Clown Available For Weekends

As a teen I took several circus classes. They were held on the weekends and I would learn the art of clowning. Juggling, skipping, tumbling, miming, hobbling and magic tricks were all apart of the course load. I had been interested in clowns ever since I was a young boy but going to circus school on the weekends was not my decision. I had been causing a lot of trouble around the house by pretending to be a clown so my father decided that if I was going to act like a clown I should learn to behave like one.

I never would have imagined that the few months of clown training almost twenty years ago would rescue me as an adult. I did not even take the training seriously. I got stoned with my friends behind the circus tent and spent more time staring at the girls than I did listening to the ring master. But somehow I have retained the fundamentals of clowning. I can transform myself into a circus clown in a matter of moments and do all kinds of absurd and slightly unskilled clowning tricks.

My wife had the idea that I make my clowning skills available to others on the weekends. Since the failing economy has become a huge elephant in my room, and my job as a high school Teacher does not pay enough for me to live a modest and honorable lifestyle- I needed to find other ways to make a buck. So marketing myself as a clown for hire on the weekends did not sound like such a bad idea. The only problem was that I did not have enough money to buy a new clown suit so I had to use the one that I wore many years before as a younger man. Somehow the fact that it did not fit and was really tight around the belly and hips, played into the absurdity of being a clown. But I could not help the fact that I felt like a fool.

I put an add up on Craigslist for a “Clown Available For Weekends.” In my advertisement I said that I could do miming, juggling and general entertainment tricks. I listed the name of the circus school that I attended and said that my fee was $40.00 an hour. For a few weeks I received no replies to my add. I waited patiently and continued to over work myself as a Teacher with piles of papers to grade and student parent meetings to attend. Just as bills were beginning to go unpaid for over a month I received two phone calls from people interested in hiring me as a clown.

The first call was from a Google representative who wanted to hire me for an event that was being held in Mill Valley. It was an evening staff party for all San Fransisco bay area Google representatives and they wanted for it to be a circus theme. The woman whom I talked to on the phone said that they would pay me two hundred bucks to dress up like a clown and stand like a mime for four hours at the front entrance of the event. I accepted without hesitation and at the event I was able to hand my “Clowning” card to a few Google representatives who stuck crispy dollar bills in my tip pouch. The Google organization has more money than the middle east has oil or the Napa valley has wine and the only reason that I took that demeaning job was because I thought that it was a good opportunity to network.

The second phone call that I received was for a job offer to work as a clown at a birthday party. It was an upper class family that lived in Palo Alto and they wanted to hire me to entertain at their child’s second birthday bash. I was nervous about taking the job because I had a premonition that I would scare most children. I knew that my clown suit was a little awkward looking on my body (especially if I got an erection) and the cheap make-up that I had to use caused my face to look a little haunting. I said yes (because I was offered one hundred and fifty bucks for three hours of work) despite the fact that I knew that I might appear to look like a frightening version of Ronald McDonald to all of the kids. However, I desperately needed the cash and as it turned out- things did not go as badly as I thought. A few infants seemed horrified by my appearance but the over all mood at the party was one of amusement, fascination and laughter.

Even though there is a part of me that is still humiliated that I am a Teacher with a graduate degree in English Literature who has to work as a clown on the weekends, I still am able to enjoy the absurdity of what I am doing. In the past two summer months I have had clowning jobs almost every weekend and the extra money that I am earning has allowed my to slowly creep out of debt, buy a new clown suit and enjoy a few more nice dinners with my wife a week. I do not tell anyone in my professional or personal life what I do for extra money on the weekends, and I have asked my wife to keep my clowning antics between her and I- but I know that it is only a mater of time before word gets out that I am working as a clown on the weekends. I can see it now in the headlines of my local city newspaper “EDUCATION FALLS TO ALL TIME LOW, TEACHER HAS TO WORK WEEKENDS AS CLOWN.”


