I wish I were… a clown!
This is probably not fair, because I was a clown for two sets of kids this weekend. I twisted several balloon animals, surprisingly exhausting my Qualatex 100 balloon pack in fairly quick order. The first time, I played a silent clown in full makeup, while the second time, I just had the nose, the funny hat, the oversized bowtie, and the orange suspenders.
During that time, I gained a strong appreciation for the craft. The Auguste makeup, for example, is quite an art. You have to suggest a childlike surprise, even if you’re not smiling at the time. However, you also can’t be scary. And Auguste clown is sorta like a big kid (as one parent mentioned during the party.) If you go with total whiteface, though, you’re supposed to rememble a living doll… which frankly is kinda creepy and something I don’t think I’d be able to pull off.
So, if I weren’t holding down a real job, I’d try to see how far I can take this clowning. Perhaps learn how to unicycle. Maybe even how to walk a tightrope. Perhaps I could learn some tumbling and pratfalls. But more than anything, I’d learn how to do some juggling. And then do something like the Ringling Brothers flash mob in Times Square, which broke out in some crazy juggling:
How’s that not awesome? Flash mobs and viral videos are like a modern day version of carnival barkers.
But more than anything, I’d like to see how to bring clowning into the modern day. It’s weird how most clown costumes seem to resemble something out of the 1920’s, an era long past. But which gags can kids relate to these days? Clowns are basically big ol’ cartoon characters come to life, as many of the antics resemble Looney Tunes gags. But do kids even watch that anymore? Do modern day clowns have to start paying attention to Phineas and Ferb these days?
That’s really what intrigues me the most. I love history, and I love research, and I love it when old things are cool again. I loved that movie, Rize, where street dancers bust out awesome moves in clown suits and make-up:
It combines humor with breathtaking feats and, yes, sexiness. Just like a real circus, with trapeze artists and ladies in tight spandex. Can you imagine some awesome clown dancing with, say, dubstep? It would be, like, the next step.