An incredibly excellent book! Not a how-to manual, but a presentation of issues dear to a clown’s heart. Filled with anecdotes of Mr. Shaffer’s many years of clowning, it’s an excellent resource. Even if you’ve never clowned and never will, read this book — it shows so clearly the heart of a clown, the heart of a child, and (I believe) the heart of Christ.
Though not a book on clowning, per se, it does include descriptions of several clown skits that Mr. Shaffer performs in a church environment, including the Love Balloons, and the Mark of the Clown.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 – I’d Laugh With God
- A wonderful chapter, dealing with God’s sense of humor, how we’re made in His image, and we’re allowed to laugh too. I love the illustration from the life of Jesus, with the ‘idolatry’ of the Pharisees when they held a coin with an image on it!
Chapter 2 – I’d Be A Child When I Grew Up
- An excellent chapter about the difference between being child-like and childish. Among other anecdotes, it includes an account of Mr. Shaffer’s Communion routine — a wonderful routine that can be performed in virtually any church.
Chapter 3 – I’d See Comedy in Life
- A very good chapter, dealing with the essence of comedy (at least from a clown’s perspective) — not just putting someone down, but lifting them back up. He starts the chapter with a modification of an old clown routine (photographing an audience member), with a change to introduce the ‘lifting up’, and goes on with illustrations from his own experience, history and Biblical characters
Chapter 4 – I’d Choose My Mask Wisely
- A chapter talking about the different clown types (whiteface, auguste, tramp) and how Mr. Shaffer sees them fitting into clown ministry.
Chapter 5 – I’d Transform the Simple and Common
- An excellent chapter on the difference between changing something and transforming it. How a clown, powerless and lowly, transforms the everyday into something special. And how God does the same with us. Mr. Shaffer describes his ‘help wanted’ skit as well.
Chapter 6 – I’d Do Something Intentionally Foolish Each Day
- A good chapter, talking about how ‘foolish’ God’s actions can seem to us ‘rational’ human beings; and how right He is. Illustrated with Biblical examples, as well as personal anecdotes.
Chapter 7 – I’d Leave My Act Like the Lone Ranger
- An excellent chapter, though a little hard to describe in just a sentence; it deals with how the lowly clowns come, do their stuff, and leave unobtrusively. It’s also about how people impact others, and change their world.
Chapter 8 – I’d Make the Dance a Way of Life
- Another great chapter. It deals primarily with how Mr. Shaffer got involved in Clown Ministry in the 1960’s, and in a larger way it deals with the Christian life, and parallels with the clown. As the book says, three things happen in both: 1. You have joy and happiness 2. People think you are crazy 3. You will probably get into trouble
Chapter 9 – I’d Give Everyone in the World a Big, Red, Love Balloon
- A chapter on balloons. One thing Mr. Shaffer does quite a bit is giving away large red balloons with the word “Love” printed on them. It talks both about anecdotes from his life involved with giving away Love balloons, both in and out of church, and with the larger issue of giving away Love.
Clown make up for Beginners