Charlie's Creative Comedy presents

Thought For The Week

Issue #419 
November 21, 2011

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson




In the United States we will be celebrating Thanksgiving Day this Thursday.  It is celebrated on different days in other countries.  The importance of stopping to think about what you have to be thankful for is underscored by the fact that most cultures have some form of Thanksgiving. 


I am thankful for each of you, whether you are part of the small group that has been with me from the beginning of this newsletter or somebody who has just joined my group of readers.


I might not be sending another issue before December 1, which is the deadline for the early registration deadline for the Show Me Clowns For Jesus gospel clown ministry conference.  So this is my last reminder of that date.  The link for more information is under the Educational Opportunities column to the right.


Also, for WCA Members the deadline for applying for a Bo Dino Scholarship for attending an intensive clown educational program is only two months away.  You will find an application in the current issue of Clowning Around. It is not too early to begin thinking about how you want to answer the questions and collecting your letter of recommendation.


I'll see you down the road,


In This Issue
Thought For The Week
Clown Book by Angel Ocasio
Educational Opportunities

Thought For The Week 

November 21, 2011

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson


"It is a great mistake for men to give up paying compliments, for when they give up saying what is charming, they give up thinking what is charming." -- Oscar Wilde


I have coached Open Mike sessions for Comedifest, the Magic Show Conference, Northwest Festival of Clowns, and other workshops. The guidelines for doing that require that we start off by complimenting the performer on something that they have done to reassure them that we are not there just to rip their performance apart. Usually those who sign up for those performances are of a high quality. Rarely was there a performance that I did not immediately see something I could compliment. However, I have learned that even with those performances that I felt needed the most improvement I could find something positive to comment on if I really looked for it.


The reason is a psychological concept called Synchronicity which means you tend to find what you are looking for. Therefore if you are looking for reasons to compliment somebody you will find them. If you don't look for them you will overlook them.


You don't have to wait to stumble across something to compliment others on. You can consciously decide to do it. I'll use an example from being Committee Chair for a Cub Scout Pack. In America we celebrate Thanksgiving Day this week. I decided to send each member of the Pack committee a Thanksgiving card. When I started writing them I realized that each person had made major contributions to the group. I hadn't thought much about some of those contributions before, but when I began listing them I was amazed by how much the Pack had benefited from each committee member.


It is easy to forget to compliment somebody. I often get distracted and forget to make a comment after seeing others perform. You can remind yourself to pay compliments by setting a quota. Lee Mullally was the World Clown Association President in 1992-1993. I was the organization's education director during that same term. We decided to encourage the authors submitting material to Clowning Around, the WCA magazine. When each issue came out we individually picked one person who had been writing a column and sent them a note thanking them for their contributions and complimenting them on something in their writing. That quota meant each author heard from us at least once during the year.


Looking for admirable qualities in the performances of others, reminds me of those qualities so I can try to incorporate them into my own performance. For example, seeing somebody making sure everyone in their audience can see a prop they are holding reminds me to make an effort to insure my props are visible to everyone in my audiences.


I have had several discussions with members of the Fellowship of Christian Magicians who say variety artists involved in Gospel Ministry tend to avoid complimenting each other out of fear that will cause the recipient of the comments to become proud which is considered an undesirable trait. Many entertainers believe that variety artists involved in Gospel Ministry are less skilled in showmanship and technical ability than other entertainers. Like any stereotype that is not entirely true. There are some extremely skilled entertainers involved in Gospel Ministry. However, I have observed that the skill level in that specialty does tend to be lower. Oscar Wilde's observation may explain that partly. Since some people in that specialty don't compliment their peers they are not looking for admirable qualities to comment on. That means they don't think about those qualities that makes another act successful which might also improve their own act. What tends to confirm this observation is that those involved in that specialty that I think are more skilled are people who are also more likely to compliment other entertainers.


How often do you compliment others? What can you do to find admirable traits to comment on? How can you use that to remind yourself of what is desirable? How can you purposely set out to compliment others? Who will you choose to give a compliment?


Clown Book by Angel Ocasio 


Clowning: Keep It Simple, Keep It Real

By Angel Ocasio


Angel's stated purpose in writing this book is to help you take your clowning to the next level. That is what he does by sharing his thirty-years of experience as a clown. He just doesn't share what he has discovered on his own, but also shares what he has learned from other clowns he considers his mentors or peers. No matter where you are in your development as a clown you will find something of interest here. Angel combines specific examples with philosophical comments. There are several routines that anyone can use as a starting place for creating their own versions. Angel works with the Portland Rose Festival Character Clown Corps helping people start their clown journey. Some of what he writes in this book is suitable for those students. However, some of it won't be fully understood by them because they don't have the experience yet to put it into context. As they grow into the clown they have the potential to become they will experience something that will make them think, "Oh, that is what Angel meant." Experienced clowns may recognize some of the classic routines included in this book, but how Angel approaches those routines will inspire the reader to step up to a new level in their clowning. Throughout the book Angel stresses that the purpose of the tools of clowning is to connect with audience members, whether it is a single person in a close up setting or a large number in a theater, in a way that is personal, human, real, and funny. It is an excellent book no matter what level you are at in your clowning, and rereading it in the future will continue to help you improve your clowning. I highly recommend this book. For more information use this link.


Clown Book By Angel Ocasio 

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.
Show Me Clowns for Jesus
February 17-19, 2012
Springfield, MO
Topics to be announced


Big Foot Clown Alley

Tuesday March 13, 2012

7-9 PM

(Meeting starts at 6:30) 

Fife, WA

Strolling Entertainment


Big Foot Clowns 




California Clown Campin'

July 30 - August 5, 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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