The jokes are plentiful but apparently it's all serious business.

The World Clown Association is a real thing and will be convening in Northbrook this upcoming March. Their website currently has a countdown to the big day which is nice because these things always seem to creep up on you.

Joe Dredge
Joe Dredge

They have some incredible keynote speakers including:

  • Mr. Puppet is a rock star status puppeteer. Every clown can learn from his classes and the nuances of comedy, timing, and presentation. I tried to find a Youtube video of Mr. Puppet and this is all I can find. Might be the same guy, I'm not sure.
  • Karen Hoyer is a clown, mime, puppeteer, performer and teacher. She’s also worked with the Big Apple Circus Clown Care Unit. I found this Christmas themed video she put up last year. She also seems to be a professional clown educator.
  • Angel Ocasio is a former Ringling clown and a featured funny performer. Angel is a juggler, physical comedian, ukulele star, and all round hilarious character. Angel is getting closer to a traditional stand-up, I think. This is a long video but there are some "interesting" parts. The She'll Be Coming Round The Mountain bit at around 14 minutes is worth a watch.

Clowns have gotten a pretty bad rap over the last few decades and I feel like it's mostly Stephen King's fault. "It" messed up a lot of people. I refuse to watch scary movies so I haven't been scarred by it.

I highly recommend reading this Chicago Sun-Times piece on the convention and the lack of respect clowns have in the community.

Personally, I'm a fan of clowns. This line from the Sun-Times piece really stuck with me.

Figure out how to solve a problem and fail and continue to fail until the audience allows you to succeed.’ The audience will let you cheat if you’ve won them over, You can hit it once with a tiny hammer, but you’ve got to earn that.

Clowns aren't about the makeup and funny shoes, it's about a relationship with the audience. I'm not saying you need to register for the convention, but maybe it's time we give clowns a second chance in our society.

P.S. I emailed Lori Lightfoot's office to see if she would be attending but did not receive a response. We'll have to wait and see.

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