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Kid comics at Silver Spring 'JokeFest' bask in limelight, if not laughter

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By Rick Rojas
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, July 18, 2010

Maybe it was the heat, or perhaps a lack of comedic inspiration, but the jokesters were few and far between Saturday at the Fenton Street Market in Silver Spring.

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The setup for the JokeFest was simple: a wooden platform a few inches above the ground, a microphone, a tent and a few chairs. Children were invited to step up, tell a joke -- even an animal sound would qualify -- and get a book autographed by author Edward Faine. The jestful emcee spent much of the day cooing and whistling at children as they came into the market, luring them up to the mike with the prospect of a book.

Audrey Hailes, 2, ambled up to the stage with a cup of colorful ice cream, probably thinking more about having an audience than a free book or even getting the joke right.

"Knock, knock."

"Who's there?"

"Banana."

"Banana who?"

"Um, bananas."

As other children waited their turn, she kept wandering back, attracted to the little bit of limelight shining under that tent. When Faine asked her where she lives, she curtly replied, "the house" (which is located in Silver Spring).

Brian Wilmarth, 9, of Silver Spring was more rehearsed in his performance; he said he'd been waiting all week to tell a joke that got laughs in the past.

"Why is two plus two equals five like your left foot?" Brian asked.

"It's just not right!"


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