Charlie's Creative Comedy presents

Thought For The Week
February 15, 2010
Issue #364

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson

Thank you to everyone who responded to last week's newsletter.  I appreciate hearing from you.
Lee Mullally reminded me that the Girl Scouts program also teaches life skills and the importance of service.  My mother was active in both Girl Scouts and Campfire Girls when my sisters were the appropriate age.  I do not know when Girl Scouts was founded, but I have discovered that Campfire Girls was also founded in 1910. Happy 100th Anniversary to Campfire Girls, another organization that has had a positive influence upon our world for the past century.
This week's main article begins with a quote from a reponse by another subscriber.
Have a great week,
In This Issue
Thought For The Week
Article by Bruce Johnson
Happy 100th Birthday Charlie Cairoli
Creativity for Entertainers Trilogy
Creativity for Entertainers Newsletter
Educational Opportunities

Thought For The Week 

February 15, 2010

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson

"One problem I have found about good deeds is that they can be pretty hard to do properly, unless you have the light touch that the teenager in Singapore shared with you. Sometimes people can be offended by what I thought was a good deed, when I did not get this right. It is nice to do a good deed, without being 'good'. It is even better to do a good deed that makes the other person feel good about themselves, rather than ashamed for needing some help, or put down.  I like the Jewish saying: 'Why do you hate me: what have I done to help you?'" - Mark Allerton


Mark is a Thought for the Week subscriber from Australia.  I thought his reply to last week's newsletter was an important reminder.


One of the things that was hard for me to learn, and that I am still learning, is that a good deed has to be done with tact and sensitivity. 


If you jump in too quickly with your help, the other person may feel that you consider them incompetent.  Ruth Winbald attended Clown Camp ® in La Crosse, WI when she was 100 years old.  She carried a cane.  Carole saw her coming and held a door open for her.  Ruth was offended.  She turned her cane upright, balanced it on her palm, and marched through the doorway.


On the other hand, if you wait too long to offer assistance the other person feels that you don't care.  For me knowing when to hold back and when to jump in with assistance is still hard to determine.  Sometimes I can tell from the person's reaction that I made the wrong choice.


If you do something for another person to help them out you can rob them of the pride of accomplishment.  Sometimes the kindest thing you can do is let them struggle on their own.  Then they feel joy when they succeed.  As a variety arts instructor I have to balance letting somebody learn by experience with preventing them from becoming so frustrated that they give up.


Sometimes letting somebody help you is a good deed in itself.  You cannot predict what the result will be.  At one of the Clown Camp ® reunion weeks I was the prop crew for a variety show.  The prop needs were simple and I could have easily handled it myself.  John Sheffield asked if he could help because he wanted to experience what it was like to work backstage.  I agreed and found jobs for him to do.  John discovered that he liked handling the technical aspects of a performance.  He went on to learn more about being part of the technical crew and has a better knowledge of that subject than I do.  Eventually I took a class John taught at Clown Camp ® on sound systems and learned a lot from him.  Several times he has been my technical person when I performed at variety arts conferences.


As Mark stated you want to do a good deed without creating the impression that your motive is proving how "good" you are.  When possible I like to do good deeds anonymously because that removes the suspicion that I am doing it just for my own glory.


It is not enough to just do good deeds.  They have to be done the right way.  How can you decide whether you should lend a hand or let them do it themselves?  How can you make them feel good about themselves?  How can you be caring without being condescending?  How can you provide encouragement instead of embarrassment?  When do you need to graciously accept assistance yourself?



Article by Bruce Johnson 

The Feburay issue of Clowning Around, published by the World Clown Association, includes an article I wrote titled "Exclusive and Inclusive Clown Definitions."  It is an exploration of the two types of methods for defining a clown and the affect the definition has on how we study the history of clowning and apply the lessons that we learn from it.  The article includes a section identifying some of the clown routines that were performed on Lucille Ball's "I Love Lucy" series.
In addition to writing the column, I supplied the illustrations.  The article is accompanied by three of my pen and ink portraits: Poodles Hanneford, W.C. Fields, and Lucille Ball.  There is a photo of Ezra Homison and Tim Ruzike as Doctore and Pantalone that I took at the 2009 Western Washington Rennaisance and Fantasy Fair.  The articles other illustration is a photo of Wu Jinaping, a chou (clown) with China's Peking Opera which I took at the 1993 World Clown Congress.
This is part of my WCA Historian column.  Many magic organizations, and independent publications for magicians, contain history columns because the realize the value of history as the foundation of what we do today and a source of inspiration for the future.  The WCA is the only major clown organization to publish a regular history column.
For more information go to

Happy 100th Birthday Charlie Cairoli 


Charlie  Cairoli was born near Milan on February 15, 1910.  His father, Jean Marie, and his mother, Eugenie, were both clowns performing an eccentric musical comedy act.  As a child, Charlie performed in his parent's clown act.  Charlie eventually joined his father and Porto appearing at the Cirque Medrano in Paris.  Charlie and his father then became resident clowns at the Blackpool Tower Circus in England.  Charlie was a clown at the Blackpool Tower Circus for 39 consecutive years.  He was known for his musical comedy acts and Lord George Sanger once brought his entire orchestra to the circus to study Charlie's musical technique.

Creativity For Entertainers Trilogy

CharlieRandy Christensen writes a column for Clowing Around as the World Clown Association Ministry Director.  His artilce in the February issue is titled "New Year Resources."  In the article he lists Creativity For Entertainers (Vol. 1, 2, 3) by Bruce Johnson as on of twelve books that "are some of the incredible materials that have impacted my clowning through the years." 
I am grateful to Randy for including my books on his list and am glad that they had an impact upon what he has down as a clown.  Thank you Randy.

Creativity For Entertainers Newsletter

CharlieI occasionally publish a second internet newsletter titled the Creativity For Entertainers Newsletter. It provides additional information and ideas related to my books.  Anyone may read it, but it is most useful to people who own the books.  The tenth issue of this newsletter was sent last Friday.  You can read back issues by going to my newsletter archives.  If you would like to subscribe to the free Creativity For Entertainers Newsletter you can do that using the Update Profile link at the bottom of this issue.
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
April 29 - May 1, 2010
Branson Magic Bonanza
Branson, MO
I will be there with a dealer table.
July 9-15, 2010
Clown Camp Singapore
Sixteen hours of classes over three days plus four days of performing in Singapore schools. 
September 8-12, 2010
South East Clown Association Convention
 Introduction to Juggling, Creativity Techniques, Trick Cartoons, Banquet Show, and Dealer Table
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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