What’s a pirate’s favourite hobby? The answer may not be on the tip of your tongue but six-year-old Callaghan McLaughlin knows.
“Arrrrrr-t,” he said with a giggle, showing off his missing front teeth.
The Saanich first-grader set up a joke stand in his Cadboro Bay front yard two weeks ago where he tells jokes for free in an effort to brighten people’s day. Residents can walk or drive by to hear a joke.
McLaughlin, who wants to be an engineer when he grows up, was looking for something to do while schools are closed and wanted to start a lemonade stand. His mom, Kelsea, explained that selling drinks wouldn’t be safe during the health crisis and instead suggested a joke stand.
McLaughlin has become a local celebrity since starting the stand and is quite enjoying being famous. He said he’s had at least 10 people come by the stand on Penrhyn Street each day and has done several media interviews.
While it’s “mostly grown-ups” who come by to hear his jokes, some of his classmates and teachers have stopped by too. One of McLaughlin’s young friends even started his own joke stand.
Running a joke stand is hard work, he said, explaining that he takes breaks at lunch to eat and do some school work. Weather permitting, McLaughlin is out telling jokes every day of the week – “unless there’s a tornado,” he said matter-of-factly.
The young comedian gets his jokes from all over – books and packages mostly, he said.
“What bug is the hardest to understand?” McLaughlin asked giving an example of a good joke. “A mumble-bee,” he answered laughing.
He practices the jokes on his dad and then, based on the response he gets, chooses the best ones to memorize.
“You can tell if his laugh is fake,” McLaughlin said of his father. The six-year-old currently knows 17 jokes and can recite them – with a little help from his mom if he gets stuck – as soon as customers arrive.
McLaughlin hopes other kids will come by his joke stand and get inspired to start their own. He’s not accepting money in an effort to avoid spreading the virus but is accepting joke donations to add to his roster.
On Monday afternoon, local farm stand operators Katherine Little, who sells jam, and Colleen O’Farrell, who sells flowers, stopped by to support the young entrepreneur in his own roadside stand pursuits – and hear a joke or two, of course. The pair dropped off cinnamon-pear jam and a colourful bouquet of flowers for McLaughlin.