Charlie's Creative Comedy presents

Thought For The Week

Issue #493 
August 13, 2012

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson




The 2012 California Clown Campin' was a wonderful experience. The directors, committee, and staff were a hard working group that pitched in to make it a positive experience that everyone could learn from and enjoy. The classes that I was able to attend were all wonderful. During Randy Munson's Magic You Can Do, I performed the Table Cloth Pull for the first time in my career. Merilyn Barrett taught a great class on posing for photographs and worked very hard all week to document the program photographically. At the closing ceremony we watched a slide show that she had somehow found time to put together at the end of the week. The Staff on Stage performances were all strong, and we also attended a performance of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus™ where we got to meet all of the clowns. It was great seeing so many Thought for the Week Subscribers there. I appreciated your kind comments about this publication. I would like to thank Guy VanderWyst, Laura Sicklesteel, and their committee for selecting me as their 2012 Featured Clown and for all of their hard work in putting on this excellent educational program.


The dates for the 2013 California Clown Campin' have not been set yet. I'll announce them here as soon as I find out.


I have no new lectures scheduled to include under the Educational Opportunities column. However, I have several that are pending. I hope to be able to post information on those soon.

 at's it for this week.


I'll see you down the road,






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

Thought For The Week 

August 13, 2012

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson


"When you are clowning, If you are uncomfortable because you are unprepared or trying to copy another clown, your audience will also be uncomfortable. Do the things that you feel confident about so you can relax and enjoy it and also so they can relax and enjoy it." -- Aurora Krause, The Simplicity of Clowning, 2012 California Clown Campin'.


I have mentioned the importance of adequate preparation before because it allows you to be relaxed and confident, which in turn allows the audience to relax and enjoy what you are doing. During her general session at California Clown Campin', Aurora talked about another aspect of this equation. That is trying to copy another clown interferes with your confidence and enjoyment, and thus the enjoyment of your audience.


Why does copying interfere with your confidence? If you are copying what somebody else has created you don't know how to make adjustments when something goes wrong. First, you are probably copying a single performance and you know how to respond only to the conditions in that situation. The original performer has performed it in many different settings and experienced things going wrong. They have discovered ways to cope with those problems. Knowing they have been able to cope with problems gives them the confidence that they can cope in the future. Their experience gives them a number of variations they can select from which you don't know. Second, they understand the thought process that led to the creation of the routine. That process helps them come up with instant solutions when they encounter a problem. If you don't know why they did something, you don't know how it can be successfully changed.


Relaxation is only a part of the equation. Aurora mentioned another aspect, enjoyment. Audiences enjoy watching what you enjoy performing. Your emotions are contagious. Joy is one of the by-products of the creative process. You may experience frustration during the process, but a successful conclusion causes joy. It is fun to perform something you have created and hear the audience respond positively. A couple of months ago I was performing one of my original scarf routines at a birthday party when a boy about eight-years-old exclaimed, "I know there is no such thing as real magic, but that is magic!" It doesn't get much more fun than that.


I was honored to be the featured clown at the 2012 California Clown Campin' program. Angel Contreras did a wonderful job designing the logo depicting my clown character. I reproduced the logo on a 36-inch silk scarf. It turned out very well. I think that it is perhaps one of the best looking silk scarves I have created to date because of the strength of his design. I produced it with pride during the opening Staff Bits show because I knew it looked great.


You don't have to build everything yourself. For me a highlight of my performance in the California Clown Campin' public show was reviving my Sammy Seal routine. Sammy Seal is a prop that looks like a performing seal. You place a balloon on Sammy's nose, and then suddenly the balloon bursts and Sammy is balancing a previously selected card. My routine is actually a combination of three routines: Ping Pong Ball on the Nose, Make It Bigger, and Sammy Seal. (The entire routine is described in Creativity for Entertainers Volume Three: Creative Routines.) My original prop was built by Tony Blanco. I wore it out about a dozen years ago so I haven't been performing it. Lee Mullally recently built me a beautiful new improved version that looks great. I was proud to share Lee's artistry with this audience. So it was with much anticipation that I looked forward to using a gorgeous new prop to perform again what had once been one of my most successful routines. I think my joy in performing it again was a major factor in the excellent response the routine received from this particular audience. I'm looking forward to including Sammy in future performances.


How can you use creativity to give you confidence and help you relax during a performance? How can creativity give you more enjoyment in your clowning? What will give you pride of accomplishment? How can other people help bring your creative vision to life?

New Articles by Bruce Johnson


I wrote two new articles that appeared in the July 2012 Issue of Clowning Around, published by the World Clown Association.


The first was my report on the 2012 Circus Fans of America Association Convention and why attending one of their conventions would be of interest to clowns. The World Clown Association and the Circus Fans of America Association have started a cooperative relationship because they believe they have common goals and interests. The Circus Fans of America is dedicated to preserving and promoting the art of the circus, which includes performances by clowns. The World Clown Association is dedicated to preserving and promoting the art of clowning, which includes performances in circuses.


The second article is part of my series as the official WCA Historian. It is an article on clown acts, particularly in the circus, that are based on Summer Olympic sports. Most WCA members received their copy either just before or during the London Olympics.


After the article was published I joined the California Clown Campin' staff and participants in their annual visit to see a performance of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.™ This year we saw the new Dragons production. During the All Access Preshow, Frances Tiffin and Kelli Argott demonstrated their gymnastic skill by performing hand stands and manipulating Rhythm Gymnastic Ribbons. They were joined by Ivan Vargas in their acrobatic comedy routine. In the prologue to the circus performance, the entire clown alley performed a routine similar to what I saw performed a week later by Rhythm Gymnastic Teams competing in the Olympics. They created various formations while passing large balls between members of the group. My article demonstrated how clowns have used Olympic skills in the past, and the current circus performance included clowns currently using Olympic skills to entertain audiences.



To learn more about the World Clown Association and to receive Clowning Around magazine go to:




World Clown Association 




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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



Creative Gospel Routines, Silk Magic for Clowns, Circus Memories, How to Juggle - Introduction, Trick Cartoons, Physical Comedy, Juggling Jam, and Staff on Stage.


California Clown Campin Information




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