Charlie's Creative Comedy presents

Thought For The Week

Issue #512 
May 20, 2013

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson


This issue includes another entry in my popular clown history trivia quiz.


Also, I have added a list of classes to the California Clown Campin' entry under the Educational Opportunities column. This is a similar list to the one that I taught at the All Things Clown conference. I heard from some subscribers that they wished they could take my classes there but they had a scheduling conflict. Now is your chance to take the classes.


I am honored and excited that I will be part of a session called Circus Memories. I will be joining Monika Kelly, the daughter of Emmett Kelly Sr., in sharing our experiences touring with circuses. Earlier in the week Monika will be doing a general session on her father's career. I am really looking forward to this unique opportunity.


I'll see you down the road,



In This Issue
Thought For The Week
Clown Trivia Quiz
Educational Opportunities

Thought For The Week 

May 20, 2013

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson


"A room common to many will be swept by none." - Chinese Proverb


I taught the last class of the day at a convention. When the participants left the room it was littered with balloons left over from an earlier class, drinking glasses, and water bottles. I began cleaning up the room, and the last two participants began to help me. We had just finished when the entertainers who had been hired to perform that evening arrived. They were scheduled to use that room as their dressing area. I was glad that we had gotten it cleaned so it was a pleasant place for them to prepare. I noticed many times that participants don't clean up after them selves before leaving a room at a convention. I don't think it is because they are lazy or slobs. I think they just assume that somebody else has the responsibility of cleaning the room. They don't realize that cleaning is an additional expense convention organizers may not be able to afford. Many times I have seen the convention organizers cleaning rooms late at night after everybody else has gone to relax.


One of the cases I studied in a college Social Psychology class was a famous murder. A woman was attacked in a park surrounded by apartment buildings. Although hundreds of people witnessed the attack and heard her cries for help, nobody called the police. Sociologists investigated the cause. They discovered that because people could see other witnesses they assumed they didn't need to call because somebody else had probably already made the call and the police were on their way. The sense of shared responsibility meant that nobody felt compelled to personally respond. In experiments they discovered that if a person thought they were the only witness they felt a sense of urgency and responded immediately. However if they thought there were other witnesses they were slower to respond.


In my training as a Boy Scout leader I have learned that the most effective form of recruitment is peer to peer, meaning that a boy invites a friend to join. That is the inspiration behind the "everybody ask one" membership drives used by variety arts organizations. The math seems simple. The size of the organization would double if every member invited one other person who followed through and joined. However, those drives rarely succeed because each individual member assumes that others have extended invitations so there are probably enough new members. There is no compelling reason to get personally involved. In my Pack we use two methods to make peer-to-peer recruitment effective. First, we focus on providing a quality program that boys want to share with their friends. They know their friends will have fun as a Boy Scout so they invite them. Second, we provide incentives for recruitment. For example, one year if a boy recruited another member to our Pack he received a Headlamp to use on camping trips.


I am currently a member of the World Clown Association Publication Committee. This is my second time serving on the committee. Twenty years ago I completed my second term as World Clown Association Education Director. When I was the Education Director, and more recently on the Publication Committee, I tried to increase the number of people writing for Clowning Around, the magazine published by the WCA. I discovered that a general request for articles wasn't very effective. I think members assumed that it wasn't their responsibility, somebody else would write. I believe that often they didn't think they were capable of writing an article or couldn't think of a topic. However, I discovered that a specific request is more likely to gain results. For example, if I hear somebody mention a topic that should be covered, I say, "That's a great idea. Why don't you write something about that?" When somebody shares an experience with me, I say, "You know the WCA members would be interested in that. Would you write that up for Clowning Around?" With a little specific encouragement they write an article. Sometimes that is all they write. Often that initial success provides them with enough encouragement that they continue writing for the magazine.


What shared responsibility do you see that you can take personally? If people have a shared responsibility, how can you make them feel a personal responsibility? How can you encourage them to respond?



Clown Trivia Quiz


Click on the answer that you think is the most correct.


The original Bozo the Clown was


Thank you for being a subscriber.  I am always interested in your questions and comments.

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I hope to see you down the road.


Bruce Johnson
Charlie's Creative Comedy
Copyright 2013 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 29-August 3, 2013

Ontario, CA

Dare to be a Great Clown, Introduction to Comedy Techniques, Controlling Focus, Introduction to Sleight of Hand.  How to Juggle, Open Juggling Lab, Circus Memories


California Clown Campin'

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

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