Book Reviews

Lights, Camera, Clowning! with Randy Christensen

Lights, Camera, Clowning with Randy Christensen – An Introduction to Effective Clown Ministry – video review

I first heard about Randy Christenson years ago, reading the original Clown Ministry Handbook by Janet Litherland. Randy was one of the ‘featured clowns’ in the book, and I was very intrigued. Randy has been very active in clown ministry for many years now, and has written numerous short books and created several videos on the subject. This video serves as an introduction to beginning in clown ministry. (more…)

Continue Reading
Clown Act Omnibus : Everything You Need to Know About Clowning Plus over 200 Clown Stunts by Wes. McVicar

Clown Act Omnibus

Clown Act Omnibus: Everything You Need to Know About Clowning Plus over 200 Clown Stunts by Wes. McVicar

A nice collection of time-tested clown skits (over 200), for beginners, intermediate & advanced, both individuals and for groups.  Acts are classified by type, equipment needed, gymnastic skills, and practice required. I greatly appreciated this, since it allowed me to skip things either too difficult or that I simply wasn’t interested in. The book also includes instructions on the making of some basic props for clowning and magic acts as well. (more…)

Continue Reading
Clown Jokes and Walkaround Gags

Clown Jokes & Walkaround Gags by Ron Burgess

Clown Jokes & Walkaround Gags by Ron Burgess

 Editorial Reviews of Clown Jokes and Walkaround Gags

The author, Ron Burgess – RBur696840@aol.com , November 23, 1998

Clown Jokes and Walkaround GagsFunny Stuff from “Silly Willy the (almost) Famous Clown”
Hi, Clown Lovers! That could be kids, parents, teachers, clowns, and anyone else that I haven’t mentioned that enjoys good clean fun. (more…)

Continue Reading
Bonzos Complete Book Of Skits

Bonzo’s Complete Book of Clown Skits, volume 1

Bonzo’s Complete Book of Skits, Volume 1, by Barry DeChant

Bonzo’s Complete Book of Clown Skits, volume 1 is a very nice collection of skits, time tested and clown-approved. It includes skits for a single clown, 2 clowns, 3 clowns, and clown troupes, and is divided accordingly. (more…)

Continue Reading
Skits and Bits for clown and drama ministry by Steve Conley

Skits and Bits

Skits and Bits for clown and drama ministry by Steve Conley

Steve Conley is a prolific writer of clown skits — and a frequent contributor to the skits here on the Free Clown Skits website. Some of the skits he’s made freely available here include Breastplate of RighteousnessGod in a BoxThe Helmet of SalvationThe HelperRespectShield of FaithStanding StrongThe Sword of the SpiritThanksgivingWhiter Than Snow, and several others. He tends to write skits for 1 or 2 clowns, normally talking. As you can tell by perusing his skits here, Steve clearly has a heart for the Lord, and for teaching His Word through the art of clowning. This book is a compilation of some of his skits, suitable for clown or drama presentations in a church setting. I enjoyed it much and recommend it highly. (more…)

Continue Reading
Be A Clown – the Complete Guide to Instant Clowning by Turk Pipkin

Be A Clown – the Complete Guide to Instant Clowning

Book Reviews – Be A Clown! – The Complete Guide to Instant Clowning by Turk Pipkin, Walt Chrynwski, Chris Reed

(Editor’s note: this book should not be confused with the children’s book “Be A Clown” nor Mark Stolzenberg’s Be A Clown, and has no relation to Cole Porter’s classic song “Be A Clown”)

Buy from Amazon.com Paperback – 104 pages

Be A Clown – the Complete Guide to Instant Clowning by Turk PipkinA very nice book – light and lively, easily read, many photos, with a good insight into the mind & heart of a clown. This lively, humorous handbook covers all aspects of clownmanship, including makeup, funny faces, costume (including inexpensive clown-size shoes), and props (including a favorite Red Skelton routine, the Bouncing Hankie). Encourages the reader to create a clown persona with many photos and suggestions. Several getting-started routines are included. Develop your own oddball walk, swallow chair legs — you’ll always have a stunt up your sleeve. Written by the towering Turk Pipkin, a 6′ 7″ professional clown.

Includes plastic clown nose (OK for starting, but you’ll want to get a “real” nose). The more I read it, the more I like it.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: Step Right Up

  • A very good introduction to the book, and to clowning in general. Italicized entries are sidebars or pull-outs, discussing something of interest, typically a clown bit, skit, or piece of advice — in this instance, the classic balancing a (ping pong ball, feather, cup, etc.) on your clown nose.
  • Who Am I?
  • Balance a Ping Pong Ball on Your Nose
  • The Heart of a Clown
  • Five Great Clown Handshakes
  • Ring One: Get Ready

    • To Speak or Not To Speak

  • Will your clown speak, or be silent? Discussing the pros and cons of each, as well as non-verbal communication, which is vital for both styles of clowning. As an aside, I love the Flea Circus skit! You can see a version of that on film in Charlie Chaplin‘s Limelight.
    • Talking Clowns
    • Silent Clowns
    • Trick or Treat
    • A Flea Circus
  • Your Clown CostumeTurk Pipkin demonstrates the spring loaded hat routine

  • Central to your clown character, discussing your costume. He begins with hats, which many clowns use — but as he says in Suited to You, if it doesn’t fit your character, don’t use it! You can see the Spring-loaded Hat Trick to the right. He also discusses some inexpensive (and creative) ways to get some clown shoes that match your character.
    • Start at the Top: Clown Hats
    • Spring-loaded Hat Trick
    • Suited to You
    • If the Shoe Fits… Don’t Wear it!
  • The First Steps

