Always clowning around.

Posted by Russ Kennedy on

Stan C. Wolnic Vaudeville and Film comic

Stan C. Wolnic
Vaudeville and Film comic

If you are like most of us clowns your family and friends never seem to tire of the line “You’re always clowning around”….. much like “How’s the weather up there?” to the 6 foot plus crowd.  I never get upset over a good natured ribbing, after all that is our line of work. So here’s a question; do you clown around when not in costume? When I see a person full of life and happiness, quick with a compliment and a smile or sharing a silly anecdote I can’t help but wonder; “are they a clown?”  Clowns are ambassadors of good will and shouldn’t limit themselves to merry making strictly to the times they are in clown character. I think we should take more opportunities to be a little “Clown-e” everyday. Now this doesn’t mean we have to walk around with a circus wagon full of props trailing behind us nor should we start a pie fight at our favorite restaurant; but with a little joke or clever trick we can always put a smile on someones face.

Above we see a photo of Stan Wolnic doing his invisible pipe gag.  Always quick with a joke or some goofy prank, Stan truly had the heart of a clown and loved to make people laugh. His fellow comedians often said, “The day Stan can’t make us laugh will be a sad day for the world.”

Everyday clownieness: (yes I just made that up)

Finding opportunities to clown in everyday situations can be a great way to help release stress for those around you. Finding humor in normal daily activities and sharing a laugh with others is very healthy for the mind and body. We do need to keep in mind when and where it may not be acceptable to be a goofball but most often people like a little silliness in their day.

*Rule #1: Know when it is appropriate to clown out of costume. Obviously at your daily job work comes first, unless of course your day job is being a clown, then you should be screwing off at work. Also at any business establishment you never want to impede the progress of work. Use a little common sense and you should be fine.

*Try making a small clown kit.  I have a small pouch filled with a few items that stays in my vehicle, just in case a clowning emergency may arise.  My kit includes a few 260’s, some smiley face or other specialty balloons in a zip-lock bag, a small magic trick like the Traffic Light, the Clown Story or similar small gag, a squeaker and some business cards. Remember to personalize your kit to your own style perhaps you might add a few clown stickers to hand out. A small kit like this is easy to carry along and help spread a few smiles.

Example of some items for a clown kit.

Example of some items for a clown kit.

*How much should I perform?  Don’t try and do a full blown show from your little bag of tricks, less is more. Giving a balloon animal or a nice balloon bracelet to a server at a restaurant is often a welcomed surprise or while waiting in a long line can be the perfect time for a pocket magic trick, especially to a bored child. If your new acquaintances are willing, show them a bit more of your skills followed by a business card, this may even lead to a paying gig. Just know when to reel it in as to not overstay your welcome.

*The above mentioned balloon creation for the restaurant server is not meant to replace the tip, you can’t buy groceries with a balloon dog no matter how clever it is.

*Be considerate.  If the people who you are trying to entertain are not up for it, graciously excuse yourself. Nothing turns people off from magic and clowning more than when the performer insists ” but you’ll love this” when they are not at all in the mood. Don’t forget, we are not in costume getting paid at the moment, people may misunderstand our motives.

*Impromptu clowning: What if you don’t have any balloons or clown gags on hand but you really are itching to clown around? Any clown should have a couple of silly jokes or riddles at their disposal.

Friend: Hey pal how’s it going?

You: Not bad but I ran through a big puddle of snew on the way over here.

Friend: Snew….what’s snew?

You: Oh not much, what’s snew with you? (groan)

Juggling is another great impromptu bit, just be careful of juggling items that are not yours, if you break it- you bought it.

A bit more silliness:

The squeaker is one of the greatest little treasures a clown can have. Hide a small squeaker in the palm or your hand and anything you touch makes noise. Simply curl your fingers around the squeaker and point out your index finger, as you touch an object give a little squeeze to the squeaker and presto you are a human noise machine. The best part of a squeaker is they will hide conveniently in your pocket so you don’t even need a whole clown kit to have fun.

How did you learn all that?

When I am asked if I went to school to become a clown I reply,  “No, I got kicked out of school for clowning around.” Seriously though, people are curios as to how one learns a magic trick or to tie a balloon animal, so don’t be afraid to share a little knowledge; you never know a budding clown may be standing right before you.

We hope this has been an inspiration for you to go forth and be the fool you were born to be. See you next time.

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