Charlie's Creative Comedy presents

Thought For The Week

Issue #412 
September 5, 2011

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson







Angel Ocasio's Comedifest is just a month away. It is returning after a hiatus of several years. Each educational program that I participate in has its own unique features. The Comedifest Open Mike session is rare. (I know of only a few other programs that do something similar.) After each act performs a panel of variety arts coaches presents a verbal critique identifying their strengths and suggesting changes that might be considered. It is an educational session for both the performers and audience because everyone hears the coaches' comments. You can read more about the critique process on my web site by going to



I will be presenting two classes, serving on the Open Mike coaching panel, and having my dealer table. Remember that my dealer table is often the easiest place to find me at an educational program because that is when I am scheduled to be at a specific place at a definite time. (I frequently attend classes by other staff members when I can fit it into my schedule.) If you are at Comedifest, please stop by my table to ask questions, to see my newest products, or just to say hello. I have already heard from several subscribers who will be at Comedifest. I hope to see many more there. You can find more information about this program using the link in the Educational Opportunities column to the right.


I will be doing strolling entertainment at the Good Cheer Food Bank Harvest Festival from 11AM to 3PM on Saturday September 10. The Good Cheer Food Bank is located in Langley, WA on Whidbey Island. I invite my subscribers in the Pacific Northwest to stop by and say hello.


I'll see you down the road,


In This Issue
Thought For The Week
Comedifest Class
New Article by Bruce Johnson
Educational Opportunities

Thought For The Week 

September 5, 2011

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson



"Shared laughter creates a bond of friendships. When people laugh together, they cease to be young and old, teacher and pupils, worker and boss. They become a single group of human beings." -- W. Lee Grant


It is true that shared laughter creates a bond. After Carole visits her most treasured friends she always says they laughed together a lot. That is why she enjoys spending time with them. I once saw a study that said the surest way to predict if a new couple would go on a second date was whether they had laughed together during their first date.


That is why motivational speakers are frequently advised to use humor in their presentations. It is the quickest way to unite a group. A united group is easier to motivate to participate in discussions and exercises. A united group is easier to persuade.


Performances by staff members at programs like California Clown Campin' are an important part of the curriculum. The initial Staff Bits performance introduces each staff member and allows them to establish their credibility as entertainers. That performance also starts to unite the group. The Staff on Stage performances in the morning and evening each day are excellent examples of entertainment that staff members can refer to during class sessions, but they also strengthen the bonds between the group. As a result the participants feel freer to approach staff members with questions and comments. Participants also begin to share ideas with each other. Those bonds of friendships were part of the reason Clown Camp ® was so successful for thirty years. I have heard more than one person say they felt like it was a family and they looked forward to returning each year for the "family reunion." That is a major reason why California Clown Campin' was founded by a group of people who had met at Clown Camp ®. They did not want those relationships and that kind of an experience to end.


Some people involved in ministry avoid using humor because they consider the lesson they are trying to teach to be serious and important. However shared laughter is part of the foundation for clown ministry and other variety arts ministries. Humor creates bonds that make the presentation more effective. Also, one of the goals in a group of believers is to create bonds between members. That way they will support and encourage each other. Everything in a ministry presentation does not need a message or spiritual application. There should be a lesson included in some part of the presentation, but the goal of parts of the presentation should be generating shared laughter.


While shared laughter creates bonds, humor targeting a member of the group or inappropriate humor shatters those bonds and fractures the group. It will alienate some members of the audience who then erect barriers between themselves and others, particularly towards the person making the inappropriate comment. They start to resist participating with the group. They refuse to be persuaded by the presenter.


Another type of humor to be cautious of, especially if you are running a meeting, is inside jokes. One year the officers of a magic club I belonged to had several inside jokes that were understood by a few of their friends. They referred to those jokes frequently at meetings. The majority of the members felt excluded from the leadership clique and attendance at meetings plummeted.


How can you use shared laughter to create bonds with others? What can you do to avoid inappropriate humor that may break those bonds? How can you create opportunities for shared laughter that unites a group? How can you take advantage of a united group?


Comedifest Class

Both lectures that I am presenting at next month's Comedifest are ones that I have created specifically for this event.  Since their description is not included on my web site, I am going to feature them here.  The first one is Comedy Magic.  The description is:


This class you will help you add more comedy to your magic performances. Techniques you will learn to use include the Performer in Trouble Syndrome, Automatic Accident, Silent Script, Plausible Impossible, Comedy Logic, Audience Interaction, Timing, and Improvisation. You will learn specific effects and magic methods that will allow you to put these techniques to immediate use. Then you can then apply them to other magic effects to increase the humor content of your entertainment.


I'll include the description for the Storlling Entertainment class in the next issue of this newsletter.


For more information on Comedifest, use the link in the Educational Opportunities column on the upper right.


New Article by Bruce Johnson


I wrote an article titled "Producing a Phrase" that appears in the current issue (Vol. 9 #2) of The Funny Paper published by SPS Publications.  The article describes a routine I performed in my Staff on Stage show two years ago during the final traditional week of Clown Camp®.  I know that many of my subscribers saw that performance.  The method that I used allows you to easily construct a phrase that can be produced by magic during a show.  The letters are four-inches high and can easily be read by an audience.  They appear attached to a ribbon.  You limited in length only by the width of your stage.  The article also explains how a solo performer can easily produce and display a string of flags, long silk streamer, or other production item.


Most of the magazines that I write articles for are published by an organization for their members.  The Funny Paper is published privately which means it is filled entirely with educational content since it does not also need to communicate the business of the organization.  It was founded by Chris Van Kreken and is currently being published by Samuel Patrick Smith.  Chris was inspired by Laugh-Makers Magazine published by Bob and Cathy Gibbons.  She started her magazine when Laugh-Makers Magazine ended.  Many of the former Laugh-Makers authors contribute to The Funny Paper. 


I realize how very fortunate I was to have been one of the Laugh-Makers Magazine Senior Columnists.  Laugh-Makers had an outstanding reputation for quality.  I know that many people consider it the best variety arts magazine to ever be published.  I still meet entertainers for the first time who tell me how much that magazine contributed to their development as performers.  Being associated with that magazine opened many doors for me.  I learned a lot about writing articles by studying how Cathy Gibbons edited my articles.  I am grateful that I got to work with and know Bob and Cathy.


Nothing matches the standards set by Bob and Cathy with their Laugh-Makers Magazine.  However, if you miss that outstanding publication, you will enjoy The Funny Paper which comes closest to continuing their legacy.  Everyone involved in variety arts will find something useful within its pages.


For more information, go to


The Funny Paper Magazine



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 2011 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.

October 6-9, 2011
Portland, OR
Classes: Comedy Magic, Strolling Entertainment
Show Me Clowns for Jesus
February 17-19, 2012
Springfield, MO
Topics to be announced


California Clown Campin'

August 2-7, 2012

San Bernardino, CA


Classes:  To Be Announced 


California Clown Campin Information



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

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