Making ‘Em Laugh: 12-year-old Cancer Patient Compiles Joke Book

Jack Robinson is a special kid.

Diagnosed with bone cancer at the age of 11, he tackled treatment if not with a smile on his face, then with a joke on his lips… or more accurately, on paper. The Massachusetts resident compiled and edited a joke book called, “Make ‘em Laugh” to help himself, and other kids who were sick. It was drafted from hundreds of jokes, riddles, and drawings submitted by Robinson and other kids cared for in the Jimmy Fund Clinic and the inpatient oncology floors at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Jack was also featured on the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon, talking with WEEI hosts and former Red Sox star Pedro Martinez.

Joke book author Jack Robinson

Here’s his introduction to the joke book, in his own words.

Dear Reader:

Everybody likes to laugh. It’s good for you, and it makes you happy. It’s fun to share a joke with a friend.

My name is Jack and I’m 12 years old. I have cancer and I’ve been in chemotherapy at the Jimmy Fund Clinic at Dana Farber and Boston Children’s Hospital this past year.

When I was sick from chemotherapy, I would read a joke book that my cousins gave me to take my mind off of being sick. The jokes would cheer me up. That got me thinking that jokes might make other kids who were sick laugh too, so I compiled as many jokes as I could find and typed them up into this book to share with you.

I got a lot of help from other kids with cancer who are getting treated at the Jimmy Fund and at Boston Children’s. Their families helped too. Lots of them gave me their favorite jokes or drew pictures that I have included in this joke book. I want to thank everyone who helped with jokes and pictures for the book, especially Jen at the Jimmy Fund and Mr. Dinardo, who put it all together into a book.

The title of this book comes from an old fashioned movie, “Singing in the Rain,” that I used to watch with my family when I was little. There are some pretty funny scenes in the movie, but the best is when this character, Cosmo, tries to cheer up his friend with a funny song called “Make ‘Em Laugh.” He is really funny, and it makes me laugh every time. If you have never seen it, I recommend watching it some time when you need a good laugh. After all, they do say that laughter is the best medicine!

I hope this book makes you laugh. While I made this book initially for other kids like me with cancer, it’s not a book just for kids who have cancer. It’s for anyone who likes to laugh. Please use it to share some laughter with your doctors, nurses, parents, siblings, and friends.

 Keep your head up and be strong. You can do it.

 — Jack