  1. Thank you.

    I accidently erased The Beard!! I am trying to figure out how to get it back. I have luckily printed out the stories so I will re-type them if all else fails. I am sad however, that I may loose the comments (which are always the best part).

  2. Infinite depth of focus because it is aimed straight at the heart of you and the photo too. It is a breakthrough piece I think, wonderfully fantastic to read in every way.

  3. Yes! Thank you Paul. I really appreciate your enthusiasm. Let me know if any gigs for clowning come available in Australia (a place I would love to return to).

  4. Hey, Randall — I am an entertainer who linked to your blog through Craigslist’s ‘artists’ section down here in L. A. —As a graduate of Ringling Bros. Clown College back in 1974, I am sorry that you feel ashamed of your recent foray into the much maligned art clowning. I am curious – you listed the skills that you learned as including ‘hobbling’. I am only familiar with the term as crippling or causing someone to limp. How did you mean it? — Also (and please don’t think me unkind), I am a bit surprised that someone with a graduate degree in English Lit. would make so many spelling and grammatical errors in your blog. May I respectfully suggest that you have someone proofread your pieces before submitting? Best wishes with your quest to be more comfortable with your self. Thank you for sharing with us.

  5. You will have to forgive me. At times I write my blog entries before the sun comes up and at that hour I do not care much for spelling or grammar. I do that best I can with a few read throughs- but there are always a plethora of errors that my eye fails to catch.

    What a great comment! Thank you for your critical analysis of my work and please understand that my shame for being a clown has nothing to do with the art itself- but withing my own issues pertaining to status, wealth and the current condition of education.

    I wish you the best in your journey as an entertainer and just for your info- “hobbling” is the art of walking with an unpredictable stride. The more contemporary vernacular of this archaic term is “gaiting”.

    p.s…..I got a graduate degree in English Lit because I love to read- but since the day I was born I have been an incapable spellrtter.

  6. OK, so, as a fellow educator who is looking for ways to pick up extra cash, I so relate to this. I love teaching, but I made so so so much more money when I was in fund raising. It’s sad. I’m thinking about posting on craigslist to run errands for people. My pseudo-girlfriend mows lawns thru craigslist ads.

    Growing up, my favorte aunt was a clown. I always wanted to try it, too.

    I want to write a poem about clowns now, by the way. Thank you for inspiration.

  7. ‘Tis lucky you had that to fall back on for extra cash. I would think I would find it appealing to go out into the world disguised.

    One of my favorite pieces I did is titled “Masked Mime” it is full of symbolism..darkly so. :O Do a search on my site if you want to see it (I feel funny putting a link on here). Some do not notice the cloaked figure in it..somehow I think you will.

    Do you prefer your mime or clown character? It seems some of the best and most famous clowns/mimes had a lot of inner turmoil. Which seems true with a lot of creative souls…which you are my friend.

    Happy belated anniversary to you and your wife..I hope you had a lovely dinner.

  8. Ps Excellent writing by the way…some of the best authors are terrible spellers. eh, eh
    My spelling is terrible..often spell check has no idea of what I was trying to spell.

  9. I prefer the clown character but I enjoy silent communication as well. Thank you for the kind words gypsy-heart. I will look into “Masked Mime.”

    Despite the fact that I teach English, I can not spell to save my life. I am missing the spelling chemical in my brain. I hear you about spell check- especially on WordPress…it stinks.

  10. What?! Why would You have to make a distinction between clownery and teaching. Aren’t most teachers clowns anyway? At least here they tend to be, and our educational system is such a circus not even the directors know what to call the animals…

    I’m really sad right now. I just have to tell someone – in other words the whole cyberspace – ’cause my little country up in the north turned into the mini-U.S in terms of schoolrelated tragedies today.

    I don’t blame the clo… pardon, teachers, I mean now really, how could You survive being one without putting on a fake smile to hide the tears and fears while the show must go on?
    Clown suit(ed) or not.

    (Randall, erase this comment if You want You.)

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