Phil Dunphy is by far one of the funniest characters on ABC’s Modern Family. For 11 seasons, we’ve seen him raise three kids, woo his wife Claire, and try to out-sell Gil Thorpe. He’s a passionate man with many hobbies and loves his extended family.
One of the reasons why Phil is such a popular character on the hit show is because of his parenting. Between him and Claire, he is definitely the fun parent — the good cop. In fact, the reason why he and his son Luke are so close is because Phil acts just like him. They may be different in age but they are the same person in many ways. With the show ending at the end of the 11th season, we’re taking a look back at some of Phil’s best and worst dad jokes. But let’s be honest, even his worst jokes are still the best.
10 BEST: “WTF: WHY THE FACE?”
When we first met Phil in the first season of Modern Family, he tells the audience that he’s a cool dad. He’s totally “one” with his kids and knows all the lingo. Funny enough, his descriptions of the slang his kids’ use were slightly off.
Explaining what LOL and OMG meant, he then explained that WTF meant “Why the face?”. It’s one of those classic moments that define Phil’s adorable and nieve personality.
9 WORST: “SO I GUESS WE’LL HAVE TO ‘WING IT.'”
Once Alex goes off to college, Phil and Claire have a hard time letting her go. Sure, Haley and Luke were still living at home but watching their hardest working child go off to achieve her dreams was an emotional rollercoaster for the couple.
In an ironic twist of their child leaving the nest, Phil and Luke found duck eggs and decided to raise them until they were old enough to literally leave the nest. Phil decided to make a small city for the baby ducks to waddle through which included “Duckingham Palace.” And if something didn’t work out, they’d just have to “wing it.” The effort in this joke was there but it was too much effort.
8 BEST: “I’M CROCODILE DUNPHY.”
When Phil lost his mom, he took the family on a meaningful journey to Australia. He was apparently conceived in Australia and wanted to feel connected to his mom. Unfortunately for Phil, Australia wasn’t easy on him and he felt battered and bruised instead of enlightened.
He spoke to a local who assured him that the country’s landscape is hardest on those who come from it. This made Phil at ease and he compared himself to Crocodile Dundee and called himself Crocodile Dunphy.
7 WORST: “SO THEY’VE ASKED ME TO… ‘PHIL IN.'”
Using his name as a pun is far too easy of a joke to make. It’s the classic dad joke. Out of all the things Phil has said throughout the show’s entirety, he’s better than this. Nevertheless, he’s quite amused by himself whenever he makes a joke, even if no one else laughs. But that’s why we love Phil! He’s in his own world and doesn’t need everyone to be on board all the time.
6 BEST: “ACT LIKE A PARENT, TALK LIKE A PEER. I CALL IT PEER-RENTING.”
Earlier in the show, we learn everything we need to know about Phil when he describes how he tackles parenting. Instead of being a strict parent who doesn’t see his kids as equals, he acts like one of them to gain their trust.
While two out of the three Dunphy children have a hard time figuring out what they want to do in life, they all trusted and confided in their parents when things got a little too real for them. Through all the ups and downs, arrests, graduations, and jobs, this is a family who loved each other (thanks to Phil’s peer-renting).
5 WORST: “YOU KNOW WHAT A HUMAN PYRAMID IS WITHOUT HOURS OF TRAINING? TEN OBITUARIES.”
Phil is very proud of his hobbies and passions outside of real estate. We know his dedication to magic, cheerleading, and the “trampoline arts.” He also loves creating inventions with his son Luke. But when Phil feels someone is insulting cheerleading, he takes his passion a little too far.
After Claire made a sly remark about cheerleading, Phil reminded her that without hard work and sacrifice, a human pyramid is “10 obituaries.” He’s not exactly wrong… But it’s too much. Take a walk and cool down, Phil.
4 BEST: “TODAY I GET TO TALK ABOUT THE LOVE OF MY LIFE… RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE.”
One endearing quality about Phil is how much he adores his wife Claire. We see him time and time again complimenting her and letting her know how special he thinks she is. Sadly, Claire’s rigid personality doesn’t always reciprocate the same admiration for Phil (even though she does love him very much).
Whenever Phil gets a slow jab at Claire (like with the joke above), fans love seeing Claire’s reactions because insulting her doesn’t happen too often. The funny thing is that Phil doesn’t even realize that his dad joke is a joke. He genuinely loves real estate.
3 WORST: “MY PHILBOARD.”
Similar to being “phil-ing in,” calling his real estate billboard a Philboard is another dad joke gone too far. You can almost envision him thinking long and hard about this as he lays away at night.
These kinds of dad jokes that involve his name probably happen too often in the Dunphy household which makes them lose their humor.
2 BEST: “WHAT’S YOUR NAME IF WE DON’T NEED ANYTHING?”
After Haley gets kicked out of college and doesn’t seem to know what to do with her life, Claire and Phil take her out for dinner and drinks to see what her future plans are. We find out that Haley has a plan for her future but she just hasn’t told her parents yet, which makes Claire and Phil feel like fools.
As the threesome sits down, their server Briant introduces himself. “My name is Brian. I’ll be your server if you need anything,” he says. Instead of saying “thank you,” Phil asks “What’s your name if we don’t need anything?” Funny enough, the waiter said “Michelle,” and it was the perfect response to this dad joke.
1 WORST: “LUKE, I AM YOUR FATHER.”
Anytime a boy is named Luke they’re bound to get Star Wars jokes thrown at them all day, especially by their father. But as over-used as this reference is, it would be a disservice to the show if they didn’t use it!
The joke is so typical Phil and he saw his chance and he took it. But has he had better dad jokes? You bet.