Charlie's Creative Comedy presents

Thought For The Week
March 1, 2010
Issue #365

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson

One of my long term goals was to write 365 Thought for the Week articles that I could then compile into a Thought for the Day reprint book.  This week I have met that goal.  Now I can begin work on editing that book.  It won't be available for a while because I expect the editing process to be time consuming.
That was not my original goal when I sent the first Thought for the Week issue out on May 2. 2001.  At that time I would have considered that an impossible task.  My second Thought for the Week began with an annonymous quote, "Hard by the yard, but a cinch by the inch."  While doing one Thought for the Week at a time, I eventually realized that doing a year's worth of individual articles was attainable.
I have many subscribers who have been with me from the beginning.  I am grateful for their loyalty and support.  I also have many new subscribers.  Welcome, I am glad that you have joined us.
Have a great week,
In This Issue
Thought For The Week
Article by Bruce Johnson
Happy 50th Birthday Family Circus
Creativity for Entertainers Trilogy
Headless Cartoon Scarves
Entertainment 100 Years Ago
Educational Opportunities

Thought For The Week 

March 1, 2010

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson

"I don't think you can be a performer without liking people.  If you like the audience, you want to please them." - Ronald Reagan


I watched the 2010 Winter Olympics Figure Skating Champions Gala Exhibition performance this past weekend.  In comments made by TV commentators Sandra Bezic and Scott Hamilton and by the skaters themselves in interviews, one theme emerged.  During the competition all of the skaters had tried to please the judges, but the champions had also tried to please the audience at the same time.  During the gala exhibition, the champions tried to present something special for the audience as a thank you for their support.  The skaters could have relaxed and taken it easy during the exhibition, but several of them performed technically difficult routines because they thought that would please the audience. 


Through the years there have been several figure skaters that I didn't care for.  They were praised for their athletic skill.  Often they came close to winning without succeeding, or they won once on a fluke because the true champions faltered.  They got as far as they did based on their athletic skill.  The one thing I felt that they had in common which kept them from being champions was their insistence upon pleasing themselves.  When they didn't win they often complained that they were just being true to their self and the judges refused to appreciate their artistry.  However, self indulgence isn't artistry.  The skaters who made an effort to connect with their audience were those who scored the highest on artistry.


There have been some skaters that I didn't care for who had large groups of fans.  Those skaters identified the type of audience member they liked and tried to please them.  Since I did not belong to that portion of the audience I was not pleased by what they did.  However those skaters were successful with their intended audience.


In my personal life, I try to please those people that I like.  Part of my motivation is selfish.  I want them to like me as well.  I also get a feeling of satisfaction from pleasing them.


I have reached the point in my career where I have enough material to be able to relax and take it easy.  However, in most of my performances I try to do something special to please that particular audience.  For example, last week I performed at a Cub Scout Blue and Gold Banquet.  (That is a potluck dinner celebrating the anniversary of Boy Scouts of America.)  Early in my show I performed a mismade torn and restored paper routine that included the Pack's number.  (That routine is described in Creativity For Entertainers Volume Three.)  In the middle of the show I produced a 36-inch silk scarf depicting the Cub Scout logo that I had painted by hand.  I will be using that scarf when I entertain at other scouting events.  Near the end of the show I performed another routine that resulted in my producing a piece of paper wishing a Happy 100th Birthday to the BSA. 


I really like the audience at Cub Scout events, and am working to market my entertainment to those groups so that I can perform for them more often.


Do you like your audience?  Is there one type of audience that you like better than others?  Where can you find that type of audience?  What will please your audience?  What can you do to please them?  Is there something you can add to your shows that will please a particular audience?



Article by Bruce Johnson 

The February 2010 issue of Advance, Duane Laflin's newsletter for entertainers involved in gospel ministry, includes an article I wrote titled Finding A Lost Lamb.  It is an idea using an alphabet deck. For information on subscribing send a message to

Happy 50th Birthday Family Circus 


Bil Keane's daily Family Circus cartoon debuted on February 29, 1960.  In honor of the strips 50th Anniversary they are reprinting some of the original cartoons from 50 years ago.

I have mentioned before that I learned alot about comedy structure and techniques by studying comic strips.  I really learned about two techniques, Malaprops and Slice of Life, by studying the Family Circus.
A Family Circus compilation published 25 years ago really taught me about incorporating your life into your comedy.  For example, Bruce Horton, president of the Register and Tribune Syndicate when it began distributing Keane's cartoons, is the model for Daddy's boss in the cartoons.  The entire Keane family enjoyed tennis which inspired the many tennis comics Keane has drawn over the years.  His daughte Gayle, whom his wife had nicknamed Dolly as a small girl, was married on March 15, 1975.  On that date the Family Circus cartoon depicted the Dolly character playing that she was a bride.  Bil's father, Al, passed away before Family Circus debuted so the comic strip's paternal grandmother was a widow.  The strip's paternal grandfather appeared only in old family photos or as a specter of the imagination.  Bil used events in his children's life to inspire his cartoons, but he also drew upon his own childhood memories and incoporated them into his humor.
What can you learn by studying comic strips?  How can you pay tribute to important people in your life through your performances?  What childhood memories can you use as inspiration?

Creativity For Entertainers Recommendation

CharlieDuane Laflin wrote about my Creativity For Entertainers trilogy in his February 2010 Advance newsletter.  Duane said, "Along with teaching a variety of practical techniques for unleashing your own creative abilities the books alson givbe you many complete trick ideas and routines that you can put directly into your performance.  Bruce is not one to toot his own horn so I am taking it upon myself to tell you about his books and give them my highest recommendation.  They are a tremendous resource."
I would like to thank Duane for his kind words. 

Headless Cartoon Scarves

I recently mentioned the Headless Cartoon Scarves.  Some subscribers wanted to know where to obtain them.  They are manufactured and sold by Laflin Magic.  You can get information on ordering them by contacting Duane and Mary Laflin at 406-291-2004 or  If you call them by phone please remember that they are living in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and call at an appropriate hour in their time zone.

Entertainment 100 Years Ago 


The American movie industry began in 1895.  During the first fifteen years of its existence, it was centered in New York.  In 1910, from January 20 - April 14, D.W. Griffith took some of his Biograph Pictures stars, including comedy actor Mack Sennett, to Southern California in order to take advantage of the mild winter weather.  While they are there they filmed 25 pictures.  The stars all enjoyed the experience and vowed to return which started the migration of the film industry to Los Angeles.  Mack Sennett returned within two years to set up his Keystone Pictures studio.  Many vaudeville and circus clowns would find work appearing in Sennett's film comedies.  When Pinto Colvig, an International Clown Hall of Fame inductee, wanted to stop touring in vaudeville and circuses so he could settle down and raise his family, one of his first jobs was as a gag writer at the Keystone studios.


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
Jacksonville, Florida
 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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