Charlie's Creative Comedy presents

Thought For The Week
June 14, 2010
Issue #375

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson

I would  like to clarify something about the article announcements that I include in this newsletter.  For the most part those articles are not available on-line.  I don't think it is fair to those people who pay to subscribe or join the publishing organization to provide that content for free to others, at least not simultaneously.  I announce the articles and provide a link to the publisher to help promote those magazines.  If I write for a magazine it is because I believe it is a valuable resource for the readers.  I want you to be aware of it because I think you might benefit from it if it matches your interests.  I also have a selfish interest in promoting those magazines.  I want them to succeed so that I can continue to read the articles written by the other contributors.
One of the most popular features of this newsletter is the history trivia quiz.  You will find another entry in this week's newsletter.  There are other styles of history trivia puzzles and quizzes posted on my web site.
Have a great week,
In This Issue
Thought For The Week
History Trivia Quiz
Article by Bruce Johnson
Educational Opportunities

Thought For The Week 

June 14, 2010

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson


"The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function." -- F. Scott Fitzgerald


In Creativity For Entertainers Volume One, I wrote, "Another creativity paradox is that it requires work and discipline, but it also requires not doing anything and freedom."


The job description of the official World Clown Association Historian includes continuing my own education into the history of clowning, and writing a column for Clowning Around magazine.  I do spend a lot of time and effort on that.  Each month I read at least one book related to the history of clowning and comedy.  I recently read Mixed Nuts: America's Love Affair with Comedy Teams From Burns and Allen to Belushi and Aykroyd by Lawrence J. Epstein.  I am currently reading two different books on the Hanlon Brothers, an important nineteenth century family of clowns.  Each month I spend at least some time doing research using the New York Times archives.  I have also been watching videos.  For an article that I am currently writing on Gene Sheldon I watched "Three Ring Circus," Disney's "Babes In Toyland," "Toby Tyler, or Ten Weeks with the Circus," and "Roberta."  Those are all films that Sheldon appeared in.  I have also watched again two videos from my collection featuring Sheldon as a television guest star, the 1962 broadcast of the "Golden Horseshoe Review 10,000th Performance" and an episode of the Jackie Gleason Show.  I have watched other videos of his television appearances that have been posted on YouTube.  I am completing the second of two pen and ink drawings of Gene Sheldon that will accompany the article that I have written.  It is important to do that work because that gives me a storehouse of information to draw upon.


For the past three weeks I have also been spending time outdoors doing our annual spring maintenance of our property.  That time away from studying clown history and writing articles has been a very important part of my productivity.  The physical labor has allowed my subconscious time and freedom to work.  Suddenly I would become aware of a new article idea.  As I worked I realized how the article could be organized.  I played around with possible phrases and paragraphs to use in the article.  After I finished my work outside, I sat down at my computer and recorded those ideas.  Now I have outlines for enough articles for the next year.  I still have a lot of work to do on those articles, but by not working on them my subconscious gave me a direction to take so that when I do work on them my efforts will be productive.


The concept of balancing working hard and not doing any work is just one of the paradoxes involved in creativity.  Another is balancing not judging the merit of your initial ideas, because that cuts off the flow of ideas, with judging your ideas so you use the best.  That is particularly hard to do while improvising.  You need the freedom to generate many different ideas and the discipline not to express those that are inappropriate.


There are many paradoxes in creativity.  Creativity includes a willingness to challenge the rules, while also creating rules that will guide your work.  Creativity requires questioning your assumptions and making new ones.  Creativity means exercising your freedom of choice while realizing that not every choice is beneficial.  Creativity means keeping in mind that your performance is about the audience instead of about you, but when you create material about you there often is a stronger connection to the audience.  Creativity means working on a routine over the years so that it is polished and as effective as possible while also performing new routines that are fresh and topical.  Creativity means striving to make something perfect while realizing that perfection is impossible so there is a point where it is good enough.  Creativity means taking risks while limiting the effects of failure.  Creativity means not being paralyzed by opposing ideas.


What do you do when faced with a paradox?  How do you balance opposing ideas so that you can still function?

History Trivia

Click on the link that you think is the correct answer.  These links will reamin active until July 1.  After that date use the history trivia link in the right column of this newsletter to check your answers. 

Switching sounds between words, for example, ordering a Chiss Sweese Sandwich, is a comedy technique named after a historical person known for making that kind of verbal mistake in real life.  This comedy technique is called a



Article by Bruce Johnson

I wrote an article titled Beware of Crucifixiation that was published in the April/May/June issue of The Cross and the Clown.  The magazine is currently published by the Fellowship of Christian Clowns.
This is the tenth anniversary issue of the magazine.  I have been a columnist since the beginning.  However, I have decided to direct my efforts elsewhere so this is my last article in this magazine.  I would like to thank the editors, Tony and Nikki Jones, for publishing my articles for the past ten years.
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 2010 by Bruce "Charlie" Johnson.
All rights reserved. 

Educational Opportunities
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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