Plate spinning skit – a skit for 3 or more clowns
[Editor’s note: I first saw this plate spinning skit on WGN-TV’s Bozo the Clown show, but the routine is much older than that. In the original, there were 3 non-speaking clowns and the ringmaster who speaks at the end. Music plays in the background (if you’re going to perform without speaking)]
Clown 1 [likely a whiteface clown walks on stage, carrying his stick for spinning plates. He’s followed by Clown 2, a subservient Auguste or Tramp clown who acts as his assistant] He holds a hand out, and Clown 2 hands him a ceramic plate. Clown 1 tries to spin it on the stick and … crash! It falls to the stage and shatters.
After a moment [let the audience react] Clown 1 decides to try again and holds his hand out for a 2nd plate. He tries again … and fails again. He’s now a little crestfallen but determined to not give up so easily. Remembering the Rule of Three, he tries again … and again it shatters.
Depending on Clown 1’s character, he could play to the audience for sympathy, pretend to cry, get angry, etc. … And then a third clown walks on stage, with a juggling plate and stick. He walks to the foreground, and successfully spins the plate! Clown 1 and 2 are behind and to either side, and react to this for the audience. The audience applauds, and Clown 3 takes a bow … and reveals to everyone that his spinning plate is gimmicked — even perpendicular to the floor, it won’t fall!
Clown 1 is angry and chases Clown 3 off the stage. Determined to succeed, he holds his hand out for another plate from Clown 2. But Clown 2 doesn’t have any more …
Indignant, Clown 1 pantomimes for him to go and find one! While Clown 2 exits on his search, Clown 1 visually “thinks through” what went wrong … and Clown 2 returns, carrying a trash can and a pumpkin pie. Clown 1 motions for him to get rid of the pie, and Clown 2 reluctantly dumps it into the trash can and gives the pie tin to Clown 1.
Clown 1 tries one more time, spinning the pie tin … and succeeds! His success is short-lived, however, as the ringmaster walks in and wants to know if the clowns have seen his lunch — a delicious pumpkin pie!
Depending on the character of the people involved, the ringmaster could do a slow burn after the clowns hand him the garbage can, or the skit could end with a chase.