My recent Fast Company column about clowns brought this response. I like the shoes part best:
Seth, I feel I must set the record straight about clowns and clowning because
I do not feel that you truly get what clowns are all about. As a professional
clown for 18 years and as a business person I feel that your analogy is far
from accurate. Here’s why:
1. I beleive that being called a clown is a great compliment no matter what
your line of work! It means that you have a sense of humor and aren’t afraid
to share it. Your derisive definition of a clown offends what I am and what I
do. I hear your definiton as meaning dumb, ignorant, stupid, etc…
Clowns are far from stupid. It takes great intellect to see the humor in all
situations, good and bad. And I have medical benefits!
2. Clowns are based on us, but not neccessarily about just what’s wrong with
human nature, we also like to show what is right about it. We point out what
may seem obvious. Some people can’t see the forest for the trees. We show
them the trees.
3. Clowns do not ignore science. We use many of the basic principles of
science. For example: in juggling we use the principle of what goes up, must
come down. We also embody the principle that gravity does work! There is
no “magic” that can fit 16 clowns in a car, it’s science, spacial relations!
We use cetrifugal and centripital forces, inertia, roatation, revolution,
momentum and many other great scientific principles and theories!
4. Clowns do not argue with gravity, it is all too real! it challenges us,
sure, but it always wins.
5. Kodak shouldn’t be called clowns, they should plain and simply be called
blind business people with poor leadership.
6. Clown measure their results by audience reaction. Did it make an impact?
Did they get what I was tryoing to say? We are philosophers and commentators
on the way we all live our lives.
7. Clowns are reality!
8. Clowns plan ahead! We spend hundreds of hours practicing and perfecting
our craft for the amusement of others. I personally have spent 18 years
studying and perfecting my craft and thousands of dollars. That takes careful
9. For the sake of the squirrel I’d like to mention that if they don’t plan
ahead, then what is the purpose of storing nuts for the winter if not a
10. I believe that most humans don’t plan ahead and blindly stumble thru life
looking for a hand-out.
11. Clowns overreact to prove a point. (Remember the trees, some need a good
whack over the head with a our number three point may be the only one I agree
12. If clowns aren’t nice to each other, then waht does that say about
humanity? we are after all only mirrors of the human condition. the stooges
are just down right stupid. Stan and Ollie are a better example, they are
natural comics, they don’t try to be funny, they are just unaware of their
plight, now THAT’S funny!
Some of the best working environments I have had were working with other real
clowns. We are a team, we care about each other and work together to reach a
common goal: laughter. That sure beats any other business goal I can think of.
I think issuing red noses is a great idea! it would lighten things up and
maybe people would stop ripping ewach other appart. In stead of not being
like clowns, maybe more people should be! It would certainly make people take
notice of how utterly ridiculous most arguments are and how working together
would be much more effective.
So, before you downgrade the life of a clown, maybe you should walk a mile in
my shoes. The offer is open to you any time!
Thanks for listening.
Goodwill Ambassador (and clown)
Ringling Brothers and Barnum& Bailey Circus Hometown Edition