Charlie's Creative Comedy presents

Thought For The Week

Issue #522 
October 21, 2013

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson


Something that I have not mentioned in a while as part of this newsletter is a service that I offer for clown and magic organizations. That is a one-day or two-day workshop. I have enough established classes that I can create something customized to your group. I can present a mix of theory and practical classes so your group knows both what to do and why. Depending upon the size of your group and the topics selected, some of the classes will be taught using a hands-on method. I invite you to contact me to discuss details.


I have many articles about clowns and of interest to clowns on my web site.  I have just posted two new articles on my site.  You will find information on them below the main article.


I will see you down the road,



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

Thought For The Week 

October 21, 2013

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson


"You are what you eat."


I recently went on a nature walk with a mushroom enthusiast. She said one of the best ways to identify a mushroom is to look at what it eats. Each variety of fungi has specific trees or plants that it uses as a food source. So the type of food available determines what type of mushroom will grow there. For example, Chan trill Mushrooms grow only where there are Douglas Firs. So people who are interested in growing Chan trill Mushrooms plant Douglas Firs on their property. Those who hunt that type of mushroom look where Douglas Firs are growing.


That started me thinking about clown and variety arts education. The type of education you receive determines the type of entertainer you become. That means if you admire somebody, and want to be like them, you should look at the type of education they received. For example, I admire the performances of Kenny Ahern and the RONE & Gigi duo. They have all told me that they studied Tom and Jerry cartoons. Jeff McMullen, another performer I admire, has also said he studies cartoons without specifying a particular type. They have all applied lessons they learned from the animated cartoons to their movements on stage. At the recent California Clown Campin' program I attended a lecture by Angel Contreras where he talked about lessons he has learned by observing animated cartoons. Not only has he learned about movement, but by applying his training as an artist he has developed principles about composition of the image you create on stage by where you place your props and where you stand. So I follow their example by purposely watching and analyzing animation as part of my entertainment education.


I particularly pay attention to books that others read. Mary Beth Martin impressed me with her creativity in her performances. In the early 1990's she told me that she had read a book titled A Kick in the Seat of the Pants by Roger Von Oech. I heard other creative entertainers mention the book. I purchased my own copy. It had a profound impact upon my creativity. It was the first time that I understood that creativity is actually a step by step process. Since then I have read other descriptions of the creative process, but I like the metaphor created by Roger Von Oech. I used his method to organize my book Creativity for Entertainers Volume One: The Creative Process. I would not have read Von Oech's book if I had not heard that others had learned by reading from it.


Another way I use this concept when deciding on my education is to look at the students of an instructor. I admire the clowns from Japan who have taken classes from Chizuko "Gigi" Hashimoto. So whenever I am someplace where RONE & Gigi are lecturing, I try to take as many of their classes as possible and have learned important concepts from them.


Another application of this concept is to return to fertile ground. Every time I have attended a lecture by Duane Laflin I have learned a lot. He has improved my technical skill as a magician. Also, the way that he approaches magic is very inspiring to me. I don't perform any routines exactly as he does. However, I perform many that are variations based on his routines. I benefit from exchanging ideas with him. Often when I tell him how I have adapted one of his ideas, he sees additional possibilities in my new idea that I had overlooked. I have many of his publications, educational videos, and I attend his lectures every time I have that opportunity.


While on the nature walk, we discovered many varieties of beautiful mushrooms. Our instructor said that was due to the diversity of the forest we were walking through. There was much variety in food sources. That is the advantage of so many educational programs being available. It is also the advantage of the number of variety arts organizations. They create diversity in entertainment that makes it much richer and interesting.


Who do you admire as an entertainer? What education have they received? What books have they read? In choosing an instructor, what is the quality of their students? Where have you learned in the past that would be worth returning to again?


Web Site Articles

The figure skating competitive season will begin soon.  It will culminate in the Winter Olympics February 7-23, 2014 in Sochi, Russia, followed by the World Figure Skating Championship.  Figure skating is a skill used by clowns in entertaining an audience.  The Stars on Ice productions have included clown routines performed by World and National Figure Skating Champions.  I have placed two articles, originally published in The Clown In Times, on my web site.  These two articles describe how this show perpetuates the art of clowning on ice.


Clowning in Discover Stars on Ice


Kurt Browning as Ragiddin the Clown 


I have written an article on the history of clowns in ice shows that will be published by the World Clown Association in the December 2013 issue of Clowning Around.  To get this magazine by joining the WCA please go to

World Clown Association

New Article by Bruce Johnson


I wrote an article titled Automatic Accidents that appeared in Volume 9 number 4 of The Funny Paper, published by Samuel Patrick Smith. The article describes why it is important if something is supposed to happey by "accident" in a comedy routine you need to figure out a way to make it happen automatically without thinking about it.  It is the difference between merely being silly and truly being funny.  I use two of my comedy magic routines as examples.


To learn more subscribing to The Funny Paper, go to


The Funny Paper

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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.
World Clown Association Convention
March 25-29, 2014
Northbrook, IL

 California Clown Campin'


Ontario, CA

Dates and subjects

to be announced


California Clown Campin'

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

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