Charlie's Creative Comedy presents

Thought For The Week

Issue #388 November 15, 2010

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson


The main article this week was inspired by one of my subscribers.  I am always interested in how you are able to use or apply ideas from my newsletters.  When it is appropriate I will include those ideas in a future issue of a newsletter.  Ideas really are not created in a vacuum.  Most ideas are based upon a previous idea.  When we share ideas we all benefit because working together we inspire each other so we generate many more ideas than if we each worked separately and then compiled those individual ideas.

I really enjoyed performing in An Evening of Magic last Sunday in Everett, WA.  Shawn O'Donnell gathered a very talented cast that worked well together.  The comraderie backstage between shows was wonderful.  I even managed to get a short dancing lesson from Eric and Rickie, two young ballroom dancers who had appeared last week on the results show of the American version of Dancing With The Stars.  I would like to thank Shawn for including me in this performance.

Thank you to everyone who spreads the word about my internet newsletters.  I have recently gotten several new subscribers.  I would love to add another 25 subscribers by the end of the year.  Who do you know that you think would benefit from receiving my newsletters?  Invite them to subscribe.  They can easily subscribe using the Join Our Mailing List link on the home page of my web site.

Have a great week,

In This Issue
Thought For The Week
Article by Bruce Johnson
Clowning Around Magazine
Educational Opportunities

Thought For The Week 

November 15, 2010

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson


"The stock of ideas which mankind has to work with is very limited, like the alphabet, and can at best have an air of freshness given it by new arrangements and combinations, or by application to new times and circumstances."  -- James Rusell Lowell


In the November 8, 2010 Thought For the Week, I referred to a set of five scarves manufactured by Wonder Imagery that are called The HERO In You.  It has four small scarves, each with one letter, that together spell HERO.  There is also a large scarf depicting somebody in a Superhero costume.  The original routine is intended to be used as a motivational message for children.  I described how I used just the large scarf for a routine at a Superhero themed birthday party.  (New subscribers can read that article by using the archive link on the right.)


In the United States, November 11 is observed as Veterans Day, a day set aside to honor those who have served the country in the military.  Last weekend I received this message from Kathy Shook, one of my American subscribers.


Hi Bruce,
This thought of the week came just in time for me. I had been thinking about what to do when I visited the nursing home on Veterans Day. I was able to use the idea to create a prop and routine just right for that day. I have several Vets or widows of Vets in this home. I used cards I made up with the letters then produced the HERO. There are so many words I could do the same thing with.
Thanks, Kathy


I had not thought of producing the word HERO on Veterans Day.  Kathy saw something that I hadn't because she applied the basic idea to a different circumstance.


Kathy used a change bag to switch the cards with random letters for cards that spelled out the desired word.  There are other methods she could have used.  The method of performing the Four Ace Trick described in Creativity For Entertainers Volume Three can be used with an alphabet deck to produce any four letter word.  There are many other possibilities.  How would you produce a word or phrase relevant to an event?


Inspired by different circumstances and times Kathy and I came up with two very different routines based on The HERO in You.


This past Sunday I had the pleasure of being in two performances of a variety show with a very talented cast.  Lorena Watters performed an instantaneous costume change as part of an act she did with her husband Trevor.  The show also featured Erik and Rickie, a pair of ten-year-old ballroom dancers who have appeared on television in Dancing With The Stars.  Rickie was intrigued by the idea of performing an instantaneous costume change during one of her dance numbers.  During the break between shows, Lorena very graciously showed Rickie how the instant change costume worked and was constructed.  Lorena gave Rickie much knowledge she had learned from trial and error.  It will be interesting to see what Rickie does with the instantaneous costume change idea.  The idea has been used in many magic acts, but I am not aware of it being combined with ballroom dancing.  In many ways Loren's dress reminded me of the color changing streamer I had used in my act during the show.  I may be able to incorporate some of her ideas to improve the operation of my streamer.


