Tag Archives: Clown

Laughter is the Best Medicine: The Health Benefits of Humor


Chuckle The Clown

Chuckle The Clown

Humor is infectious. The sound of roaring laughter is far more contagious than any cough, sniffle, or sneeze. When laughter is shared, it binds people together and increases happiness and intimacy. Laughter also triggers healthy physical changes in the body. Humor and laughter strengthen your immune system, boost your energy, diminish pain, and protect you from the damaging effects of stress. Best of all, this priceless medicine is fun, free, and easy to use

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Authors: Melinda Smith, M.A., Gina Kemp, M.A., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D. Last updated: November 2012.

Hire  Chuckle The Clown to bring laughter to your party.

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Birthday Party Clown

Clown for a Birthday Party

Chuckle The Clown

Chuckle The Clown

If you are wondering how to make your child’s birthday party a very special memory that they will never forget then hiring a clown entertainer could be the answer you are looking for.

A clown turns your child’s special day into an exciting magical experience.

Clowns are exciting and fun. Children love their colourful costumes and crazy antics.

Clowns are often multi-skilled and can do lots of fun stuff like juggling, balloon modelling and magic tricks but what makes them different from other entertainers is that they are very silly too!

Children delight in watching the clown get into a muddle. Clowns are clumsy, forgetful, hoplessly incompetent. They get mixed up, they drop things, they walk into things, they fall over and sometimes even fall asleep.

A clown show is more like a pantomime!!!

Clowns are very versatile performers and can work in all kinds of situations. They are perfect for a children’s birthday party but can also entertain in shopping centres at family fun day events, store promotions, fetes, shows and galas.

Clowns can work with children of all ages but they can entertain adults too.

A clown will bring laughter, smiles and happiness to your child’s party.


Looking for a Birthday Party Clown in North Yorkshire or The North East?

Chuckle The Clown covers Richmond, Catterick Garrison, Northallerton, Darlington, Barnard Castle, Northallerton, Harrogate, York and Middlesbrough. He also works in Newcastle, Sunderland, Durham and Leeds areas.

Contact Chuckle The Clown using our enquiry form here.

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History Of Clowns

Joseph Grimaldi as Clown Joey

Image via Wikipedia

A Short History Of Clowns

Ancient Clowns

Throughout history most cultures have had clowns. A pygmy clown performed as a jester in the court of Pharaoh Dadkeri-Assi during Egypt’s Fifth Dynasty about 2500 BC Court jesters have performed in China since 1800 B.C and they were given great freedom of speech. Most Native American tribes had some type of clown character. These clowns played an important role in the social and religious life of the tribe, and in some cases were believed to be able to cure certain diseases

The White Face

The traditional white face makeup of the clown is thought to have been introduced by the character of Pierrot, the French clown with a bald head and flour-whitened face. He first appeared during the latter part of the 17th century. He was created as a fool for Harlequin, Pierrot was gradually softened and sentimentalized. The pantomimists Jean- Baptiste-Gaspard Deburau took on the character in the early 19th century and created a famous love-sick, pathetic clown, whose melancholy has since remained part of the clown tradition.

The First Circus Clown

The earliest of the true circus clowns was Joseph Grimaldi, who first appeared in England in 1805. Grimaldi’s clown, called Joey, specialised in the classic physical tricks, tumbling, pratfalls, and slapstick beatings. In the 1860s a low-comedy comic appeared under the name of Auguste, who had a big nose, baggy clothes, large shoes, and untidy manners. He worked with a white face clown and always spoiled the latter’s trick by appearing at the wrong time to mess things up.
Grock (Adrien Wettach), a famous white face pantomimists, evoked laughter in his continual struggle with inanimate objects. Chairs collapsed beneath him. When a stool was too far from a piano, he shoved the piano to the stool. His elaborate melancholy resembled that of Emmett Kelly, the American vagabond clown.

