Charlie's Creative Comedy presents

Thought For The Week

Issue #501 
December 3, 2012

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson


I hope that you are having a very happy holiday season.


I am now on Facebook.  I don't use it very often yet, and am still learning how it works.  However, if you are a Facebook member you can find me at Bruce Charlie Johnson.


If you are thinking about Christmas presents there is still time to order copies of my Creativity for Entertainers books.  I have all three in stock in both paperback and hard cover formats.  You can read more about them on my website. 


Creativity for Entertainers


 I'll see you down the road,



In This Issue
Thought For The Week
New Magazine Artilce
Educational Opportunities

Thought For The Week 

December 3, 2012

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson


"You are the only person on earth who can use your ability." - Zig Ziglar


"Each of us has been put on earth with the ability to do something well. We cheat ourselves and the world if we don't use that ability as best we can." -- Gracie Allen


One of the themes I talk about in my Creativity for Entertainers trilogy is the limitation of imitation. When somebody creates a routine, they capitalize on their abilities and compensate for their inabilities. When you copy their routine you are accepting their limitations and ignoring your own abilities. A routine that you create yourself will always be superior to one that you copy because it will utilize your abilities.


That does not mean you have to start every routine from scratch and can't use a routine created by somebody else. In my shows I perform a routine called Zone Zero created by Jerry Andrus. I selected it because it matches my abilities. In fact, I originally learned it because Ralph Huntzinger, a friend who is a magician, suggested that it fit my style and abilities. I perform Andrus's moves exactly the way he created them. However, I have changed the presentation. In his routine Andrus talks about Zone Zero, another dimension a ball travels through as it appears and vanishes. The basic prop is a sheet of plastic with a hole in the center. Andrus created a version of the board with a vortex pattern surrounding the center mimicking a black hole that serves as the portal to Zone Zero. That presentation does not fit my style. I decorated my board so it looks like a bean bag toss game with a clown face. I introduce my version of Zone Zero by performing the classic invisible ball caught in a paper bag routine. Then when I have somebody toss the invisible ball through the hole representing the clown's nose, the ball suddenly becomes visible to everyone's surprise, including my clown character.


How do you learn your abilities? Ironically one way is to learn and perform routines created by others. You will discover that some of them don't work very well for you. That will show you your limitations or where you don't have abilities yet. (You can develop some abilities through practice.) You will discover that some of them work very well. That indicates abilities that you do have. Then you can begin to create routines that take advantage of those abilities.


Comments from others will confirm your abilities or limitations. I never considered myself much of a singer, but that limitation was confirmed when I offered to sing a lullaby to one of my grandchildren and they begged, "No, Grandpa! Don't sing."


I spoke for the first time on stage when I created my Tramp Tradition Show where I recreate routines by famous or significant tramp clowns. Many tramp clowns performed verbal routines so I had to include them. After Cheri Venturi saw me perform one of those routines, she commented, "You have a wonderful speaking voice on stage. I wish you would do more spoken routines." So, I gradually have been adding more verbal routines to my repertoire.


Another way to identify your abilities is to look at what you do outside of entertainment and find ways to incorporate that into your performances. For example, I like to fold paper so I have created some routines combining magic and origami. I also make origami give aways.


Some people believe that creativity means being different from everyone else. That is not true. It is probably an impossible goal. I created an original magic routine with Multiplying Balls. I had never seen anyone perform it before. Then as I studied more about the history of magic I discovered that it is actually an old routine called Perpetual Balls that was performed by many famous magicians of the past.


The goal of creativity is to become more true to yourself. It is to use your abilities to their fullest. There are things you can do that nobody else ever will. What abilities do you have? How can you develop them to their fullest? How can you use them to their best as an entertainer?


New Magazine Article


An article that I wrote on the 1991 World Clown Association Convention in Bognor Regis, England, appears in the November 2012 issue of Clowning Around, published by the WCA.  This was the first WCA convention to be held in Europe and the first to be held outside of the continental United States.  This article is part of my WCA Historian column.  The WCA is preparing for their first convention to be held in Asia.  I hope to see many Thought for the Week subscribers there.




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.
World Clown
Association Convention Borneo
 February 25 - March 1, 2013


Jest Because, The Life of a Circus Clown


WCA Convention


All Things Clowning

April 19-21

Fayetteville, Georgia

Classes to be announced 



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

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