This article appeared in the May 22, 2020 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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The joke booth at the end of the driveway

Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post/AP
Tom Schruben puts the finishing touches on the daily bad dad joke at his home in Kensington, Md. May 1, 2020. Every morning by 8 a.m., Schruben and his 11-year-old daughter Darcy write a corny dad joke on a whiteboard and display it in front of their house. Schruben and his wife, Ann, said they made an agreement with each other to look for happiness after the death of two of their children, and this is an extension of that.

Have you heard the one about people posting jokes in public to try to cheer everybody up during these difficult times?

Yes, it’s true. We’re not talking about aspiring comedy writers hoping to catch the eye of a late-night talk show host, however. This is about dad jokes – and bad jokes. Real groaners. These jokes are so tired they have to nap in the afternoon.

Here’s an example: “What does a rain cloud wear under its coat? Thunderwear!”

That’s from Callaghan McLaughlin. He’s a 6-year-old from British Columbia who set up a joke booth at the end of his driveway. His repertoire is 16 jokes he’s memorized from a book his mom gave him last fall, “Laugh Out Loud Jokes for Kids.”

He’s been entertaining the people who walk by for some five weeks now. It turns out that when the world looks dark a giggling kid telling you what kind of bug is bad at football is pretty entertaining.

The punch line there is “fumblebee,” by the way.

Callaghan holds regular sessions in his booth, morning and afternoon. It helps fill the time left open by the coronavirus-driven closure of school. He’s become kind of a big deal on the internet, too, thanks to appearances on local news and the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. His mom says he’s a natural.

“He can talk the hind legs off a donkey,” she told The Washington Post

With unemployment skyrocketing and the pandemic still lurking and the future very much unknown, laughter may not actually be the best medicine, but it still feels pretty good.

“There’s a lot of stress in the world ... and I kind of want to get some smiles on people’s faces,” Callaghan told the CBC

Sometimes bad jokes work too, particularly when delivered by cute kids. We’ll leave you with one of the staples of Callaghan’s oeuvre:

“What is black, white, and red?”

“A penguin that’s embarrassed!”

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This article appeared in the May 22, 2020 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 05/22 edition