Charlie's Creative Comedy presents

Thought For The Week

Issue #527 
December 30, 2013

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson

Happy New Year!
I wish you a New Year of Happiness, Health, and Success!


I will see you down the road,



In This Issue
Thought For The Week
The Art of Happiness Celebration
Vaudeville Show
Educational Opportunities

Thought For The Week 

December 30, 2013

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson



"But as we continued to contemplate the meaning of world fame as it related to us, it became clear that we intended to make a world famous difference by having a positive impact upon each person we encountered. To this day, we continue to define world fame as situations come up at the market. What is it to be world famous, for example, when things are slow at work? What does world famous look like when customers treat us badly?" John Yokoyama, owner of the World Famous Pike Place Fish Market


The words "World Famous" are part of the name of a business at the Pike Place Market in Seattle. This farmer's market is an extremely popular tourist attraction. When the stand selling fish first added the words to its name it was unknown. The owner and employees wanted to be world famous, and decided to act as if they were already good enough to be world famous for their customer service. They made decisions based on what they thought a world class business would do. They decided that they would give the customer a wide selection of fresh products. That resulted in large ice filled tables displaying fresh fish. Another decision was that they would process a customer's order as quickly as possible. That meant when a customer selected a fish they wanted, an employee would not take the time to walk over to counter to hand it to the person wrapping it. Instead they would throw it to them. Some people purchase a fish just so they can see it fly through the air. That became an iconic part of their market. People gather around hoping to witness it. When a major sports event is televised from Seattle, one of the local scenes shown before a commercial is usually a shot of a fish being thrown at the World Famous Pike Place Fish Market. Several books have been written about their business and employees have been speakers at many leadership conferences.


What would happen if you adopted their approach to your entertainment? How do you learn how a world famous entertainer acts? I don't mean a "Prima Donna" doing things like insisting on yellow roses in the dressing room. I mean if a clown or magician is good enough to be world famous what would they do to be that good? One way to learn that is to find places where you can be around them. I have had the pleasure of performing in a show with magician Shawn Farquahr and seeing him at several magic conventions. (Shawn is a FISM Champion. FISM is the "Olympics" of magic. Every four years the champions of national and international magic organizations compete at FISM.) When we appeared in a variety show together I stood off stage and watched him during the tech rehearsal. He knew exactly what he needed in terms of lighting and sound. He treated the technical people with respect. He didn't make demands, but said things like, "I don't know if we can do this or not, but if we could direct a red light down at this spot I think it would look really cool during the beginning of this illusion." We took a dinner break after our tech rehearsal, and when we returned there was a red spot changing down right where he had requested it. Shawn immediately thanked the theater's technical people by name. (Since then I always try to learn the names of the technical people and address them respectfully by their name.) When I have seen him around other magicians I have been impressed by his passion for the art and willingness to share ideas, especially with young magicians beginning their studies. He takes the time to talk to everyone who wants to speak to him. The opportunity to be around outstanding entertainers is why I try to attend some type of variety arts conference each year.


The next best way to learn how they act is to read their biographies and critical studies of their work. For example, in The Jack Benny Show, Milt Josephsberg, one of Benny's comedy writers, describes how Benny vetoed a sure-fire topical joke in one script because he was afraid it might embarrass a young woman involved in the event inspiring the joke. After Benny told a blue joke in a setting where that type of humor was expected he discovered somebody had quoted him in a setting where it was not appropriate. He made it his policy for the rest of his career to never use humor that was not acceptable everywhere.


How does a world famous clown, magician, or other variety artist act? How do they develop their material? How do they prepare for a performance? How do they handle their props? How do they interact with the technical people who contribute to how well their act appears on stage? What is their relationship like with their audience? How do they handle public relations? How do they treat the media? How do they interact with other entertainers?



The Art of Happiness Celebration


The Federation Mondale du Cirque (International Circus Federation) is based in Monte Carlo under the patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Stephanie. It is a group of circus organizations around the world dedicated to preserving and promoting the art of the circus. It is composed of groups of fans and groups of circus producers. One of its goals is to encourage the exchange of information on the circus and its history, both as a business and as an art part of the world's culture. They are setting up a data base of historians people can consult when working on a project. I am part of that project as a historian specializing in clowning. As a result I have been receiving information from the Federation on their activities and other circus news.


April 19, 2014 will be the fifth annual World Circus Day sponsored by the Federation. Groups around the world are encouraged to plan their own celebrations and register them on the Federation web site. In 2014, World Circus Day is tied into some actions by the United Nations.


The United Nations has identified many sites around the world deserving preservation as cultural treasures. In 2012 the United Nations declared that although the circus is not a specific physical location it is an important part of culture deserving to be preserved as an "intangible cultural treasure." The United Nations has also declared that March 20, 2014 is to be celebrated as the Day of Happiness.


The Federation Mondale du Cirque has declared the period between the United Nations Day of Happiness and the World Circus Day as a month long celebration of the Art of Happiness. Circus organizations around the world are encouraged to plan their own celebrations sometime during that period.


You can plan your own celebration and use it for publicity. For example, activity directors in nursing homes are frequently looking for ideas tied to celebrations. You could schedule an appearance at a nursing home with an Art of Happiness or World Circus Day theme. A variety arts club could plan a fundraising performance for a local charity. You could appear as a clown outside a grocery store to collect food for a food bank. (They get a surge of donations around Thanksgiving and Christmas, but usually have a great need in the early spring.)


For more information on the World Circus Federation go to


 Federation Mondale du Cirque

Vaudeville Show



I will be performing in a Vaudeville Style Variety Show at 7:30 PM on January 18, 2014. The show is at the Historic Everett Theatre in Everett, WA and is a fundraiser for preserving this wonderful old theatre. I have performed there in several variety shows in the past.

For more information go to


 Vaudeville Show

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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
Trick Cartoons for Junior Joeys

 California Clown Campin'

July 21-27, 2014

Ontario, CA


to be announced


California Clown Campin'

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

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