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Chuckle Up. Get It?

What do these jokes have in common:

“What’s a zoologist’s favorite food?

“What do you call a relative that lazes all around the house?
A NAP-kin.”

“Why did the baby stop eating? Because he was fed up.”

Wondering what the common theme is here? They were all written by

And then explained exhaustively to us.

Maddie’s on a joke kick right now
– well, for the past several months, if I’m going to be
honest. She found a kids’ joke book at the used bookstore the
last time we went, and she spent the entire remainder of the visit
reading the jokes out loud delightedly. Maddie’s finally
learned what a double entendre is, and she absolutely adores a joke
that makes use of one.

To the point that she’ll go out of her way to write a joke
around a play on words. Even if it’s not funny.

Maddie’s always searching for moo-based jokes to tell about
cows (“What’s a cow’s favorite entertainment?
Going to the mooovies.”) and pretty much anything else she
can twist in a word play. While I adore this, she’s old
enough to learn that everything that comes out of her mouth
isn’t a nugget of gold. And since I teach comedy –
improv – to kids, there’s a level below which I refuse
to stoop.

So I’ll nod and acknowledge the play on words, then kindly (I
think) explain how the joke could be made better. Maddie soaks this
up, so I can tell she’s really interested – otherwise
she’d get defensive and quit. But instead she doggedly pushes
ahead, knocking out joke after joke after joke.

After joke.

Cora’s not immune to the whole thing, and she tries to write
her own jokes. But her mastery of the English language is, while
astonishing (I say unbiasedly) for a four-year-old, still not at
Maddie’s level. So Cora rarely comes up with a joke good
enough to make me and Maddie spontaneously laugh out loud.

Cora does, on the other hand, excel at critiquing.

Yesterday in the car, Maddie told another mediocre joke. Cora
nodded blankly, and I could see Maddie thought Cora didn’t
get the word play. “You see, Cora, what I meant was . .
.” and Maddie went on – just a touch condescendingly
– to explain the nuances of the joke to Maddie.

Cora nodded again. “No, I get the joke,” she said to
Maddie. “I just didn’t think it was particularly

Everyone’s a critic.


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