Oh that Jim Bob Duggar, he seems to think he's a real comedian. Of course, anyone who has ever caught an episode of TLC's 19 Kids and Counting or the more recent Counting On knows he has a rapt audience in wife Michelle Duggar. That woman still thinks he's the bomb, which is probably adorable sometimes. But not in this case. Instead of wishing his daughter a simple Happy Birthday recently, Jim Bob Duggar made a joke about Jana Duggar being "still single" at the ripe old age of 28, and it really didn't land all that well. At least it didn't land well with this girl right here. Romper's request for comment on the comment was not immediately returned.
The father of 19 and patriarch of the family of reality stars was in Australia for Jana's birthday on Friday, as CafeMom reported, a birthday she shares with her twin brother John David. Her brother isn't married either, but he's a man and I guess that means his marital status is rather beside the point. At any rate, Jim Bob and several other members of the Duggar clan, including Jana, were invited to speak at an event for the Institute for Basic Life Principles in Kilsyth South Baptist Church in Victoria, Australia, according to In Touch Weekly, when the subject of Jana's birthday came up. The Ashley shared a video where Jim Bob can clearly be heard saying:
Much laughter ensues in the crowd, while Jana squirms a little.
Jana is the only one of her adult sisters who has yet to marry, which can't be easy in the marriage-obsessed world of the Duggars. Jana has had to defend her single status several times in the media, while also trying to discourage constant speculation about who she might marry. In 2014 she had this to say on an episode of 19 Kids and Counting about both her single status, according to The Ashley, and that of her twin brother:
The girl is getting questioned in every corner, and has probably read all of the rampant rumors on social media; that she's being "forced" to remain single so that she can help her mother raise the smaller children and take care of the household. That she's going to be alone forever, even as her younger sisters all take off and get married. She's getting it from strangers; did she really need to get teased about it from her dad, too?
Some who viewed the video took to Reddit to come to Jim Bob's defense. "I wasn't there but I assumed it was just a dad joke. He makes a lot of them especially on the old episodes of the original show," one person wrote. Another commented on the joke, "Women have a biological clock. Men generally don’t. It’s more notable for a woman to be single and childless after a certain age. This is not unique to the Duggars."
Others on Reddit did notice, though, that the joke could be viewed as insensitive or simply not humorous. "What’s Jim Bob’s angle with that joke?" one person questioned. "Is it just a standard-issue dorky dad joke that he’s too oblivious to realize could be seen as hurtful?"
On the flip side of this complicated coin, Jim Bob has actually jumped to her defense in the past (and to be clear, being single at 28 isn't really something a person should have to "defend"). The Duggar patriarch told People in 2014:
So OK, maybe Jim Bob Duggar's very public, seemingly innocent dig about his daughter's single status was a terrible joke. Maybe it was inappropriate and needlessly hurtful, if only because it seemed to call her out for something that has been a sensitive topic for her in the past.
But maybe, it was one of those things that sounded OK in his head until he said it out loud? I'm going to give Jim Bob Duggar the benefit of the doubt on this one. Because let's face it; the dude isn't exactly a comedian. One time only though. He makes a crack about Jana's single status again, all bets are off.
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