Clown Handshakes – simple handshake shenanigans
These are just some simple ‘clown bits’ that you can use for shaking hands, either with another clown or with an audience member.
- Rubber Arm handshake – when shaking someone’s hand, typically a child, shake the hand vigorously (but not hard enough to cause pain) – start with an up-and-down motion, and then move to a side-to-side motion – this gives the impression that the child’s arm is rubbery, or boneless.
- Bouncing handshake – when two clowns shake hands, the ‘receiving’ clown bounces up and down, as though the clown was shaking hands with Bam-Bam Rubble (the world’s strongest baby, from the Flintstones cartoon, for those who don’t understand the reference)
- Pass handshake – when two clowns see each other from a distance, they each extend a hand toward the other and start walking toward each other – only to miss, with one passing in front of the other. They both recognize the error, turn around, and repeat the error. On the third attempt, they successfully shake hands.
- Crushing Grip handshake – when a clown shakes hand with a child, or an elderly or infirm person, pantomime the person ‘crushing’ the clown’s hand with his powerful grip. React clownishly, congratulate the person on their hand strength.
- Grimy handshake – Shake hands normally, and when turning away, pull out a handkerchief and wipe the hand of the germs, etc. Exaggerating facial gestures count enormously with this handshake. Alternatives would be wiping the hand on a coat, pants, someone else’s coat or pants, pulling out a whisk broom and wiping off the palm of his hand, etc.
- Miss & Kiss handshake – from Turk Pipkin’s book Be A Clown – the clown gallantly moves to kiss a lady’s hand, holding her hand in the clown’s hand, but at the last moment, the clown pulls his hand away in order to kiss his own hand. This is the same routine that Red Skelton performed as his Clem Kadiddlehopper character.