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…)
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…)
Harpo Speaks! by Harpo Marx, Rowland Barber, Susan Marx (Photographer), Bill Marx (Photographer)
Review of Harpo Speaks:
Frankly, Harpo Speaks is one of my favorite books of all time. It’s hilarious, serious, witty, poignant and thought-provoking, sometimes all at the same time. It details what it was like to grow up in the Marx household, how all of the brothers were pushed into show business by their mother, Minnie, how hard they worked for so many years at (barely) subsistence wages, how they entertained each other, grew up on the road, and in one night changed from a singing group to the first great ‘screwball’ comedy team. If you love clowns, or are interested in clowning, you want to read this book; it’s a wonderful insight into clowning, what’s funny and why, as well as some of the Marx Brothers’ classic routines. It’s also a wonderful insight into a man I would have loved to have known; Harpo Marx. (more…)
Emmett Kelly: The Greatest Clown on Earth (Notable Missourians)
In the early 1900s, the circus was one of the most popular forms of entertainment in America, and one of the most popular circus acts was the clown. White-faced clowns in bright costumes made adults and children laugh with their silly antics. When the Great Depression caused many Americans to lose their jobs, Emmett Kelly decided to be a different type of clown a sad-faced clown who reminded people of their struggles, but still made them laugh. (more…)
Christian skits – Comic Ministry Routines, by Randy Christensen
First, it needs to be pointed out that this is a short book (41 pages, 5.5″ x 8.5″), with a lot of information packed into a small package. It contains a lot of good clown skits, both silent and speaking, for multiple clowns, as you can see for yourself in the Table of Contents below. It’s a very well-written and well-rounded collection of skits (16 total). If you’re looking for a nice, inexpensive collection of clown skits suitable for use in church, youth group, etc. I recommend the book. (more…)
Editorial review of Tall Tales of a Short Clown, courtesy of Amazon.com
Tall Tales of a Short Clown is the story of Barry Lubin, whose alter ego, Grandma, became one of the most successful clowns in American history, and was named “The World’s Funniest Grandma” in Germany. Barry has entertained well over a hundred million people in circus rings, stadiums, arenas, on stage, in festivals, in films, and on television as the funny little carpetbagger with a mischievous view of the world. (more…)
Editorial review of Clowns: In conversation with modern masters, courtesy of Amazon.com
Clowns: In Conversation with Modern Masters is a groundbreaking collection of conversations with 20 of the greatest clowns on earth. In discussion with clown aficionados Ezra LeBank and David Bridel, these legends of comedy reveal the origins, inspirations, techniques, and philosophies that underpin their remarkable odysseys. Featuring incomparable artists, including Slava Polunin, Bill Irwin, David Shiner, Oleg Popov, Dimitri, Nola Rae, and many more, Clowns is a unique and definitive study on the art of clowning. (more…)
THE CLOWN IN YOU is a clowning manual for students, teachers and practitioners. It contains all kinds of valuable clown knowledge; both practical and theoretical. Within its pages readers will find all the basic principles of clowning, first-hand clowning experiences, tried and tested clown games and exercises, quotes from interviews Caroline held with professional clowns, examples of clown improvisations, and explanations of the clown philosophy underlying all the comic techniques used by clowns. The book thus provides an unprecedented insight into the heart of clowning and throws a fresh light on all the skills, audacity and dedication needed to encounter, encourage and set free oneâs clown.
The World of Clowns, by George Spreight
It does not deal with make-up, costuming, skits, juggling, etc. It does deal with the history of clowning prior to the commedia del arte to the ‘present day’ of the 1950’s. If you’re looking for current information, you’ll have to look elsewhere, although it has a treasure trove of information from the heyday of the circus in the first half of the 20th century. (more…)
The Buck Book: All Sorts of Things to Do With a Dollar Bill — Besides Spend It, by Anne Akers Johnson
I have a weakness for Klutz books — they seem to be universally easy to follow, fun, and fairly usable for clowning. This is a good example. In essence, The Buck Book is really just a glorified origami book; but a very good origami book, focusing on what can be folded from a dollar bill. As you can see in the illustration, it includes a ring, a ring with a dime as the ‘gem’, an elephant, a peacock, a jumping frog, and more.
Like all of the Klutz Press books, it’s well-written, clearly illustrated, with step-by-step instructions for making all of the creations. It even includes a dollar bill to start you with. (more…)