Entertainers often are obsessed with finding a new idea, but the best solution might be an existing idea applied to a new circumstance or combined with other existing ideas.  When you need an idea for a specific circumstance or occasion ask what other ideas do you know that can be applied now?  Take one of your favorite ideas.  Can you rearrange it or combine it with something else?  Share your ideas with others to see what new arrangements, combinations, or applications they come up with.



Article by Bruce Johnson

An article I wrote titled Clowns In Literature appears in the November 2010 issue of Clowning Around published by the World Clown Assocition.  This is part of the column that I write as WCA Historian.  The article describes how authors have been inspired by clown history and how clowns who are author drew upon their experience in writting their novels.  I discuss how literature featuring clowns can inspire and educate us.  We often think about clown history being performances by actual entertainers, but the view lay people have of clowns is heavily influenced by what they read.  Many people have never seen a live clown performance so their image of clowns is based upon media portrayals, including clowns in novels.


This article is currently available only in Clowning Around.  However, two earlier articles from this history column are posted on my web site.  They are


Inclusive and Exclusive Clown Definitions


History and Philosophy


See the next article for more information on Clowning Around.

Clowing Around Magazine

A year ago the World Clown Association changed editors for their magazine titled Clowning Around.  Richelle Steven, the new editor, has really improved the appearance of the magazine.  Recently a change in the printing company being used resulted in cost savings allowing the organization to publish more issues per year.  At the same time the magazine is now sent in a poly bag so it arrives in better condition.  Clowning Around does include the articles necessary for conducting the business of the organization, but the WCA has been working to increase the educational content of the magazine.  The current November 2010 issue demonstrates how well they are succeeding.  The cover story, by Leah "Tango" Estrin, is a profile of the San Diego Clown Conspiracy alley.  Elaine "Daisy D. Dotts" Vercellone, the Junior Joey Director, wrote an article on entertaining with bubbles and turning old toys into props.  There are two articles by Patti "Dimples" Koopmans,.  Her first article explains why clowning is what you do not what you look like.  Her second article is a short profile of Val "Puff" Meiners.  An article by Janet "Jelly Bean" Tucker, WCA Ministry Director, contains advice on writing ministry skits and includes six idea starters for Christmas.  Richard Snowberg, WCA Past President, wrote two educational articles.  One is a short profile of Chester "Bobo" Barnett, the 2010 Inductee into the International Clown Hall of Fame.  Richard's second article, titled "The Care and Feed of Your Audience Part 1," begins a new series that will be appearing in the magazine.  Lee Mullally's article titled "Promote Your Clowning Using a Web Site Part 3", on using visuals, concludes his excellent business promotion series.  He announced that a series of articles on how to teach variety arts skills will begin in the next issue.  Karen Baxter, a member of the WCA Caring Clown Committee, wrote an article about Laughter Yoga titled "Limber Up Alzheimer Residents with 'Laughter'cize."  Anita Thies, WCA Caring Clown Chair, wrote about her experience using wordless comedy to entertain on a mission trip to India in an article titled "The Language of Laughter: Clowning Beyond Words."  Arthur Pedlar wrote an article about Comedy Shake, a gathering of circus students from ten countries across Europe and the Middle East. Steven Snyder wrote an article titled "Practice Makes Perfect - Or Does It?"  Deanna Hartmier contributed a report on the 2010 California Clown Campin' education program.  The Last Walkaround section had short profiles of Deloris "Dee" Burda and Mary Ann "Granny Hug-A-Bug" Franssen.  My article on Literary Clowns appears in this issue.  If you are interested in clowning I highly recommend this publication.


You will find information about receiving Clowning Around by joining the World Clown Association on their web site.


World Clown Association

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

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.

World Clown Association Convention
March 14-18, 2011
New York, NY
The History of American Clowning,
Trick Cartoons


California Clown Campin'

August 1-6, 2011

Santa Barbara, CA

Topics to be announced

CCC Information

For information on additional services that I can provide for an educational event 

Quick Links
Join Our Mailing List