained)
What’s meant by boomer humor?
So now that a boomer is understood, what’s meant by boomer humor?
Boomer humor goes two ways. There’s the humor by boomers (born from 1946 til 1964), generally a mix of corny jokes; simplistic observations; and disgruntled complaints. Then, there are jokes about boomers, like ‘ok boomer’, a blend of good-natured ribbing and honest dissatisfaction of boomer traits.
One Kind of Boomer Comedian: There are some popular comedians who are of the boomer generation like Ray Romano, Jim Carrey, and Jerry Seinfeld.
Another Kind of Boomer Comedian: And then there are ‘Popular Boomer Comedians’ like Brad Upton; Jeff Allen; and Kim Kerley.
So what’s the difference, you ask?
Well, the former group are popular comedians just for being funny. They consist of a variety of comedians just like all comedians, only they are over age 58.
The latter are popular comedians for their boomer-focused humor. Their style of humor is about being a boomer, or about annoying things boomers don’t like, particularly focused on ‘the younger generations’ presented in a humorous manner.
Popular Boomer Humor Topics:
- The good ol days
- Making fun of ‘allergies’ or other illnesses and maladies
- Talking about their wives
- ‘Old school’ childrearing (like not childproofing your home or using car seats; and letting kids play outside unsupervised)
- State of education/government/economy…’today’
- Working hard and not whining
- Retirement life
- Being grandparents
- Restaurants, movies, entertainment…’today’
Now it’s possible for all comedians to have ‘bits’ and stand-up regarding the above topics, but true ‘boomer humor’ features them much more prominently, and zeros in on how it all relates to millennials.
Is it an insult to call someone a boomer?
One thing that usually comes to mind when thinking about boomer humor is the meme/slogan that went viral known as, #okboomer. What does ‘Ok boomer’ mean and is it meant as an insult to call someone ‘boomer’?
To call someone boomer can be considered an insult, but it really depends on intention. To say someone’s a boomer once might be okay, especially if it’s used as an innocent description or good-natured ribbing. However, it should be used with caution in the workplace since it can fall under ageism.
A few years back it became commonplace to hear ‘Ok boomer’ on social media, and even in the news. Apparently it went ‘viral’ or popular rather quickly. It was a reference to ‘old people’ being out-of-touch with societal issues and concerns that seemingly the rest of the world had, but boomers treated as non-issues or overblown.
To “go viral” is used in reference to Internet content which can be passed through e-mail and social media like Facebook, TikTok, Instagram and Twitter. It’s an image (picture or photo); video; or slogan that spreads quickly by being frequently shared with others, according to Urban Dictionary.
So whenever a boomer said something, to all appearances, flippantly about the environment, equality, or other social issues, millennials would respond, ‘Ok boomer’, as sort of a verbal eye roll. It was meant to shut them down without resorting to an argument.
It’s possible for someone to refer to an older person as ‘boomer’ without it being insulting. It’s like name-calling but if you name-call a friend or family member in jest and in the right context, it can be endearing and yes, funny.
However, calling someone boomer can certainly be intended as an insult, and in most cases is intended that way. This is particularly true if the two people involved aren’t close or are in the midst of a disagreement, even if the disagreement is over something light or trivial.
And for sure, calling someone a boomer in the workplace can actually open you up to reprimands, lawsuits, and even losing your job. This is because ageism is illegal and a definite form of discrimination.
Is boomer humor good or bad for kids?
Since boomer humor can be endearing or insulting, how can you discern if it’s good or bad for kids?
Boomer humor can be good for kids since kids like cheesy jokes typical of boomer humor, and can understand the simple, clear cut references and punchlines often used. However, boomer humor can sometimes deal with mature or controversial topics, which some parents could consider bad for their kids.
It all really depends on the parents’ family expectations, and what they think is good or bad for their kids to be exposed to. And on the kids. Parents may think some kids can handle it while others can’t.
In my expert opinion as a teacher and someone with a degree in human learning and behavior, I think parents know their kids best. So trust your gut.
But to be able to do this, you need to prep in advance when you can, by previewing material and vetting it for your kids. Or at the very least, watch the material together, or discuss it together, and then you’ll be able to ‘pull the plug’ if necessary or enjoy the laughs together!
Problems with Boomer Humor
So what are some common problems with boomer humor that parents (and grandparents/great-grandparents) should be aware of, then?
- Insults: Whether the humor is BY boomers or ABOUT boomers, boomer humor often falls under insults and being mean-spirited. And for kids particularly, you want to limit exposure to this behavior. We all know that kids will mimic what they hear and see, and you don’t really want to propagate bad behavior. Kids also have a hard time code-switching, or knowing when it’s okay to do ‘this’ or ‘that’ in one setting versus another, so again, teaching them that insults are okay can be problematic.
- Division: Often boomer humor divides, rather than brings people together. Since it is so focused on one mindset, or lifestyle, it can end up being alienating or discriminating. And considering many find boomer humor topics controversial, it’s wise to think about it carefully.
- Callousness: For some, the division turns to callousness instead of good-natured comedy. It makes light of real issues or concerns that can be quite serious and daunting, in some people’s opinions. I think we all can agree that the environment is important, for instance, and some might see boomer humor as acting like it’s not.
Benefits of Boomer Humor
What are the benefits of boomer humor?
There are actually quite a few benefits or positives regarding boomer humor, which is why, ultimately, I think it is good for kids.
Some of the good or positives with boomer humor are:
- Relationships: The worlds of little kids and senior citizens can seem as vast as the universe. Humor can bring those worlds together, even if it’s shallow or surface level. With kids and elderly laughing together, they can start to see each other as ‘real’ people, and that’s the first step to getting over disagreements or differences. And who can complain about strengthening family bonds?
- Educational: Listening to different viewpoints or experiences can be educational. It doesn’t mean you have to agree, but it’s helpful to learn different perspectives and ideas, if for nothing else, it can help you be stronger in your own beliefs. So boomer humor is a way to share differences and real, authentic history to educate.
- Well-being: Laughter is indeed the best medicine, in many cases. Humor is critical to our health: mentally, emotionally, and physically, so ‘clean and vetted’ humor should be considered positive.
Special Note: My special needs son is one very important reason that I believe ‘boomer humor’ is good for kids. Due to his limitations, Ethan often doesn’t get jokes, especially the ones using irony, wit, or satire. We usually explain them to him and sometimes after that, he’ll get the punchline. But typically he just shrugs and goes about his business. However, after one eventful night of playing YouTube videos of stand-up from Jeff Allen and Brad Upton, two prominent ‘boomer comedians,’ we discovered Ethan’s kind of humor! Our son immediately was able to understand this type of comedy and boy, did he laugh! He laughed so much tears came to his eyes and he was literally slapping his leg. Then I was laughing similarly…at him and with him! So boomer humor certainly has its positives, and its particular audience!
The Boomer Humor Punchline
The punchline on whether boomer humor is good for kids is yes, it is…and no.
Yes, boomer humor is good because it teaches kids about older adults, and that’s quite a significant feat. Kids learn about experiences, concerns, ideas, and wants of others who just may be seen as boring and uninteresting otherwise. And boomer humor also allows boomers to reach out and connect with younger generations in a low-stakes way…another win for the pro side!
Granted there are some drawbacks to boomer humor, including division and plain ol cheesiness, which isn’t necessarily the epitome of comedy.
With supervision, parents should feel fine exposing their kids to boomer humor, and with good intentions, grandparents and great-grandparents should feel good about sharing their humor with the littles!
To read more about age and humor, try these next from Fun Jokes: