Charlie's Creative Comedy presents

Thought For The Week
July 6, 2009
Issue #337

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson

I am experimenting with a new feature this week.  It is a history trivia question.  After the question there will be two choices.  Click on the one that you think is correct and you will be taken to a page on my web site that will tell you if you are correct.  That page will also have a link for more information on the subject.  I know that some subscribers do not read my newsletter as soon as it is sent.  I am planning to leave the links in this newsletter active for a month.  Then if this proves to be a popular feature I will change the information on that particular page of my web site.  The answer will then go onto an archived page.
I am always interested in your comments and questions.  Let me know what you think of this new feature.
In This Issue
Thought For The Week
The Last Lecture
History Trivia Question
Theatrical Term
Educational Opportunities

Thought For The Week 

  July 6, 2009

"A lot of professors give talks titled 'The Last Lecture.'  It has become a common exercise on college campuses.  Professors are asked to consider their demise and to ruminate on what matters most to them.  And while they speak, audiences can't help but mull the same question:  What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance?  If we had to vanish tomorrow, what would we want as our legacy?"  -- Randy Pausch
Randy Pausch was invited to give a Last Lecture at CarnegieMellonUniversity.  Then he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer so it really became his last lecture. He delivered his lecture on September 18, 2007.  It was videotaped and millions of people have watched it on the internet.  It was not a lecture about dying, but about how to live life.  Randy lost his battle to pancreatic cancer on July 25th, 2008.  (For more information about the lecture and the opportunity to watch it go to
I have always considered it a privilege and pleasure to be asked to perform a Staff on Stage show at Clown Camp® in La Crosse, WI.  When I was invited to do one again this year I knew that it would be my last.  It wouldn't be my last Staff on Stage show because of my health, but because this was the last of the traditional Clown Camp® programs in La Crosse.  (Clown Camp® is continuing but the format and locations will be different.)  I spent a lot of time and effort on this particular performance.  I wanted it to be memorable.  I could have easily done a show that was pure entertainment, but I wanted it to also be inspirational.  I wanted to leave my audience with something to think about.
That got me started thinking.  I put in extra effort into that Staff on Stage show because I knew it would be my last performance in one of my favorite venues.  However, we never know what the future will hold.  We can't always plan our last performance.  In September 2003, John Ritter had completed filming some episodes for the second season of his television series titled Eight Simple Rules... For Dating My Daughter.  He was rehearsing another episode when he became ill.  He was rushed across the street to ProvidenceSt. JosephMedicalCenter in Burbank, California, where he was diagnosed with an aorta dissection.  He died later that day in the operating room.
There have been many other entertainers who died suddenly and unexpectedly.  They did not have a chance to plan their last performance.
What difference would it make if you knew your next performance would also be your last?  What would you want your audience to remember about the show?  What would you do to prepare for that last performance?  What would you change if you knew every performance potentially could be your last?
When Carole leaves our house to go somewhere, I try to remember to tell her that I love her.  I do that because if something unexpected happens and I don't see her again, I want that to be the last thing she heard from me.  I want to be sure that she knew that.  It is not being morbid.  I am not panicked that I might not see her again.  However, I don't want to ever regret that I left something unsaid.  What would you want people in your life to know if you don't see them again?  What would you hate to leave unsaid?

The Last Lecture

When I went to the public library and checked out a book by Randy Pausch titled The Last Lecture, I expected it to be the text of the famous lecture that he gave at Carnegie Mellon University after being dagnosed with terminal cancer.  I was surprised that it was a book about preparing the lecture, delivering it, and the response that it has received.  As I read it I kept thinking, "Oh, that statement would be a good topic for a Thought For The Week."  Gradually I realized that Randy was expressing it better than I could and that almost every page was relevant to my subscribers.  The things people have told me they like about the Thought For The Week are all true about The Last Lecture.  Without hesitation I can say that Thought For The Week subscribers will find The Last Lecture to be inspiring and informative.  I was so impressed with it that I am returning the borrowed copy to the public library and purchasing my own copy because I know I will want to refer to it again and again in the future.  I very strongly recommend that you read this book.

History Trivia

Click on what you think is the Correct answer to this question.
A frequently used gag in nineteenth century circuses was for the Ringmaster to demand that the clown let him leave first.  The Ringmaster would exclaim, "I will never follow a fool."
The clown would then happily fall in line behind the Ringmaster while loudly proclaiming, "I don't mind doing it at all."
The joke was inspired by
1 A Falstaff
Falstaff is a character in Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor.
Mathurine is a woman who was a jester in the French court during the seventeenth century.

(These links will remain valid until August 1.  After that date go to my trivia archive page to check whether your anwer is correct.)

Theatrical Term -- Break A Leg

Among theater people the traditional way to wish somebody good luck, especially during a performance, is to say, "Break A Leg."  The origin of this is the idea that fate is perverse and you usually get the opposite of what you ask for.  Therefore, the best way to insure somebody has good fortune is to wish that something bad happens to them.
Around 1990 I first heard the clown version of this phrase which is "Bump A Nose."  This does not mean to gently touch noses with somebody like Eskimos kissing.  It means run into something hard enough that your artificial nose is knocked off.
I have a friend with a theatrical background who is disappointed if I do not say "Brea A Leg."  In fact that is how we close personal letters to each other.  I have other friends with a circus background, where broken legs are too often a reality, who are offended if I tell them to "Break A Leg."  Until I learn their individual preference, I often will simply say, "Have a good show."
Thank you for being a subscriber.  I am always interested in your questions and comments.
Remember if you have missed an issue, you can read it by using the archive link in the right column.  If you want to change the address where you are receiving this newsletter, use the update profile link below.  If this newsletter no longer meets your needs, you can use the SafeUnsubscribe link to be permanently removed from my mailing list.  If you want to spread the word about this newsletter, you can use the forward email link below to send copies to others that you think might be interested.
I hope to see you down the road.

Bruce Johnson
Charlie's Creative Comedy
Copyright 2009 by Bruce "Charlie" Johnson.
All rights reserved. 

Educational Opportunities
October 15-18. 2009
Northwest Festival of Clowns
 Olympia. WA
Red Nose Festival Competition Coach and Vendor
 November 4-8, 2009
Next Step Workshop
Wilmar, Minnesota
This is an advanced workshop for those serious about Gospel Clown Ministry.  It is limited to fifteen participants.
July 9-15, 2010
Clown Camp Singapore
Sixteen hours of classes over three days plus four days of performing in Singapore schools. 
I believe in promoting any event I will be lecturing at.  If you schedule me for an educational event that you are hosting, I will list it here.  My goal is to do what I can to best meet the needs of you and your group.
For information on additional services that I can provide for an educational event 

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