Monday, February 17, 2014

Less Clowning Around

Send in the clowns. This is no laughing matter.
According to the New York Daily News, the World Clown Association (I didn't know that was a thing) has reported a serious drop in the number of clowns which means that we could be facing a clown shortage.
This could be devastating. Imagine a clown car pulling up and only a lone clown sits behind the wheel.
Apparently, one of the big problems that has caused the decrease in Bozos is age. “The challenge is getting younger people involved in clowning,” explains Association President Deanna (Dee Dee) Hartmier.
Yes, I could see that being a problem. I think not enough high school guidance counselors are pushing kids into Clown College. But with College and University tuition and the job market and economy being what it is, clearly they should. This professional clown shortage means job openings. In fact, I'm thinking I should probably just shift careers a bit. As a dancer and actress constantly looking for work this may wouldn't be a bad idea. I'd just wear more make up. 
Clowns of America International President Glen Kohlberger believes that the youth aren't getting into clowning because it "isn't cool anymore." I'm not sure when clowning was ever cool, but I could see it being problematic that many people in their 20's and 30's might feel a bit embarrassed to show up at their high school reunion, friends' weddings, or on dates and have to explain their profession as a clown. It's bad enough having to talk to someone who just made partner in a law firm saying you are "in between things."
So what does clowning pay? Well according to New York Clown Alley, you can get up to $300 for a birthday party. That's pretty good, but would hardly pay your rent. And those big clown shoes are probably expensive. Still, that's better than my last pay check. 
I did some further research online and found that there are three kinds of clowns.
1. General Clowns are freelancers who work birthday parties, events, etc. They make about $20/hr and usually report to making $38,000/year.
 2. Rodeo Clowns are the daredevil clowns responsible for using their antics to not just make people laugh but for distracting animals like bulls at the rodeo when the riders fall off. This sounds horrifyingly dangerous. These clowns make at least $50,000/year.
3. Salaried Gig Clowns are the ones with regular jobs in shows like the circus. They have their room and board paid, health insurance, and while there were mixed salaries listed, these clowns are making some decent money. And they have health insurance in case their nose honks or they are looking a bit pale.
But before I start painting my face and packing my bags to run off with the circus, the article also states that despite the drop in numbers of clowns, standards are even higher nowadays for clowns being hired. Great, yet another audition to fail. David Kiser, the Ringling Bros. Director of Talent, says “No longer is it good enough to just drop your pants and focus on boxer shorts." Ain't that the truth. If I had a dollar for everytime I've said that.....
Anyway, maybe it's for the best that there are less clowns out there.

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