When the coronavirus pandemic sent the world into lockdown, eight-year old Sonny Mason had an idea. The boy from Kings Heath, Birmingham, decided to handwrite jokes and post them at the end of his driveway for neighbors and passersby to enjoy. He hoped that the jokes would offer a brief moment of relief from the pandemic related hardships happening across the globe.
Each day, for 100 consecutive days, Sonny displayed handwritten jokes in his driveway, alongside an original illustration, for strangers and neighbors to read. Sonny told the BBC, “I just thought because we’re in such a hard time now, if I wrote a joke out, it would cheer people up and my mum told me to do it as well – to practise my handwriting.”
The first joke that Sonny put out read: “Why do seagulls only fly over the sea? Because if they flew over the bay they would be called bagels.” It is hard not to smile while reading the joke, and Sonny’s comedic coping strategy quickly started receiving positive feedback.
Sonny’s initiative to spread smiles during a worldwide lockdown even caught the attention of comedian Sir Lenny Henry. In a letter to Sonny, the comedian wrote, “I’m sure it really cheered people up and put a smile on their face when they really needed it.” Sonny’s daily jokes also inspired Sir Lenny Henry to launch Share a Smile, a campaign that encourages people to share their favorite jokes with their community and neighbors. The comedian goes on to thank him for putting smiles on people’s faces, and emphasizing the importance of spreading laughter, especially during hard times.