Knock knock. Who's there? Juneau. Juneau who? Juneau if you call 907-586-0428 you'll hear a joke that's meant to cheer you up during the coronavirus pandemic? Per the Anchorage Daily News, that was the purpose of setting up this hotline for locals, though the joke was on the city this week when the number temporarily went offline due to so many people craving a knee-slapper during these troubling times. The city commandeered the number used for its hiking program—the program is temporarily suspended during the health crisis—and recruited a retired man and two high schoolers to come up with a "good, clean, corny [joke]" 7 days a week, a city official tells the paper, adding, "People just need a laugh."
Then, on Wednesday, there were some technical difficulties. "Lots of people must have needed a laugh. The overwhelming number of calls has taken down the phone line. No joke!" the city's Twitter account posted that afternoon, adding that techs were immediately dispatched to remedy the problem, per KTOO. A Facebook post by the city's parks and rec department noted that those desperate for laughter in the interim could still hear the daily joke on a dedicated website, per People. Never fear, though: The hotline was back up and running by Thursday. But is it back for good? "That is yet to be determined," Welch says. "I guess we'll see how it goes." Listeners can also submit their own jokes for consideration to be read over the hotline at Parks.Rec@juneau.org. (More Juneau stories.)