  • Something overlooked by a lot of introductory clowning books is the walk, or posture, of a clown. Remember Groucho Marx? You should. Remember the distinctive walk of Carol Burnett’s ‘Mrs. H-Whiggins’?
    • Your Own Walk
    • Famous Clown Walks
  • Make-Up: Creating a Unique Face

  • Using a minimalist, everyman style of make-up. If that works for you, wonderful! If not, feel free to consult a different book, such as Strutter’s Complete Guide to Clown Make-Up.
    • What Will Your New Face Look Like?
    • Make-Up Tips
  • Clown props

    • Special Delivery
    • The Bouncing Apple
    • The Bouncing Hankie
    • In a Classy Joint
  • Think Like a Clown

  • The essential part of clowning — how to think like a clown.
    • Make ‘Em Laugh
    • Running Gags
  • Ring Two: Get Set

    • Clown Skills

  • A very basic introduction to some of the better-known skills your clown might use, but covering the basics. And the classic Boxing Sketch does a good job of demonstrating how to do slapstick safely and properly.
    • Balancing
    • Juggling
    • Slap, Slap, slapstick
    • A Clown Class: The Boxing Sketch
    • Anywhere
  • Satire and Parody

    • The Clown Marksman
    • The Clown Magician
    • The Sword Swallower
  • Clowning With Kids

    • Hey Kids! Shaking hands
    • Balloon Animals
    • Who’s There? (Following in your Footsteps)
    • Afghan Bands: The Story of the Circus Belts
    • A Stunt That Wows!
    • At a Party
  • Audience Participation

  • I have to admit, I’m a big fan of audience participation sketches. And a much bigger fan of the Parade of Elephants after seeing it done live at Clown Camp 1998 by Brenda Ahern — it works, and it’s hilarious!
    • The Parade of Elephants
    • The World’s Strongest Clown
  • The Sideshow

    • Around the Circus
    • More Classic Clown Turns
    • Circus Lingo
  • Ring Three: Go!

    • Once a Clown
    • Putting It All Together
    • Kiss You! I Hardly Know You!
  • Appendix: Sweeping Up The Sawdust

    • Where To Now?

      • Schools for Clowns
      • Equipment and Information
  • Index

I rate it 4 clowns on a 5-clown scale.

Continue Reading
Clown Skits for Everyone – 32 skits for one or two clowns, prop instructions, performing tips—by Happy Jack Feder

Clown Skits for Everyone, by Happy Jack Feder

Clown Skits for Everyone – 32 skits for one or two clowns, prop instructions, performing tips—by Happy Jack Feder

Clown Skits for Everyone – 32 skits for one or two clowns, prop instructions, performing tips—by Happy Jack FederBuy from Amazon.com Clown Skits for Everyone, by Happy Jack Feder, is an excellent resource. It contains a (very) short introduction on make-up & clown character, and then launches into the meat of the book – a collection of skits suitable for one and/or two clowns. Some skits are ‘classics’, while others are variations. All are funny and quite ‘do-able’ even for beginning clowns. The book is interspersed with nuggets about character, character development, entertaining, working with other clowns, audience control, etc. It’s a personal favorite. (more…)

Continue Reading
Clown Ministry Skits for All Seasons, by Floyd Shaffer

Clown Ministry Skits for All Seasons

Clown Ministry Skits for All Seasons, by Floyd Shaffer

Mr. Shaffer takes the reader through the liturgical calendar year and gives some good ideas for holiday-related clowning. I, personally, find the skits presented limited since they are all silent, as Mr. Shaffer does all of his clown ministry. But they will give you ideas on what you or your clown troupe can do.

I rate it 3 clowns out of 5.

You might want to check out Clown Ministry and If I Were A Clown, also by Mr. Shaffer, both highly recommended. (more…)

Continue Reading
World’s Funniest Clown Skits by Barry DeChant

World’s Funniest Clown Skits

World’s Funniest Clown Skits by Barry DeChant

World’s Funniest Clown Skits is a truly nice collection of skits, broken up into 4 areas – skits for 1 clown, for 2 clowns, for 3 clowns, and for 4 or more clowns. One nice touch is that wherever possible, the author(s) of the skits are identified, as well as clowns who had a major impact on the development and/or performance of the skit.

It’s a healthy collection of nearly 50 classic skits, including the Busy Bee skit (versions for 2, 3 or more clowns), boxing match, the Banana Illusion, the Hamburger Stand (aka. I’m quick), as well as descriptions for how to build any special props (such as the long shirt).

I recommend it highly and rate it 4 clowns on a 5-clown scale. (more…)

Continue Reading
The Pantomime Life of Joseph Grimaldi: Laughter, Madness and the Story of Britain's Greatest Comedian, by Andrew McConnell Stott

The Pantomime Life of Joseph Grimaldi

The Pantomime Life of Joseph Grimaldi: Laughter, Madness and the Story of Britain’s Greatest Comedian, by Andrew McConnell Stott

Editorial review of The Pantomime Life of Joseph Grimaldi: Laughter, Madness and the Story of Britain’s Greatest Comedian, courtesy of Amazon.com

The son of a deranged Italian immigrant, Joseph Grimaldi (1778-1837) was the most celebrated of English clowns. The first to use white-face make-up and wear outrageous coloured clothes, he completely transformed the role of the Clown in the pantomime with a look as iconic as Chaplin’s tramp or Tommy Cooper’s magician. One of the first celebrity comedians, his friends included Lord Byron and the actor Edmund Kean, and his memoirs were edited by the young Charles Dickens. But underneath the stage paint, Grimaldi struggled with depression and his life was blighted with tragedy. (more…)

Continue Reading
%d bloggers like this: