Charlie's Creative Comedy presents

Thought For The Week

Issue #553
February 2, 2015

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson



I am looking forward to the World Clown Association Convention and my Tramp Tradition performance.  I debuted this show at Clown Camp in 1990 so this will be the 25th Anniversary Edition.


I have completely reworked the script and have made some changes. In 1987 the World Clown Association became the first organization to provide funds for people interested in studying clowning.  They named it the Bo Dino Scholarship Fund.  Dean "Bo Dino" Weiss was a tramp clown.  He encouraged people to follow their dreams so I believe it is particularly fitting that the fund was named in his honor.  He wrote a text book on clowning which is titled Follow the Rainbow.  I have used that text book to learn a couple of his routines which I will be performing in public for the first time at this convention.  You can learn more about the convention by using the link under the Educational Opportunities heading.


I will see you down the road,



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

Thought For The Week 

February 2,2015

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson



"Men may doubt what you say, but they will believe what you do." - Lewis Cass


"The World cannot always understand a person's profession of faith, but it can understand service." -Ian Maclaren


The anniversary of Boy Scouts of America is celebrated every February.  Cub Scout Packs have banquets.  Scouts actively participate in worship services at many American churches the first Sunday in February which is known as Scout Sunday.  In 1909 William Boyce was in London preparing to go on Safari to Africa.  Boyce became lost on a dark and foggy night.  Suddenly a young man carrying a lantern appeared out of the fog.  He asked Boyce if he needed help.  He led Boyce directly to his destination and waited to make sure he got inside safely.  When Boyce tried to reward his service with a tip, the boy replied, "Sir, I am a Boy Scout.  I can't accept money for doing a good deed."  Boyce was so impressed by the boy's attitude of service that when he returned to London on his way home from the safari he investigated Boy Scouts.  He received permission from Lord Baden Powell, founder of Boy Scouts, to begin an American version of the program.  As a result of that one act of service by an unknown Scout, the Boy Scouts of America was founded on Feb. 8, 1910.  No amount of marketing could have had as much impact as that one good deed. 


That is an important lesson if you are involved in Clown Ministry or any other type of variety arts ministry.  Your actions are more important than what you say.  Christians are saved by faith, which results in love providing motivation for actions.  According to James, actions of service are the visible proof that faith is present.  Some people involved in clown ministry incorporate Christian symbols in their props, wardrobe, and make up design to identify themselves as Christians.  That is not what establishes your identity.   A song that was popular when I was in a church youth group in the 1970s said, "They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love, yes, they will know we are Christians by our love."  How you treat others on and off stage is the most important part of your ministry.  According to Abraham Lincoln, acts of service are how you earn the right to persuade other people.


It is important no matter what lesson you teach using clown or magic skills.  You will not be effective doing bully prevention educational shows if you come across as a jerk in your interactions with others.


It is important if you do any type of clown education.  For a while it was a fad for instructors to refer to the heart of clowning.  Many instructors repeated Buddy Lamb's statement that "clowning is a heart form."  (Usually they did not credit him for his quotation.)  People didn't always back up what they said with how they acted.  I know that sometimes I got so caught up in the business of my schedule preparing for lectures and attending meetings that I ignored those around me.  It was easy to think, "These people clamoring for my attention don't realize how many demands I have on my time."  Yet, paying attention to them was the most important demand I could have met.


If you say continuing education is important, than you have to demonstrate that by visibly being a student yourself.  If you proclaim the importance of creativity, you need to demonstrate that you are creative and avoid obvious imitation of other performers.  If you say every clown is important, you have to demonstrate that by doing something like being the stage hand or running sound for another person who is performing instead of always insisting on being in the spot light yourself.  Kenny Ahern, one of the Clown Camp . staff members, put that into action as people arrived one year.  He would greet them in the parking lot, help them get checked in, and carry their luggage up the stairs.  Nobody doubted that he was interested in the participants as individuals.


How can you put your words into action?  What do you want people to learn from you?  How can you teach that through your example?  What service can you provide? 

Trick of the Trade


Keeping embroidery on a costume looking bright and fresh can be a challenge. The pirate hat that I wore at Raging Waters included a patch with my personal Jolly Roger design embroidered on it using white thread. Since I performed hat drops and other comedy bits with my hat, the white threads would get dirty. I would refresh the appearance of my hat by lightly brushing the embroidery with white acrylic paint. It retained the texture of embroidery, which was important to me since I performed close up, while restoring the original white color. When the sun faded the felt of the hat, I died it using black liquid shoe polish. Eventually the hat would wear out, and I would transfer the patch to a new hat. I used the same patch during my entire eleven years at the park.

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I hope to see you down the road.


Bruce Johnson
Charlie's Creative Comedy
Copyright 2015 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

Panel Discussion: Circus Today -- Clowning 


 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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