Saturday, April 5, 2014
The Clown Shortage
America is suffering from a clown shortage! No, I'm not talking about politics. I'm talking about those men and women with the painted faces and funny clothes who entertain and make us laugh.
According to the World Clown Association, the country's largest organization of its kind, there has been a drastic decline in membership over the last ten years. The reason is a sad one…the professional clown population is dying off. As the older clowns die, there aren't enough younger aspiring clowns enrolling in clown school to take their place. It seems that today, those seriously interested in being clowns when they are younger, abandon the desire after graduating from high school and college because clowning is 'no longer cool'. So, they set aside what had once been a keen interest. (Hmmm…is it appropriate to use the words seriously and clown in the same sentence?)
Another possible reason for the decline in the professional clown population is more rigorous hiring practices by organizations such as Ringling Bros. Their tryouts have become more challenging resulting in fewer applicants. Audience expectations has also played a part in this decline. Ringling Bros. director of talent said, "No longer is it good enough to just drop your pants and focus on boxer shorts. Our audience expects to be wowed."
In addition to the places like the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, and other circus and carnival venues, that could also put a real crimp in something as simple as hiring that clown for your child's birthday party.