Endangered species: clown

Palinurus

The Living Force
Source: _http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/exclusive-national-clown-shortage-approaching-article-1.1616801

EXCLUSIVE: National clown shortage may be approaching, trade organizations fear

As the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus returns to Brooklyn Thursday, membership at the country's largest clown organizations has plunged over the past decade amid declining interest, old age and higher standards for the jokesters.

By Natalie Musumeci / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Monday, February 17, 2014, 2:16 AM



Send in the clowns — please!

As the “Greatest Show on Earth” returns to Brooklyn Thursday, circus folk fear a national clown shortage is on the horizon.

Membership at the country’s largest trade organizations for the jokesters has plunged over the past decade as declining interest, old age and higher standards among employers align against Krusty, Bozo and their crimson-nosed colleagues.

“What’s happening is attrition,” said Clowns of America International President Glen Kohlberger, who added that membership at the Florida-based organization has plummeted since 2006. “The older clowns are passing away.”

He said he wouldn’t release specific numbers, citing the privacy of the members.

Membership at the World Clown Association, the country’s largest trade group for clowns, has dropped from about 3,500 to 2,500 since 2004.

“The challenge is getting younger people involved in clowning,” said Association President Deanna (Dee Dee) Hartmier, who said most of her members are over 40.

Kohlberger said that it’s difficult getting younger people who develop an early interest in the many facets of clowning to stick with it on the professional level.

“What happens is they go on to high school and college and clowning isn’t cool anymore,” he said. “Clowning is then put on the back burner until their late 40s and early 50s.”

Cyrus Zavieh, the president of New York Clown Alley, a group that boasts 45 members across the New York area, said clowns can pull in up to $300 for a birthday party — but that’s hardly a financial incentive for many young people.

“American kids these days are thinking about different careers altogether,” said Zavieh, 44, who has worked under the moniker Cido for nearly two decades.

“They’re thinking about everything other than clowning.”

The lack of wannabe Bozos has yet to hurt the big top at the “Greatest Show on Earth.” The 95-year-old Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has even implemented a more rigorous hiring process to find just the right jester.

As a result of the more challenging tryouts, just 11 clowns out of 14 who were selected from 531 applicants to attend a rigorous 14-day boot camp at the Ringling Bros. Clown College last year were offered jobs with the world-famous circus.

There’s no goofing around at the training where clowns get the chance to learn the fine points of floppy shoes and wildly colored wigs from veteran performers.

Just 12 clowns will be featured in the circus’ all-new performance at the Barclays Center called “Legends,” which will run from Thursday through March 2.

The circus keeps about 26 clowns on its roster for its three touring shows.

“Our audience expects to be wowed,” said David Kiser, Ringling Bros. director of talent. “No longer is it good enough to just drop your pants and focus on boxer shorts.”
[bold, mine]
 

SeekinTruth

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Well, there's an overabundance of clowns in politics, the media, among celebrities / in show biz, etc. And a very large part of those are "EVIL" clowns, i.e. psychopaths / pathological. :P :lol: Sorry, couldn't resist, as it IS in the Tickle Me section.
 

Palinurus

The Living Force
Yeah, that very thought crossed my mind as well but I considered it too obvious to tell...

Sorry for the instigation, SeekingTruth. ;)
 

waverider 9

The Force is Strong With This One
All I can cay from my perspective is a huge sighing Hallelujah!

I have always not just hated clowns but become "deer-in-headlights" upon their appearance! although. . .there are plenty of political clowns, religious clowns and many more that are saturating our societies.

The only two clowns that I have ever seen and do not get that "frozen" personal stance is Emmet Kelley who was brilliant and Mr. Jackie Gleason in the movie Gigot - everyone should see this film it is very poignant and very moving.

Here is a quote from IMdB website -
A poignant comedy about a mute who befriends Nicole, the little daughter of a prostitute. Gleason shows his considerable talents as an actor without uttering a sound as he plays the bumbling, kind-hearted janitor, Gigot. Gleason wrote the original story and music for this film.
- Written by Charlie Watkins <watkinsck@msn.com>
Jeffery
 

l apprenti de forgeron

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
SeekinTruth said:
Well, there's an overabundance of clowns in politics, the media, among celebrities / in show biz, etc. And a very large part of those are "EVIL" clowns, i.e. psychopaths / pathological. :P :lol: Sorry, couldn't resist, as it IS in the Tickle Me section.
:lol: That is so because the clowns are left in a shallow and repetitive humor, so always gone to lose vs the masters of superficial charm, the psychos that dominate all the centers of earthly powers.

waverider 9 said:
All I can cay from my perspective is a huge sighing Hallelujah!

I have always not just hated clowns but become "deer-in-headlights" upon their appearance! although. . .there are plenty of political clowns, religious clowns and many more that are saturating our societies.

The only two clowns that I have ever seen and do not get that "frozen" personal stance is Emmet Kelley who was brilliant and Mr. Jackie Gleason in the movie Gigot - everyone should see this film it is very poignant and very moving.