The Auguste Clown

There is a widely told story about the origins of the Auguste clown – where an American acrobat named Tom Belling was performing with a circus in Germany in 1869. Confined to his dressing room as discipline for missing his tricks, he entertained his friends by putting on misfitting clothes to perform his impression of the show’s manager. The manager suddenly entered the room and Belling took off running, ending up in the circus arena where he fell over the ringcurb. The audience laughed and yelled ‘auguste!’ which is German for fool. The manager commanded that Belling continue appearing as the Auguste.  Chuckle The Clown is an example of what an Auguste looks like.

The Tramp Character

One of the most well-known figures is the tramp made famous by Charlie Chaplin. The tramp clown was created by James McIntyre and Tom Heath in 1874, portraying African-Americans made homeless by the Civil War. They based their characters on blackface minstrel clowns which is the origin of the white mouth used by tramp clowns. Their idea may also have been inspired by the travelling hoe boys (hobos) or itinerant farm workers, who rode the rails from one town to another, wiping the soot away from their eyes & mouth.

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Entertaining Pre School Age Children At A Birthday Party

When it comes to entertaining children there is no one size fits all. A birthday party is a very special occasion and every parent wants to do the best they can to make it is good as it can be. For the child it is very exciting because they know they are going to get lots of presents and have lots of fun. For parents a birthday party is an expression of love and pride. Having a brilliant birthday party is could be described as a kind of emotional out poring. A way of showing their love? This might sound a little over the top but I believe this is true. As a parent myself I am speaking from experience. Hazel and I always tried to give our three girls really good birthday parties even when money was in short supply and let’s face it a birthday party is expensive! They are all grown up now but we’ve been there, done that and bought the T Shirt as they say.

I am digressing. My opening statement is true. When it comes to entertaining children there is no one size fits all. The kind of stuff which will amuse and entertain a four year old is different to what will delight a ten year old. To organise a birthday party for a four year old boy and then invite his ten year old brother and all his mates to come too is a recipe for trouble. Older children are more sophisticated. They are far more advanced both physically and mentally and they are much bigger! The older children will naturally dominate the little ones. They will win all the games and sometimes younger children can be knocked over and hurt if the big ones are chasing around in the excitement. Controlling older children can sometimes be a problem too. Often you will not know all of the children who are coming to the party and so you have to hope that they will be well behaved.

This all sounds like bad news. It’s not meant to be. Mixed age group parties can work. It depends on the kids. If you are lucky enough to get a group of really well behaved children and the older ones are quite happy to mix in with the little ones then all well and good but be warned. It could go the other way so why take chances.

If you are planning a birthday party for a three or four year old child then invite all three and four year olds. This is by far the best approach.

Puppet Show For Younger Children

Younger Children Love Puppets

If you are going to do the entertainment yourself and you are wondering what to do then draw inspiration from nursery school, play group, mother and toddler group or Tumble Tots. Think of the kind of activities and games that the children do at these places. Make a list of everything you can think of that you might be able to use at your child’s birthday party. Games, songs and stories are all good. Work out how long each activity will take and then make a little programme up. Alternate between an activity which involves sitting and listening and one which involves movement.  Don’t try and do too much. Plan on thirty to forty minutes before the party food and then perhaps another thirty minutes or so after the meal. Use less energetic activities such as “pass the parcel” and “pin the tail on the donkey” after the children have eaten. End the party on a high note by doing the “hokey cokey” or something similar. If possible enlist the help of a friend or relative who works with pre school age children in a professional capacity. A nursery nurse, teacher or child carer would be ideal. It is also a very good idea to involve the other mums too. Ask them to join in with their children. This will make things much easier for you.

You may decide to hire someone to come and organise the birthday party entertainment for you. There are people who specialise in entertaining preschoolers. Often they are people who are ex teachers or who have experience as nursery nurses, child carers etc. Sometimes they are mums themselves who have set up in business because they enjoy working with kids and they like the flexibility this type of work affords. There are people who will organise games, do craft activities, do dressing up parties, do storytelling and so on.

