A Ranking Of All the Different Versions of Ben Shapiro’s One Joke

The always smug Ben Shapiro thinks his one joke is hilarious.
The always smug Ben Shapiro thinks his one joke is hilarious. Jason Kempin/Getty
Since the dawn of social media, pseudo-intellectual dorks have been given a platform to air out their grievances against women, racial minorities and the LGBTQ+ community. Twitter is infested with them, and each one is prouder of their plunging IQ score than the last. We have to give props to Ben Shapiro, however, for rising above the competition and being the most insufferable of them all.

Shapiro is a columnist, author and host of the conservative commentary podcast The Ben Shapiro Show, but these accomplishments are mere footnotes in the extensive lore surrounding his online presence. Though he clearly considers himself a foremost political mind of his generation, he mostly just gives off the same vibe of a tenth grader who can’t believe that knowing a lot about the Civil War hasn’t gotten him laid yet. Shapiro is the answer to the age-old question, “What if Snow White met an eighth dwarf called Smarmy who’s thinking about taking the LSAT?”

He was also a key player in the conservative backlash against Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s “WAP,” contributing both a deeply cringe reading of the lyrics on his show and a tweet where he doesn’t seem to have any idea how sex works despite being married (and to a doctor). Judging by Shapiro's tweets, he also thinks about New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez more than everyone who actually lives in her district combined.

Shapiro clearly sees himself as a funny guy as well, though not for the reasons we just mentioned. He fancies himself a purveyor of sharp social commentary and sparkling wit, especially in the realm of his personal Twitter account. For example, he has a longstanding tradition of tweeting a joke every Mother’s Day (and some Father's Days) with some variation of “Happy Parent of Unspecified Gender Day” almost every year since 2013. The basic premise of the bit is an obvious dig at transgender people, but Shapiro occasionally switches it up and includes jabs at feminists and abortion activists well.

There’s a reason political comedy and satire feel consistently lackluster these days: People like Ben Shapiro will always be funnier, delivering real-time absurdity faster than anyone aiming to parody them can keep up with.

It may seem tired at this point, but we get it: A good joke takes time and practice to get right. And while Shapiro has yet to deliver a good joke, we hope the following constructive criticism of what he’s come up with so far will help him be a little more intentionally funny next year.

May 12, 2013: "Happy Parent of Undefined Gender Identity Day!"
This is a rough draft that should’ve stayed in the drafts. It’s clunky and awkward, but clearly he was proud of it enough to make it the holiday institution of his Twitter page.
May 10, 2015: "Happy Legal Guardian of Unspecified Gender Day!"

It’s funny how a slight rewording can make all the difference. The choice of "legal guardian" versus "parent" invokes a certain coldness, robbing his targets of the sense of familial warmth that “parent” might have implied. "Unspecified," as opposed to "undefined," suggests duplicity. It’s insidious, but it gets his point across more clearly in just as few words, so we have no choice but to call it an improvement. Still not funny, though.
June 19, 2015: "This Sunday, have a wonderful Second Legal Guardian of Unspecified Gender Day! #endfathersday."
Here we have our first official sequel to the joke. And like all bad sequels, it’s just a lame retread of the original, only it’s about Father’s Day. We’ll admit the hashtag does pique our interest. Obviously, Shapiro took whatever hate bait he saw that day personally. Picturing him ranting to his doctor wife about the plight of fathers and knowing what we know about him in a post-“WAP” world is giving sitcom hijinks, so this one gets a pass.
June 19, 2016: "Happy secondary legal guardian of unspecified gender day!"

The wounds from whatever he was mad about in 2015 clearly have yet to heal for Shapiro, as evidenced by the choice of the word “secondary” and the fact that he did not make this joke on Mother's Day of this year. 
May 14, 2017: "Happy Legal Guardian of Unspecified Gender Day!"

June 18, 2017: "Happy Second Legal Guardian of Unspecified Gender Day!"

With the guy he voted for now in office, Shapiro was clearly in a better headspace in 2017, or at least comfortable enough in his status as alpha male to acknowledge mothers again.
May 13, 2018: "Happy Legal Caretaker of Unspecified Gender Day! Or, if you prefer, Happy Female Suppressed By The Patriarchy Into Giving Up Her Independence And Dreams Day!"
This is the official start of Shapiro’s experimental phase — not experimental enough to come up with a new joke, but he does make a bold attempt to offend more people within the original format. We say he should take a year off from “unspecified gender day” and fully commit to the new bit. We know it’s hard trying out new material, but we think this new joke could easily stand on its own as being just as bad, if not worse, than the original. Say it with your chest, Ben!
May 12, 2019: "Happy Legal Guardian of Unspecified Gender Day!"

After his major overhaul of The Joke in 2018, we can’t help but feel like this lazy regression into what Shapiro finds comfortable is a sign of insecurity on his part.
May 9, 2021: "Happy Birthing Persons' Day to all the egg-producing homo sapiens of unspecified gender who made the decision to bring to term a meaningless cluster of cells!"

We actually kind of like this one. No notes. May 8, 2022: "Happy Primary Caregiver Of Unspecified Gender Who Decided Not To Terminate Their Pregnancy (Which Would Have Been Totally Morally Fine And Perhaps Even Praiseworthy) Day™!"
Finally, the most recent iteration of Ben Shapiro’s one and only joke. Though we will concede he’s made a lot of progress since 2013, the joke is still bad and nowhere near funny enough to justify filing for a trademark.

(The trademark emoji does seem to imply self awareness about having only one joke, which we suspect may possibly evolve into his second joke. More on this as it develops.)
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