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Local comedic hopefuls take stage to tell first jokes of the year

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Have you heard the one about the first joke of the year?

Well, you're about to. (See what we did, there?)

Fifteen or so years ago, comedians in New York City came up with an idea: write - and then immediately perform - a new joke, as soon as the calendar changes to the New Year. And, like any good idea (or good joke) people are quick to, how shall we say, "borrow it."

"I like the idea," says comedian, James Hodge. "Any time I can go on stage and take a chance, it's a good thing."

"A joke never works quite the same, each time you tell it - and that's a good thing," says national, touring comedian, Tom Simmons, who took part in the Greensboro version of the event.

"And everyone wants to be the funniest," points out Jennie Stencil, who not only has done stand-up for 20 years but is one of the owners of The Idiot Box, the venue that hosted Greensboro's version of the First Joke.

"We all definitely want to be the funniest, but comedians are really good about supporting each other," says Josh "Biggie" Ellinger, who not only does stand-up comedy but does a raw form of it, weekday mornings as part of the highly-popular, "Two Guys Named Chris Show," on the Triad's Rock 92 radio station.

"But," he adds, "Everyone is going to be a little nervous because they don't want to bomb in front of the TV cameras."

See if anyone did ... in this edition of the Buckley Report.

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