Alternatively you might want to hire a professional children’s entertainer such as a magician, clown or puppeteer. All children love magic. Most love clowns and puppets are always a big hit. Not all children’s entertainers will work with very young children. The sudden appearance of a clown in the midst of a group of three and four year olds could terrify some children especially the more timid ones. When working with under fives approach is everything. The first step is to win over the confidence of the children and make sure they feel safe and are relaxed. Next the material has to be simple and uncomplicated. The funny business and humour must be pitched at a level that the little ones can understand. This may seem obvious but it is very important. Entertaining pre school age children at a birthday party is an art in itself and requires experience, knowledge  and understanding. Not everyone is capable of entertaining very young children at birthday parties and so you do need to make sure you are hiring an entertainer who knows what they are doing.

Here is what one mum wrote about a party for her four year old daughter at which we had performed a magic and puppet show:

Hi there! What a super afternoon – thanks largely to you! Willow had a fab time and told her grandma all about the ‘funny man who can’t clap and had lots of sheep and a cow called Daisy’. We have our own puppet theatre at home and have been playing with it already this morning, re-christening one of the characters ‘Bonkers’. I think we may be stealing some of your act! Our guests are raving about the party and we certainly won’t forget you in a hurry. Unfortunately I can’t post anything on your facebook page for Jolly Good Productions – but will gladly do so – think we may need to be friends in order to do so?? Just wanted to let you know that we were super impressed and it was such a stress-free party for us. The kids loved you (perhaps a little too much at times) but I guess that’s just the sort of reaction you need. Thanks so much again.

Birthday parties are special. Think carefully about what you are going to do and hopefully you will have happy memories to look back on in years to come.

If you have any ideas to share about entertaining pre school age children at a birthday party please contribute to the discussion using the comment section below. Thanks.

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Amazing Clown Birthday Cake

Look at this fabulous clown birthday cake made by Sarah Thompson for her son Charlie’s 5th birthday party. Chuckle wanted to eat it all himself but Charlie said it was to share with his friends. He did say Chuckle The Clown could have a little tiny piece if he promised to make the party lots of fun for everyone.

Charlie's Clown Birthday Cake

Charlie's Clown Birthday Cake

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Why You should Never Forget Your Trousers

Chuckle The Clown
Image by ronwooduk via Flickr

I like to think I’m quite an organised person. Perhaps given the very varied nature of my business and taking into account all of the different things I do then personal organisation is important. As one half of Jolly Good Productions I am always taking out different equipment, props and costumes according to whichever of our various shows or workshops we happen to be doing on any particular day. This involves a lot of unloading and reloading. I’m sure I’m not alone when it comes to leading a busy life.  Most of the time I get it right but every now and again I manage to drop myself in it as they say.

One of my most embarrassing moments occurred whilst providing children’s entertainment at an event organised for the families and friends of  staff at a regional hospital. It was quite a big do with lots of people and what seemed like hundreds of children. I’d arrived in plenty of time, brought in all of my stuff and set up in the function room.  They had asked me for my Chuckle The Clown Show followed after the break by Punch and Judy.

As my Punch and Judy booth is very large I often use it as a changing room. I can hang up my costume and relax inside out of the way before the show.  I had taken my clown costume to the cleaners as I like to make a good impression. I do like a nice clean costume. So my costume was hanging up in its plastic bag, straight from the cleaners, ready to be put on at the last minute. I did my make up and waited for the room to fill up. About five minutes before I was due to make my big entrance I took my costume out of its plastic bag and was utterly horrified to find – NO TROUSERS!!! I must have assumed the trousers were on the coat hanger when they were taken to cleaners and I didn’t check when I went to collect. What a silly billy!

I had two choices. Either explain to the organisers that I couldn’t do my clown act and say  it would have to be just Punch and Judy or I’d have to go on without trousers. Now fortunately I do wear special comedy clown knickers ( only when performing of course ). They are like a silly pair of shorts which come down to my knees ( and I am wearing normal undies under them ) so all was not lost.

