“What does a rain cloud wear under its coat?” he asked one of the first people to drop by at a safe six-foot distance. “Thunderwear!”
“What kind of bug is bad at football?” he called out to another. “A fumblebee!"
“What does a duck snack on? Cheese and quackers!"
And on it went, until Callaghan had exhausted all of the 16 jokes he’d memorized from the book his mom gave him last fall, “Laugh out Loud Jokes for Kids.” Then he started from the beginning again. And again. And again.
After a local television station showed up to interview him and was followed by the Canadian Broadcast Corp., the walk-by/drive-by comic from the District of Saanich on Vancouver Island became a bit of an Internet celebrity.
Five weeks later, he’s still at it.
Even if the jokes are groaners, people are happy to be entertained by a giggling 6-year-old during these stressful days, said Callaghan's mom, Kelsea McLaughlin, 36, a training administrator for a Canadian aircraft manufacturer.
“He knows there is a pandemic and that people are getting sick and are scared,” she said. “He knows that many people don’t have jobs right now and he knows that means they don’t have money to spend on extras.”
With hours to fill while school is online during the pandemic, Callaghan figured a joke booth would be better than his other idea, a lemonade stand.
“Even when you are scared or sad, a good joke makes you feel a little bit better,” he said.
Callaghan's interest in stand-up comedy started last year when he began memorizing the jokes in his book.
“He thought it was hilarious to go from family member to family member telling the same joke,” said his mother, noting that Callaghan’s younger siblings, Cayde, 5, and Kai, 17 months, have enjoyed it more than anyone.
“He can talk the hind legs off a donkey,” McLaughlin said. “He is outgoing and chatty, so this is his wheelhouse.”
After his mom helped him make a sign that said in block letters “DRIVE-BY WALK-BY JOKE STAND,” Callaghan hauled out a small table and chair and waited for an audience while his mom did yard work nearby.
“It didn’t take long for folks to walk by,” McLaughlin said, adding that they live near a beach and some neighborhood shops.
Callaghan keeps regular hours in his joke booth, usually opening promptly at 9:30 a.m., and “working the neighborhood” for a solid 45 minutes. After a break to study math and reading, he heads back out to the booth from 1 to 2:30 p.m., he said.
Recently, he wanted a day off, but he didn’t want to disappoint his fans, so he put out a handwritten sign that said, “Sorry, we are closed today.”
He'll continue as long as he keeps enjoying it.
“We don't have anywhere else to be right now,” his mom said.
Callaghan’s dad said his son has always had an eager sense of humor.
“He makes me laugh every day,” said Dan McLaughlin, 38, who is a firefighter.
After all, his last name contains the word “laugh.”
“Where did the bull take the cow on a date?” Callaghan asked one of his joke booth guests. Before they could respond, he broke into a giggle and answered: “The moooovies!”
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