Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What Makes a Clown?

I take clown in the broader sense.  That is Pee Wee Herman, Stephen Colbert, Banksy the artist.  Clowning is about being a character but on closer examination you are bringing taunting to that character or characterization.

That character has to be very personal to the person.

Pee Wee brought clown to the world of children's tv.  That is not to say, children don't find him endearing and wonderful and loving.  Pee Wee did a clown in the middle of the rules of Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers and Barney.  Pee Wee pushed from the inside out.  

Stephen Colbert is in the middle of the pundit world. He dresses and looks like a news anchor from CNN.  Colbert draws attention and laughter from being a pundit and pushing outward. 

Banksy is a street artist.  He drew attention to the world of art and pushed it outward.  No one knows what Banksy looks like.  At least not publicly.  Banksy by playing the invisible artist is playing the clown in the world of art and artists.

No one can do Stephen Colbert except Stephen Colbert.  Pee Wee Herman has an affinity toward to his humor.  Banksy is a great artist.  Part of being a clown, you are the only person in the world to be able to do that character.  

In the world of children's entertainment what do we have in common with these other clowns?  We must be ourselves.  We are in the middle of the world of preschool and story books and push from the inside out.  What makes clowns really funny is on close examination, we are pushing away from all expectations.  

Look at what everyone else is doing and throw it on it's ear.  If all clowns are doing the coloring book trick, have a child put their hands on the coloring book and fool you.  If you are making balloons, make the balloon into the shape of a telephone and call your stock broker.  Why is that funny?  it's unexpected, it's in the face of expectations and it's making a comment on the world.

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