Charlie's Creative Comedy presents

Thought For The Week

Issue #548
November 10, 2014

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson


I have two exciting announcements to make.


The first announcement is that my Tramp Tradition Show has been scheduled for the 2015 World Clown Association Convention in Reno, NV. In this show I recreate routines of famous or significant tramp clowns starting with McIntyre and Heath in 1874. Mark Anthony would have turned 100 next year, and I will be doing some of his routines in honor of his centenary. Also the convention is being held at the Sparks Nugget Casino which is where Emmett Kelly and Red Skelton performed during the last three years of Emmett's life. So I will be performing my versions of some of their routines on the stage where they had actually performed. I'll be sharing more information on this special show in future issues of this newsletter. Thank you to Deanna Hartmier, Randy Christensen, Pam Moody, and Ronnie Cross for their efforts to make this performance at the convention possible.  Use the link under the educational opportunities column for more information on this convention.


The second announcement is that in June 2016 there will be a Clown Camp ® Reunion at ViterboUniversity in La Crosse, WI. The exact dates have not been confirmed yet. This will be a reunion for those who attended Clown Camp ® during its first thirty years. It will also be the return of an outstanding educational program for clowns who were not able to experience the original program. I have placed a link to the Clown Camp ® web site under my Educational Opportunities column. You can go there to read about the program and its history. That is where you will also find announcements about the program. As I learn new details I will also share those in future issues of this newsletter. I know that many of my subscribers are Clown Camp ® alumni and they have been wishing for a reunion.

   I will see you down the road,




In This Issue
Thought For The Week
Trick of the Trade
Educational Opportunities

Thought For The Week 

November 10, 2014

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson



"The way a team plays as a whole determines its success.  You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don't play together, the club won't be worth a dime." -- Babe Ruth


I had the pleasure and privilege of being a part of the Clown Camp® staff for twenty years.  One of the things that made that educational program unique is the cooperation between staff members.  It was not unusual to see somebody starring in a Staff On Stage show in the evening and then see them running the sound while somebody else starred in the next morning's Staff On Stage performance.  If somebody needed something like a change bag for a class they were teaching, and forgot to bring it, another staff member would run and get it for them. 


I had the honor of being part of a group of Clown Camp® staff members who taught and performed in Singapore in 2004.  We did ten performances raising funds for charities.  The shows were in a beautiful theater downtown with limited parking.  When we arrived, everyone helped each other move equipment inside so our vehicle could quickly depart.  If anybody went over their allotted time in a show, they apologized to the others because they knew somebody else had to shorten their act to keep the show on time.  This was important because for some performances buses were scheduled to pull up to the curb to pick up audience members at the end of the show.  The buses could not stay there blocking traffic if people weren't ready to board because the show ran over.  The theater's technical crew and management said they had never had a group of entertainers performing there that worked together as well as our group.  We were all dedicated to the success of the show and educational program.  That was more important to us than any individual achievement during the trip.


It does make a difference.  I was recently part of another educational program variety show.  One of the instructors was not properly prepared for their act and did not show up for the rehearsal.  Trying to overcome the glitches they caused resulted in a delay in the performance.  I was scheduled to perform a nine-minute routine as the closing act.  Because the show was running too long, the director signaled me to cut my routine to five minutes, which I did.  I felt my act would have been better if I had not had to cut it so drastically.  However, the needs of the production overall were more important than what people thought of my individual performance.


Sometimes a very talented entertainer/instructor was added to the Clown Camp® Staff who did not work well with other staff members.  Those I thought were mainly there to satisfy their own ego often were not invited back.


I have seen variety arts organizations ebb and flow.  An amateur clown club in Southern California would vary between having five members some years and having forty members other years.  The determining factor tended to be the ego of the leaders.  When somebody was elected President who was impressed by their importance, people would leave the club.  When the elected officers and the members worked well together supporting each other, the club grew.  Often former members who had dropped out would rejoin.  Then when the next ego driven President was elected, the membership declined again.  Eventually there was a clash of egos so great, the club split in half and two new clubs were formed.


That doesn't mean you can ignore developing your individual skill level.  However, your motivation is what makes you a better team member others can rely on.  You aren't concerned about being the best in the show.  You are concerned that the show is better with you in it.


How can you become a better team player?  How can you contribute to the success of variety arts organizations of which you are a member?  How can you contribute to the success of shows you perform in?  If you are a solo performer, how can you contribute to the success of an event where you are appearing?  How can you be supportive of others so the entire group is more successful?  What can you do to increase your dependability?

Trick of the Trade


 Circus performers usually have a repair kit to make sure their props are workable and look good.  Often the kit will include a black Magic Marker and a bottle of White Scuff Coat liquid shoe polish. 


If a black portion of a prop is scratched or dinged, it can be quickly and easily touched up with the Magic Marker.  The black ink covers well and dries almost instantly.  If white paint on a prop needs to be touched up the shoe polish works well.  It comes with its own applicator, covers well, and is also quick drying.

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 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 22- 26, 2015

Reno, Nevada

Tramp Tradition Show,

Controlling Focus,

Class of 1989 


World Clown Association


World Circus Summit

July 14-18, 2015

West Springfield, MA



 World Circus Summit


Clown Camp Reunion


June 2016

La Crosse, WI


Clown Camp Reunion

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

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