Charlie's Creative Comedy presents

Thought For The Week

Issue #486 
May 7, 2012

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson



It has be been a while since I have been able to send out a newsletter. Changes aren't always an improvement. I was very happy with Constant Contact because it was easy to use. In fact I was declared one of their 2012 Marketing All-Stars. This is the third year in a row that I received that distinction. Earlier this year Constant Contact upgraded their service adding new features. I also upgraded my internet browser. Somehow the two in combination caused a compatibility problem that meant I couldn't get Constant Contact to work correctly. A Constant Contact customer service representative has helped me solve the problem.


I attended the 2012 Circus Fans of America Association Convention last month. I thought it was a wonderful convention and a very positive experience for me. I saw several subscribers there. I learned a lot through the seminars, optional side trips, and talking with people between events. I talked to at least fifteen active and former clowns during the week and got a lot of information from them. I would like to thank the organizers of the CFA Convention for their work and hospitality putting on such a great event.



The Circus Fans of America Association and the World Clown Association are developing a relationship in recognition of their shared interests. The CFA is working to preserve and promote the art of the circus, including clowning. The WCA is working to preserve and promote the art of clowning, including circus performances. The CFA donated copies of White Tops, their magazine, to the WCA for their convention goodie bags. The WCA donated copies of Clowning Around, their magazine, to the CFA for their convention goodie bags. The CFA also provided a free table in their convention dealer room to the WCA to promote their organization.


I will be the featured clown at the 2012 California Clown Campin' program July 30 - August 5. They have announced a change in venue. Instead of being held on the California State University - San Bernardino campus it will be held at a hotel near the Ontario airport. What does this mean for you? First, there will be a convenient free shuttle from the airport to the hotel making getting there easier. Second, there will be less walking to do. You won't have to go outside during the heat of the day to travel half way across the campus. The program still includes all meals and a performance of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. The production we will see is Dragons. From the reviews I have seen so far it sounds like an outstanding show. You can find more information using the link under the educational opportunity column to the right.


I'll see you down the road,














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

Thought For The Week 

Mary 7, 2012

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson


"Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. Never make a negative decision in the low time. Never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods. Wait. Be patient. The storm will pass. The spring will come." -- Robert H. Schuller


On my list of chores for this month is pruning a flowering cherry tree. We discovered last winter that some of the limbs were dead. However, we couldn't tell for sure which limbs were dead and which ones were merely dormant. Now time has passed and the tree is in bloom. Now I can easily see which branches need to be cut off because they are the ones without blossoms.


The same principle holds true for routines. If a routine does not get the response you want in a show, don't remove it immediately. It is hard to tell what caused the failure. It may be a flaw in the routine or it may be some other condition. I learned when I worked at Raging Waters, an amusement park in Southern California, that I didn't get as much response from crowds on extremely hot days. I knew from comments following a performance that people enjoyed the show. However, during the show they didn't have the energy to respond verbally or to laugh the way an audience would normally. Eliminating material from my shows based on the response to those performances would have been a mistake.


There are many things that can dampen response. For example, I have noticed that if audience members are seated too far apart there is less applause and laughter. If people are seated close together the response becomes contagious and they react more as a unified group and less like scattered individuals.


This principal is particularly true with new routines. If a new routine does not work at first you can't tell if the basic idea is bad or if you just haven't learned to perform it correctly yet. When you perform something for the first time feeling nervous is normal. However, for something to succeed you generally have to perform it with confidence. When I would develop a new juggling trick I could do it repeatedly in practice, but would fail the first few times in a performance due to being nervous. The nerves threw my timing off just enough that I missed the trick. Ironically missing the trick in performance, recovering and finishing the act to good audience response helped overcome the nerves. Knowing that it didn't matter if I missed the trick allowed me to relax and I succeeded.


What is true about juggling is also true about comedy. Comedy is based on timing. When you are nervous you naturally tend to rush which means the audience does not have time to think and react the way you want. If something does not get the response you want, and you let that worry you, the timing for the rest of your act will suffer. Deciding an audience doesn't like you can become a domino effect causing your act to rapidly cascade and fall flat. When something goes wrong in a show, don't make the decision that the show is dead. Give that performance and your relationship with that audience time to blossom back into life.


It takes time to determine if an idea is dead or just laying dormant waiting for the right conditions. Try a new routine several times in different shows. Give it time to blossom. Then if nothing happens, prune it out of your act.


How can you determine if something is dead or dormant? How can you allow time for something to begin to bud and blossom? How can you delay making decisions during a down time?




New Article by Bruce Johnson


I wrote an article about the Circus Boy television series and books which appeared in the March/April issue of White Tops, published by the Circus Fans of America Association. Circus Boy was recently aired on a cable television channel. This program from the 1950's provides interesting glimpses of clown acts from that era. It is also a pretty good fictional portrayal of late nineteenth century circus life.


To learn more about the Circus Fans of America Association, and to join which includes a subscription to White Tops, go to



Circus Fans of America 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 2012 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.
California Clown Campin'

July 30 - August 5, 2012

San Bernardino, CA


The Art of Clowning Exhibit (Clown portraits created by Bruce Johnson)


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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