Story People revive April Fool’s tradition at Port Angeles Library

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Alan Turner hosted a night of joke-telling — uncensored and free — for years.

But as his energy for putting on the event flagged, the owner of Port Book and News retired it in 2010.

Or so he thought.

This year, the Story People of Clallam County, represented by Erran Sharpe of Port Angeles, approached Turner about bringing back the evening of April foolishness.

And so it is that anyone — everyone — with a funny story is invited to April Fools' Night in the Raymond Carver Room at the Port Angeles Library, 2210 S. Peabody St.

Listeners — especially the laughing kind — are wanted, too, at the 7 p.m. party. Admission is free, chocolate-chunk cookies included.

“Historically speaking, we always got better jokes out of this than Garrison Keillor's joke show,” Turner said, referring to “A Prairie Home Companion,” Keillor's public radio program.

Coincidentally, Keillor will appear in person at Seattle's Benaroya Hall this Tuesday night. That event's a bit pricier than Port Angeles,' though: Tickets go from $29 to $125.

A number of men and women have let Turner know they've got jokes ready — more males, though.

He's not sure why that is. Turner does know that while the hosts of April Fools' Night do not veto any of the material, the joke-tellers censor themselves.

“It's mixed company,” he said, “so they don't want to tell an embarrassing joke in front of a bunch of people they don't know.”

Youngsters have come to these events with their parents, Turner added.

He thinks their attitude was “we're prepared to hear just about anything.”

Sharpe, a storyteller as well as a therapist, father and husband, can hardly wait for the night of joke-telling.

A joke, after all, is “just a short, funny story — hence the Story People [of Clallam County]'s involvement,” he said.

“People can tell whatever jokes they want at this event.”

In the past, this was a contest with judging and prizes.

Sharpe and the Story People have dispensed with all that. They didn't want to go out asking for donated prizes, for one thing; they just want an evening full of laughter and cookies.

“It's an opportunity,” Sharpe said, “for some community frivolity.”

“I have lots of jokes to tell,” added Turner.

The Story People also host Story Swaps, including one April 8 at the Port Angeles Library.

For information about such activities, phone 360-452-8092 or visit www.ClallamStoryPeople.org.

_________

Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5062, or at diane.urbani@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: March 30. 2014 6:55PM
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