The Silent Clowns, by Walter Kerr
Product description of The Silent Clowns
This book is both a scholarly study of silent comedy movies, and an illustrated guide to the major comedians for the general reader. It covers such characters as Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd and Laurel and Hardy. The author is one of America’s foremost film and theatre critics. He treats the subject of film comedians with much affection, and includes many anecdotes and stories. He is also a lucid theorist, attempting to explain how and why we laugh. (more…)
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…)
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…)
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
Funny 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…)
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…)
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 Righteousness, God in a Box, The Helmet of Salvation, The Helper, Respect, Shield of Faith, Standing Strong, The Sword of the Spirit, Thanksgiving, Whiter 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…)
Book Reviews – Be A Clown! – The Complete Guide to Instant Clowning by Turk Pipkin, Walt Chrynwski, Chris Reed
A 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 Costume
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- Slap, Slap, slapstick
- A Clown Class: The Boxing Sketch
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
- 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
- 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
I rate it 4 clowns on a 5-clown scale.
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, 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…)
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.
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…)