British Columbia

6-year-old runs joke stand in Saanich, B.C., to make people smile during COVID-19

The boy's mom said he was starting to miss interacting with neighbourhood kids, so she "tried to find an idea where he could still be socially present in our community but distant at the same time."

'What's red, white and blue?' Callaghan McLaughlin asks

Callaghan McLaughlin opens his stand at 10 a.m. most days. (Mike McArthur/CBC)

Callaghan McLaughlin knows 16 jokes. Or maybe 17. 

And if you stop by his stand in Saanich, B.C., the six-year-old will toss one your way.

"There's a lot of stress in the world," he said Thursday, "and I kind of want to get some smiles on people's faces." 

For the past week, the youngster has been running a joke stand at the end of his driveway on Penrhyn Street, offering free laughs to his neighbours and passersby.

Here's one for you: "What's red, white and blue?" Wait for it. "A sad candy cane." 

His mom, Kelsea McLaughlin, said Callaghan was starting to miss interacting with neighbourhood kids because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"I tried to find an idea where he could still be socially present in our community but be distant at the same time," she said.

McLaughlin had bought her son a kid-friendly joke book with one-liners, which he'd been practising on his parents for six months.

She decided those quips deserved an audience.

WATCH | Callaghan recites some of his favourite jokes:

Callaghan McLaughlin recites some of his favourite jokes, which he shares with neighbours and passersby for free. 1:01

Callaghan opens his stand at 10 a.m. and manages about an hour of wisecracks before taking a "12-minute" lunch break (his mom says it's closer to 90 minutes). He comes back for a second round in the afternoon. 

McLaughlin said the stand gets a fair bit of foot traffic since it's close to Cadboro Bay.

"Most people at minimum give him a smile or wave," she said. "Several people do stop and ask to hear a joke, and typically reciprocate with one of their own."

Callaghan thought it was important to offer the service for free.

"I want people to save their money for other things," he said. "Some people need the money for groceries now instead of jokes."

Callaghan said he hopes to keep the stand going for another four or five days.

And although he has his mom to credit for the idea, he admits she's not the funniest person he knows.

That title, he said, belongs to his dad.

With files from Mike McArthur

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