I did the only decent thing and carried on regardless. I did my entire clown show with no trousers. The audience certainly seemed to be having a good time. The show rolled along as usual with lots of audience participation, fun and laughter. Perhaps they thought that this was my usual appearance or that I’d done it to for laughs. I’ll never know and They’ll never know that in addition to my red nose I had a very red face beneath the slap.

The moral to this story is : Busy people should use a check list! ( which is what Hazel has been trying to drum into me for years! )

Has this kind of thing ever happened to you? Share your experiences using the comment section below. Thanks, Ron.

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Chuckle The Clown | Interview

An interview with Chuckle The Clown

“Good morning Chuckle, thank you for agreeing to this interview, I hope that the readers will find it interesting and that it will give them a glimpse into the world of the clown, may we begin?”

A ” Yes, please” ( Chuckle replies enthusiastically )

Q ” How long have you been a clown?”

A ” About five feet nine inches”

Q ” What attracted you to this line of work?”

A ” Mainly the bright colours and the balloons”

Q ” Your costume is very interesting, may I ask why your trousers are so baggy?”

A ” I’m leaving room to grow”

Q ” I couldn’t help noticing that you have very big feet, can you explain this?”

A ” Please don’t mention my feet, I’m very sensitive about them”

Q “How does it make you feel when people laugh at you?”

A ” It’s not fair, I paid a lot of money for my outfits and people should be more appreciative”

Q “Have you ever taken an IQ Test?”

A “No, but I did once take an eye test which sadly I failed”

Q “Which is your favourite political party”

A “I don’t have a favourite party. I go to lots of them and they are all fun”

Q “Some people say clowns are scary. What is your view on this?”

A “I agree, I never look in a mirror”

Q “Is it possible to make a lot of money being a clown

A “Yes, definitely. All you need is a pair of scissors, some crayons and a big pile of scrap paper”

A “Have you ever had a proper job?”

A “Yes, I used to work in the City but the pressure got to me. The commuting, the stress, all that sell, sell, sell, every day. It got too much for me and lets face it nobody reads the Big Issue anymore, so I left”

Q “What motivates you?”

A “I am driven by a complete lack of responsibility”

Q “Would you describe yourself as an Icon for young people?”

A “No, I’d say I look more like an Acorn to some people”

Q “Are clowns a minority group”

A “Yes, they are. I’m trying to set up a pressure group as the tyres on my bike are flat”

Q “What is your greatest wish”

A “There is a popular idea that clowns are clumsy, brainless, bungling fools. I represent this miscontraception. It is high tide that these incontrovertable malplatitudes were ceremoniously deposited in the rubbish bin outside our local chippy. No single clown has set lower levels of achievement than I have. My greatest wish is to be taken more seriously”

Q “Thank you for answering my questions. What are you going to do for the rest of the day”

A “A group of workmen asked me to go shopping for them. They seemed very nice so I don’t mind helping out. They sent me off to look for a sky hook, a chocolate fire guard and a long stand. The nice man in the shop told me to wait here for the long stand so if you will excuse me I’ll get back to doing that. I wonder if the fire guard will be white chocolate because that’s my favourite.”

“Goodbye Chuckle”

“Good bye” ( Chuckle waves and smiles )

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After Dinner Speaker Chuckle The Clown

Hazel and I had a lovely evening at the Knavesmire in York. It’s a special place for us as we were married in York Minster. I had been booked as an after dinner speaker and had been asked to give a talk and demonstration as Chuckle The Clown. There were about two hundred people in attendance and we enjoyed a first class meal. The food was delicious and the service was excellent. After the meal there were a few short speeches and a couple of presentations, then a comfort break before I was on. I was given an excellent introduction which explained who I was and all about my back ground and business.

My talk was in three parts.

