A clowns ability to bring laughter and amusement to the crowd during a parade.
This may sound made up and as a matter of fact I don’t believe you will find the word “Paradeability” in the dictionary; however this is a real thing in the clown world. The COAI actually has this as a category in their clown competition. The clown or group of clowns are judged on their ability to entertain and bring laughter to the parade audience. The use of props, vehicles, singing and the like are allowed and encouraged for the contestants. Click the word “rules” and you can read further.
This article is not all about the competition, rather applying the skills learned at a convention, clown camp or workshop in the real world. After all, we are here to entertain the audience, not just show off to our clown cousins. Remember we have Clown Week on it’s way the first week of August and this can be a perfect time to show off the parade skills.
Recently I was able to join a few of my clown friends for a Fourth of July Parade in a nearby town. This town is a perfect venue for a parade, it is small, charming and has an actual downtown area where many gatherings take place. The crowd number reached well into the thousands for this event as they were anxiously awaiting for the fun to begin. Our clown group consisted of several clowns with many years of experience and included a few junior joeys getting their feet wet in the clowning world.
Scooter was driving her cool golf cart with her junior joey caddy. They would stop along the route to “play the course.” The junior joey sat on the ground with a golf ball resting on her hat acting as the tee. Scooter used her over sized-wobbly golf club to take the shot. Another clown was running around with a marker flag attached to a plastic cup to catch the shot for a “hole in one.” The crowd loved this skit and was a mobile bit so the group could keep in time with the parade. The golf cart also comes in handy to carry a few waters, clown supplies or if anyone needed to hop in for a rest the cart is there for that as well. Remember to stay safe and hydrated during a parade.
Chimples was carrying an American flag waving to the crowd as his wife Kukla was shaking hands and welcoming the children to the parade. Tippy walks the route encouraging the people to cheer and wishing them a Happy Independence day, frequently showing off a bit of juggling. As ambassadors of good will, Kukla, Chiples and Tippy were winning over the hearts of the parade audience. Some of the junior joeys also had bubble guns which added a nice touch of lightheartedness to our crew.
Jerico is always ready to get someone with his gag squirting camera, asking if they would oblige by taking a portrait of he and his clown buddies. This is a great bit he does as we are waiting around for the parade to begin and most everyone gets a laugh as they are surprised with a squirt of water in the face. Good clean fun! Jerico also walks the parade route with a small covered cage asking onlookers if they wish to see his Blue jays; once he lifts the cloth the gag is revealed. Perched in the cage are blue letter J’s, always good for a groan. This is another bit easily portable for the parade route.
Miles was there with his cart full of hobo cleaning supplies; worn out broom, feather dusters, spray bottle and rags. Also included is a fold up stool for “patrons” to have a seat as he shines their shoes. The parade route can get dirty so Miles is ready with his broom to sweep the street clean for the next group coming down the lane. The crowd gets a laugh as he pulls out an umbrella in case it may rain, but with this tattered excuse for a rain guard people always chuckle with delight.
Once our crew reached the end of the parade a few of us hung around cheering for the rest of the groups in the parade. Tippy and Miles even did a little impromptu entertaining in the streets as there were a couple of spots where the groups lost time leaving a large gap in the flow. Tippy would get each side of the street going in a cheering contest to see who could cheer the loudest, Miles was there to determine the winner. Tippy also did some more juggling as Miles swept the street clean, dusted off dirty children and even shined a shoe or two.
Little bits of impromptu clowning really are not hard as you can see and leaves a lasting impression on the crowd. As a matter of fact, a couple of folks from the town council and parade coordinators came up to thank us for filling the void in the parade. They even had us pose for a picture to be featured in the local paper.
For my friends and I, this is what clowning is all about, making people smile and lending a hand or three where needed.
See you soon and keep on clowning!