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The Crisis You Won’t Hear About In The Mainstream Media: A National Clown Shortage!

OMG! Will we survive a shortage of entertainers in floppy shoes and wild wigs?

Chris Queen


February 19, 2014 - 7:00 am


In an era where problems abound – issues like the threat of a nuclear Iran, runaway federal spending, and an overreaching executive branch – it’s important to focus on the most urgent crises facing this country: a potential nationwide clown shortage! Fortunately, the New York Daily News is on top of it for all of us in this exclusive report:

As the “Greatest Show on Earth” returns to Brooklyn Thursday, circus folk fear a national clown shortage is on the horizon.

Membership at the country’s largest trade organizations for the jokesters has plunged over the past decade as declining interest, old age and higher standards among employers align against Krusty, Bozo and their crimson-nosed colleagues.

“What’s happening is attrition,” said Clowns of America International President Glen Kohlberger, who added that membership at the Florida-based organization has plummeted since 2006. “The older clowns are passing away.”

Membership at the World Clown Association, the country’s largest trade group for clowns, has dropped from about 3,500 to 2,500 since 2004.

Of course the clowning industry (and I can’t believe I just used that phrase) knows the solution to their problem – getting more kids and teens to consider clowning as a career.

“The challenge is getting younger people involved in clowning,” said Association President Deanna (Dee Dee) Hartmier, who said most of her members are over 40.

Kohlberger said that it’s difficult getting younger people who develop an early interest in the many facets of clowning to stick with it on the professional level.

“What happens is they go on to high school and college and clowning isn’t cool anymore,” he said. “Clowning is then put on the back burner until their late 40s and early 50s.”

Cyrus Zavieh, the president of New York Clown Alley, a group that boasts 45 members across the New York area, said clowns can pull in up to $300 for a birthday party — but that’s hardly a financial incentive for many young people.

“American kids these days are thinking about different careers altogether,” said Zavieh, 44, who has worked under the moniker Cido for nearly two decades.

“They’re thinking about everything other than clowning.”

It’s up to this generation of parents to reverse this alarming trend. Instead of encouraging your sons and daughters to become doctors or lawyers or grooming them to carry on the family business, why not gently nudge them toward the noble art of clowning? We know from the clowning associations that it’s a challenging, multi-faceted, and rewarding career. Think about the joy you’d have as a parent watching your child entertaining thousands at The Greatest Show on Earth! Or imagine your pride as the clown you raised makes a little one scream and cower in fear.

None of us want to have to say one day in the future, “Remember clowns?” Don’t let these delightful entertainers become extinct. Don’t let clowning go the way of the Victrola or the black and white console television. Now is the time to ensure the future of clowning for future generations. For the children.

Unless clowns creep you or your kids out. In that case, never mind.

All Chris Queen wanted to be growing up was a game show host, a weather man, or James Bond. But his writing talent won out. By day, Chris is a somewhat mild-mannered church communications director, but by night, he keeps his finger on the pulse of pop culture and writes about it. In addition to his Disney obsession (as evidenced by his posts on this website), Chris's interests include college sports -- especially his beloved Georgia Bulldogs -- and a wide variety of music. A native of Marietta, GA, Chris moved with his family as a child to nearby Covington, GA, where he still makes his home. He is an active charter member of Eastridge Community Church and enjoys spending time with family and friends. In addition to his work at PJ Media, Chris spent nearly a year as a contributor to NewsReal Blog. He has also written for Celebrations Magazine and two newspapers in Metro Atlanta. Check out his website,

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All Comments   (4)
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Very interesting. My first question is how does the pie chart of paying work break down? If most full-time professional clowns make MOST of their income doing private party gigs and ribbon-cuttings the answer for the national clown shortage seems all-too-obvious. Fewer people can afford such a luxury for their kids' birthday parties in these straitened times, plus pop culture in recent years (Killer Klowns from Outer Space, Shakes the Clown, Death to Smoochy, Water For Elephants, Bad Santa...etc) gives the whole profession a decidedly unsavory image.

So is it a dearth of work or another job-Americans-just-won't-do anymore? Do we import H1-B clowns from Eastern Europe or the Beijing Opera? Should we call the mikeroweWORKS Foundation to offer a few klown kollege scholarships?

It still seems strange. Intuitively, one would think that part-time professional clowning seems a rather obvious choice for the starving actor/comedian/dancer between auditions to cover the rent.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
There are 535 perfect candidates on Capitol Hill for this job, and about a hundred at the White House. Thousands from the various agencies and departments are waiting in the wings as well. And let's not forget the MSM.

And then there are entire states; take California, PLEASE!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It's not a "shortage", it's a much-needed CORRECTION!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
".....Unless clowns creep you or your kids out. In that case, never mind......"

Actually, that's every bit of mind, clowning has gone out of fashion. It's neither financial incentive or a career motivation, it's cultural. The last custard pie has been thrown.....'>>.........

Unless........... OH!...... try calling it cosplay. See what happens.....;).................
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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