Charlie's Creative Comedy presents

Thought For The Week

Issue #529 
January 27, 2014

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson

I will be teaching my Trick Cartoon class as part of the Junior Joey program at the World Clown Association Convention in March.  This is a special series of classes for young people interested in the art of clowning.  For more information on this program use the convention link under the Educational Opportunities column to learn more.
Another special feature of the WCA convention is the SOC (Spouse of Clown/  Supporter of Clown) program.  This is a series of classes for people attending the convention who are not clowns themselves.  Often they are related to clowns who are attending.  The classes are tailored to their interests.  The program also includes special sight seeing opportunities. A SOC registration includes attending some of the performances and the convention social events.  To learn more use the convention link under the Educational Opportunites column.

This is the time of year to consider attending educational programs this summer and to submit scholarship applications. There are several different scholarships available. Some of them are offered directly by the educational program and others are offered by variety arts organizations to their members. Some of them have rapidly approaching deadlines. I know that in many instances funding was available for more scholarships than applications received. So your odds are pretty good. If you submit an application you may not receive a scholarship, but if you don't apply you definitely won't receive one.


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I will see you down the road,



In This Issue
Thought For The Week

Thought For The Week 

January 27, 2014

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson



"Success means we go to bed at night knowing that our talents and abilities were used in a way that served others." - Marianne Williamson


Before the Vaudeville show last week I was entertaining people seated in the balcony. The seats were at a steep slope, and many people were reading the program as they waited for the show to begin. That made it easy to slip into the row behind somebody and look over their shoulder as if I was trying to read their program. They usually weren't aware at first that I was there. People around them could see me and start laughing. Eventually they would look around to see what everyone else was laughing at. Their surprise when they saw me caused them to start laughing. This is a bit inspired by Otto Griebling that I performed frequently earlier in my career while traveling with circuses, but have not used in many years. It just seemed appropriate for this setting and was working. When one woman finally saw me, she gasped, started laughing, and then said, "Oh, thank you! I don't remember the last time that I laughed. When I read that there was going to be a vaudeville show I came hoping something would make me laugh." Then I felt I was a success. I thought meeting that woman's heart felt expression of her need was worth the effort to be there.


In 1980, when I first began performing my juggling act in a circus it was mainly a format for me showing off the tricks that I could perform. A couple of years later I had an experience that changed my approach. I was performing with a small circus at a county fair. Each morning before the fair opened to the public three of the 4H kids would sit for an hour and watch me practice the same couple of tricks over and over. When they came to see the circus performance, they would get up and leave as soon as I began my juggling act. I couldn't understand why they would watch my practice but not all of my impressive tricks so I asked them. They said when I was practicing I interacted with them, but during my juggling act I ignored them. I realized that my act was not a time for me to show off. It was a time for me to do what the audience liked. My attitude changed from trying to impress the audience to trying to share something I loved with them. I began paying more attention to the audience and eliminated tricks that didn't get a good response. I figured out ways to interact with the audience while juggling. When I transformed the act so it was less about me and more about the audience it became more successful.


When I first started writing magazine articles my goal was to promote myself. I did it for the publicity. However as I studied writing in an effort to improve my ability I discovered that many people writing about being an author said that it wasn't about you, it was about the reader. As I began to focus more on the reader and their needs my articles improved. Ironically that is when they were the best publicity. I am currently the official World Clown Association Historian. My duties include writing articles on clown history for Clowning Around, the organization's magazine. My job is not to impress people with how much I know about clown history and can learn through research. My job is to serve the organization and its members. The upcoming WCA convention is in Chicago where the Museum of Broadcast Communications and Radio Hall of Fame are located. So I did a series of articles this past year on the history of radio and television in Chicago to help promote convention attendance. In addition, in each article I asked myself what lessons members could learn and apply to their performing today. For example, in the second of the radio articles I demonstrated how radio programs added characters without adding additional cast members, and suggested how individual clowns could use similar techniques to transform group skits into solo skits.


An article I wrote on Ice Skating clowns was published in the December issue of the magazine. I had two goals. The first was to earn credibility for the art of clowning by showing how some clowns are Olympic caliber athletes. I wanted readers to gain more pride in being a clown and take it seriously as an art form. Second, I explained some things I have used in my performances that were inspired by skating clowns so readers would understand history is a source of material and look to clowns of the past for inspiration.


What are your talents and abilities? How can you use them to serve others?





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I hope to see you down the road.


Bruce Johnson
Charlie's Creative Comedy
Copyright 2014 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,
Circus Model Display

 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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