I began with Punch and Judy as this was how I started out. I did the story about swallowing the swazzle and how it turned up again when I was in the loo. I then got onto clowning and how I went to the USA to learn the basics.

Next I had a couple of guys hold up a screen whilst I changed into my clown costume. Then a make up demonstration resulting in me in full clown slap. After this I showed off a few props and had a few folk out to try their hand.

The last part was audience participation under the pretext of a clowning masterclass. We did feather balancing, musical chairs, a clown band, marshmallow eating and as the grand finale, a custard pie demo. Unfortunately this went terribly wrong and the only one who got pied was me, several times! ( or perhaps this was the plan? )

We ended up with a mass clown dance before I took a bow and retired.

It was all great fun and I had loads of very positive feedback afterwards. It seems that most people really enjoyed themselves.

Hazel and I were the last to leave as we had lots of people coming up to talk to us so we couldn’t pack up until they’d all gone.

A very good night, though late home, after 1am.

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An Entertaining Life

This evening I have been booked as an after dinner speaker at a black tie dinner in York. The title is ” An Entertaining Life ” I have been asked to talk about how I became a clown and to include a few interesting anecdotes and most of all to give a demonstration. Now as you can appreciate, most of my work as Chuckle The Clown involves working with children and family audiences and not performing before an adult audience. Most people would tell you that clowns are for kids and there can be no disputing that this is the general perception. However I have to say that “grown ups” like clowns too, it’s just that they are too grown up to admit it.

Making a living as a clown is an unusual occupation and so I am sure that my audience this evening will be curious to know why I chose to abandon respectability and entered into this crazy world of clowning around ( I sometimes find myself asking the same question ).

There are many reasons why I like what I do. I get to travel, I meet lots of interesting people, it’s fun, there is lots of job satisfaction ( one point for a smile, two for a titter, five for a round of applause and ten for an out and out belly laugh ), all sorts of funny things happen outside of the actual show, I am my own boss ( whoops, forgot about Hazel ) and it’s different, for me variety is the spice of life.

Perhaps inside of every person there resides a little clown. This little clown was happiest when we were children because it could be free to play in our imagination. As we have grown older the little clown has become submerged under the baggage of life, covered over by responsibility, self consciousness, respectability, authority, status and all the other trappings of adulthood.

This evening when I present “An Entertaining Life” I hope that my audience will get an insight into my world and that I may even be able to find some kindred spirits who ill be brave enough to dip their toes in the water and join in the fun. It may even inspire them to take up a new career?

If you are looking for an after dinner speaker with a difference and you are feeling courageous then please give me a call!

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What Is A Character Clown?

There are various types of clowns. The “Auguste” clown is the one that most people imagine. Baggy clothes, big red nose, big feet etc. There are also “White Face” clowns, “Contemporary” clowns, “European” clowns and “Character” clowns. Each type has is identified by certain characteristics.

What is a character clown?

Whilst most clowns are fairly generic in their appearance a character clown has a very specific and clearly recognisable identity. Charlie Chaplin could be classed as a character clown. The little tramp with his funny walk and cane became very famous in the days of the silent movie. Another very well know character clown was Emmet Kelley. He was an American circus clown who was always sad.

Character clowns often mimic a respectable profession. They are poking fun at the establishment which is why people find them amusing. The bungling policeman, an absent minded headmaster, a silly doctor all have great potential for this role.

Character clowns can be employed to great effect at events. Its great fun to have a clown policeman at the entrance in charge of security. The absent minded headmaster is a good one for educational / school events. Clown doctors often work in hospitals. A cowboy clown is great for a wild west themed event.

Here are some of the character clowns I have created and use from time to time when not performing as Chuckle The Clown.

cowboy clown

Cowboy Clown

Policeman Clown

Policeman Clown

Character Clown Scotsman

Character Clown Scotsman McChuckle

Let me know what you think of my characters. Perhaps you have a great idea for a new character clown? If so post a comment. Thanks everyone.

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