Charlie's Creative Comedy presents

Thought For The Week

Issue #487 
May 14, 2012

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson




I started my professional career as a circus clown. My first booking as a clown was with an all youth circus called Circus Kirk. I toured with them in 1976 and 1977. I understand the value of the experience somebody receives by performing in a youth circus so I support the efforts of the American Youth Circus Organization and the Junior Joey programs run by various clown organizations. I will be attending the Circus Historical Society Convention June 13-16 in Baraboo, WI partly because a Circus Kirk reunion will be a part of the convention.


A unique feature of the California Clown Campin' educational program is that the week includes a visit by the staff and participants to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. The directors of the program have asked me to do a special educational session on the day we visit the circus. I will talk a little about the roots of circus clowning, and how circus clowning served as the foundation of everything else I have done. However, this will not just be stories. It will also be a motivational speech because I will share what I learned from being a circus clown, the lessons I learned from others involved in the shows, and how you can apply that to your own clowning. The session will only marginally be about me. The focus will be upon you and how you can become a better entertainer yourself. You will find more about this program using the link under the Educational Opportunities column to the right.


And now, a little house keeping detail. One of the things that I like about Constant Contact is that they maintain my subscriber list. At the bottom of every newsletter you will find a link that says Update your profile./email address.  When you have a new email address that you would like these newsletters sent to, you can quickly change your address using that link. I have noticed that when somebody sends their new address to me, I am not always successful in making the change for them. If you make the change yourself it is guaranteed to work. Making the change yourself is as actually easier than sending me an email and will insure that you continue to receive my newsletters.



I'll see you down the road,






In This Issue
Thought For The Week
Art by Angel Contreras
Educational Opportunities

Thought For The Week 

Mary 7, 2012

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson


"Children will not remember you for the material things you provided but for the feeling that you cherished them." -- Richard L. Evans


This quote reminded me of a conversation I had last week with my wife, Carole. She visits the outpatient clinics at Seattle Children's Hospital as a clown. The hospital receives donations of sports trading cards. Volunteers put them together into packets held with rubber bands. They are assembled at random so a packet may include some baseball cards, some football cards, and some basketball cards. The hospital gives them to Carole to distribute to some of the patients. She brought home a bunch of the packets and asked me to help her reassemble them. We separated them by sport, and then banded them together again. Carole said, "It isn't that I am giving them something. It is that I make them feel important. I ask them if they like sports. Then I ask them their favorite sport. We talk about that, and then I give them cards with players of that sport."


Another thing she distributes is a metal ring with a smiley face on it. She doesn't just hand them out. She says, "You deserve an award today because ... I have something just for you." Then she presents them with a ring. She gives many to patients, but also may give a custodian a ring for doing such a great job cleaning, a nurse a ring for taking such excellent care of the patients, an older child a ring for being patient while their sibling is being treated, or a parent a ring for their courage during a difficult time.


When I am doing strolling entertainment I like to draw trick cartoons and distribute them. I try to guess which cartoon in my repertoire is one that an individual might like best. For example, I may write the word CAT, add some more lines to turn the word into the face of a cat, and give it to a preschool girl because I know girls of that age tend to like cats. When I see a little older girl, I write the word HORSE, and then with a few extra lines turn that into the face of a horse because I know girls that age tend to be interested in horses. If a child is wearing a t-shirt with a picture of a dog on it, I print the word SPOT and then turn that into a picture of a dog. Sometimes a child will request an animal that I have never done before. I always make an attempt at drawing it. It may not turn out as well as the drawings I have practiced, but that isn't important. The important thing is that I listened to them and tried to honor their request.


People feel most cherished of all when you learn and use their name. I have trouble remembering names, but I make a special effort to do that because I know its value. When I perform at a birthday party, I use a change bag to magically produce a birthday greeting for the guest of honor that has their name printed on it. After my variety show I give them a birthday card that has their name and age printed on the front. (I use my computer to design and print out a customized card for each birthday party I perform.)


An entertainer who is great at making people feel cherished while giving them something is Angel Contreras. He is an artist who designs and sells his own line of stickers. One of the stickers is a Smiley Inspector. He wears one of the stickers while searching for somebody who has a nice smile. Then he deputizes them to be a smile inspector. He gives them one sticker to wear, and a second sticker to give away so they can deputize another inspector themselves when they find somebody with a nice smile. Another thing he does is start to give somebody a small Smiley Face sticker, declare that they deserve more than that, and use a change bag to turn it into a regular size sticker that he presents to them. In his "Stickerology" class he teaches many other ways to make somebody feel cherished using stickers as an excuse to interact with them.


Do you use giveaways of some type as an entertainer? What can you do to make a person feel cherished when you are doing that? How can you make somebody feel cherished without giving them a material object?







Art by Angel Contreras


Angel Contreras is a very talented artist and entertainer.  In addition to his line of stickers, he does charaicatures and coloring pages of clowns and other entertainers. 

For more information on his products and services, go to

Art of Angel Contreras 








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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