Here is a quote from IMdB website -
A poignant comedy about a mute who befriends Nicole, the little daughter of a prostitute. Gleason shows his considerable talents as an actor without uttering a sound as he plays the bumbling, kind-hearted janitor, Gigot. Gleason wrote the original story and music for this film.
- Written by Charlie Watkins <watkinsck@msn.com>
Jeffery
Thanks for the tip. I hope to find that movie.
Personally, I always hated clowns. And I feared as a child. But now I seem friendly. Even, would be a good idea to take a course as a way of laugh and fight a heavy and annoying ego, thinking for people who need to humiliate his personal importance. It could be used creatively.
 

loreta

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I think we are surrounded by clowns without talent.

But Fellini did a sort of hommage to this type of character and his movie is really good, and even comic! I think clowns are a species that are in danger of disappearance. Maybe also because there is no more place for them, in our society, we are also so serious as species, so grey. It is important to laugh, and laugh is a tool for curing, for changing and criticizing.

So sometimes I look again this movie that makes me think about how to laugh is important and how clowns have a very important role in our society.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4CN-ENkhQ8

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Clowns_(film)
 

Arwenn

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I've never been a fan of clowns. This thread made me ponder on the origins of clowning as a profession. I guess it started as a jester or bard serving up entertainment for the elites. From this site _http://www.humourfoundation.com.au/resources/history-of-clowning.html

A brief Clown History

The attributes of a clown are playfulness, irreverence, and the freedom of 'not knowing'. In ancient Greece comics were bald-headed and padded to appear larger than normal. They performed as secondary figures in farces and mime, parodying the actions of more serious characters. In Roman mime the clown wore a pointed hat and a patchwork colourful robe and was the target for the tricks and abuse.

The clown emerged as a professional comic actor in the late Middle Ages. Court jesters and fools were influences for travelling entertainers. Italian commedia dell'arte, improvised masked comedy with stock plots also developed many stock clown characters, including Arlecchino (Harlequin) in the 16th century. Harlequin began as a comic valet, or zanni, but soon developed into an acrobatic trickster, wearing a black domino mask and carrying a bat or noisy slapstick with which he frequently hit his victims. Pierrot was another Zanni, always the butt of jokes and pranks, he was the lowest of low in society. Commedia also had lazzi, or humorous interludes.

The 3 traditional types of clowns are the White-face, Auguste and Character.

White-face Clown

The White-face clown is the ‘classic’ clown, the oldest and most well-known of the clowns, and is typically the straight clown in skits.Associated with the circus, the White-face is the most intelligent type of clown with the highest status - typically the ringleader. The make-up base of white grease paint meant distant audiences could see the clown.

This is the oldest style of clown, dating back to Greek theatre. Whiteface is the court jester of the Middle Ages. Commedia del arté popularised several stock clown characters, including Pierrot, Columbine, Harlequin and Clown. Pierrot is a White-face clown. His flour-whitened face is thought to be the introduction of the White-face.

The pantomimist Jean-Baptiste-Gaspard Deburau took on the character in the early 19th century and created a famous love-sick, sad clown, whose melancholy has remained part of the clown tradition. The 'Comedy or 'Grotesque White-face' is more buffoonish in style. Grock (Adrien Wettach), a famous whiteface pantomimist, evoked laughter in his continual struggle with inanimate objects. Chairs collapsed beneath him. When a stool was too far from a piano, he shoved the piano to the stool.

Auguste Clown

The Auguste clown is the least intelligent, and zaniest of the clowns. The Auguste clown tends to be the silly clown in skits. Make-up is a flesh-tone base, with features outlined. The costume of the Auguste clown tends to be gaudy, mismatched, over-sized and very bright.

In the 1860s, or so the story goes, a low-comedy comic appeared under the name of Auguste, who had a big nose, baggy clothes, and large shoes. He worked with a White-face clown and always spoiled the tricks by appearing at the wrong time to mess things up.

The two clowns who had the most impact on the development of the Auguste in the 20th century were probably Albert Fratellini and Lou Jacobs. As one of the famous Fratellini Brothers, Albert Fratellini created a character who was an in-between from one brother's classic White-face and another brother's tramp character. He also introduced the red nose, which has since become synonymous with clowns. Ringling Brothers circus clown, Lou Jacobs, developed the 'character' of the Auguste. They created the foundation of the modern Auguste.

Character Clown

The Hobo or Tramp clown is the most popular character clown, although character clowns can be police officers, women, or babies - any character at all.

The Hobo usually has tattered clothes, a tattered hat, make-up which suggests he is unshaven, exaggerated features and a red nose. The generic Tramp character is 'down-on-his-luck'. The Tramp clown is an American creation. Charlie Chaplin as the silent 'Little Tramp' clown, brought laughter to millions worldwide through film. The Hobo may look similar, but knows that everything will turn out all right so is not unhappy about his situation. Red Skelton’s Freddy the Freeloader and Carol Burnett’s washerwomen are classic Hobo characters.
 

Thor

Jedi Master
I think of the clown as originating from the jester or fool archetype. As such, they enable us to not take things too seriously or let the world get to us too much. At the same time, by being clever and witty they are able to say truths that other people would not have gotten away with.

IMO, people should ideally be able to express many different aspects of the self. In our modern society there is a strong focus on the efficient and productive sides of the personality with the result that people forget to be playful in their language, in their bodily movements, etc.

Also, I think that in able to be adept at clowning you need to have a deep understanding of human behaviour and how it expresses through the body's movements. A talented clown can say something very poignantly by the twitch of an eye brow or by just imitating a certain facet of someone's movement.

It will be a sad day, indeed, when there are no more clowns... :cry:
 
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