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Leno offering advice on how to be a funny kid

Says comedy for kids is ‘cheaper and more effective than Ritalin’
/ Source: The Associated Press

Teachers can blame Jay Leno for a whole new generation of class clowns.

The NBC “Tonight” show host has churned out hundreds of kid-tested, kid-approved jokes for a new book that also mixes in the answer he usually gives to young people who ask him advice on what they should do if they want to be a comedian.

“I think this is cheaper and more effective than Ritalin,” Leno told The Associated Press on Friday. “A lot of kids just have a lot of energy and are bouncing off the walls. So why not channel it? Have them write some jokes and put a show together, get some of that energy out.”

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Leno advises kids who want to go into his line of work to speak in public as much as they can, saying it’s hard to tell jokes in front of an audience if you’re not comfortable being in front of an audience in the first place.

Leno and his chief “Tonight” show writer, Joe Medeiros, wrote the jokes together and brought children of young staff members in to see if they would laugh.

“Something like, ‘What does Homer Simpson use to make bread? Dough!”’ he said. “Kids really think that’s funny.”

If teachers are unhappy at the prospect of hearing these jokes in school, police officers have reason to smile. Leno said he is donating any money that “How to Be the Funniest Kid in the Whole Wide World (or Just in Your Class)” to Concerns of Police Survivors Inc., which benefits the families of law enforcement officers killed on the job.

“I’m in a business where people throw money at you,” he said. “They’re in a business where people shoot at you. It’s just a way of saying thanks.”