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Love to Sabrina and Olivia who have spent years graciously laugh-

ing at my bewildering descriptions of new clowns and their wild

Heartfelt appreciation to my students of clowning at the
University of California, Irvine; the Accademia dell�Arte in Arezzo,
Italy; universities and theaters across the states; and Camp Bravo in
Big Bear. These people put on the nose and trusted me, when lesser
actors would have just said no.
A resounding shout of thanks to my dear colleagues at UC
Irvine. Their constant encouragement strengthened my resolve to
continue exploring and showcasing the world of clowns.
Deep gratitude to my design collaborators: Vincent Olivieri
and Michael Hooker, sound; Lonnie Alcaraz, lighting; Holly Poe
Durbin, costumes; and John Iacovelli, scenery.
I remain indebted to my Korean brother, Suk-Man Kim; Dave
Barton at Monkey Wrench Collective; Scott McGee, Kevin Crawford,
Katrin Pohl, and Claudia Schnuerer at the Accademia dell�Arte in
Arezzo, Italy; Mihai Miniutiu at the National Theatre in Romania;
and TUIDA company in South Korea.
Finally, a silent bow to my clown troupe, CLOWNZILLA.
Photographs by Eli Simon and Michael Hooker.

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PPMM Preface to the Second Edition
I�m a classic example of all humorists�only funny
when I�m working.
�Peter Sellers
When the ? rst edition of The Art of Clowning was being printed,
I found myself thinking, �Wait a minute�there�s so much more I�m
learning every day about the craft of clowning. I wish I could have
included these insights in the ? rst edition.� Continuing steadily since
publication, I�ve taught clown courses and seminars in California,
Korea, and Italy. Doing so has furthered my understanding of clown
births, persona investigation, development of routines, and the cre-
ation of original performances. Almost everything in the world of
clowning arises from trial and error, and I�ve been fortunate to enjoy
ongoing opportunities to work with novice and professional clowns
and learn from our mistakes. So, as soon as I received my author�s
copy of The Art of Clowning , I began saving material for this second
edition. Interspersed throughout this book, you�ll ? nd new clowning
techniques, photos, observations, and theories that round out much
of what comprised the ? rst version. I�ve also replaced some of the
original exercises with new ones that yield better results and I�ve
added sections that address how clowns come into being, ways to
expand and re? ne your clown persona, and what makes clowns tick.
You�ll ? nd that the deepest, most heartfelt audience responses are
the result of highly structured and well-executed improvisational
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An unexpectedly delightful consequence of the ? rst edition of
The Art of Clowning was that it connected me with clowns and clown
trainers around the world. I�ve heard from an assortment of profes-
sional trainers and ? edgling clowns from far-? ung places. There�s a
brotherhood of clowns out there that de? es borders, religions, and
theatrical ideologies. I�ve learned that clowns inherently understand
and respect one another. Amateur clown performers abound and
are eager to receive advice. I�ve been in touch with a lot of them and
our email conversations often result in my offering advice on various
aspects of clown training and performance. Here�s an e-mail that I
sent to a clown-in-training who was wondering how to rehearse and
create clown shows with his �knucklehead� friends:
If your clown is knocking on the door to your soul, you should
listen to her. �Break out,� as you call it, ? gure out who your core
clown is, and then play, play, play. That said: Keep your day job.
You aren�t likely to make much money clowning unless you are
brave and run away with a famous circus. Think of clowning
as a hobby that will liberate your spirit and help you become a
more creative and expressive person.
You can de? nitely get together with a bunch of like-minded
�knuckleheads� and create clown routines and/or shows. And you
can hit the streets and improvise too. I think it�s more bene? cial to
start with a group than go it solo. A group lends ongoing support
for practicing routines, and you get instant feedback in the form of
laughter and advice.
A singular reward of clowning is that you can ? gure it out as you
go. You�ll know how to build routines by training and paying atten-
tion to audience reactions. The tough thing is to ? nd someone who is
quali? ed to play the role of the Trainer. Having an experienced eye is
helpful; it�s like having surgery with a skilled surgeon. Experienced
surgeons and clown trainers lead you down the right path so that you
get there (wherever there is) without having to deal with unnecessary
complications and hazards.
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If you�re up for it, slip on a clown nose, ? nd some simple clown
clothes, and hit the streets. Try just sitting on a suitcase or stool and
see what happens. People, especially kids, will gravitate toward you.
Even engaging in very simple activities, like eating a peanut butter
sandwich, will tickle their fancy.
Sadly, at least for this author, I�ve also heard from detractors.
One incensed actor insisted that clowns don�t look like the ones on
the cover of my book. According to him there was only one way to
put on makeup and I got it wrong. Others bristled at my assertion
that clowns don�t have to be funny and thought it ludicrous when I
stated that sad, bittersweet, or serious clowns were every bit as via-
ble as their laugh-riot cousins. What I�ve tried to make clearer in
this edition is that there are as many types of clowns in the world as
there are people that wear red noses. Each clown persona is unique.
Each clown has the right to apply makeup as be? ts his or her clown.
There�s only one thing that strati? es the look of clowns and that�s the
red nose. Even as I�m writing this, I know that some clown a? ciona-
dos will take acceptation to my point of view but I maintain: There
are as many approaches to clowning as there are clowns in the world.
Each clown should rehearse, apply makeup, and perform as be? ts
his or her spirit. I�m not trying to limit you by writing this book; I�m
attempting to i lluminate paths that enhance clown birth, investiga-
tion, rehearsal, and performance.
One thing I�ve noticed is that it�s getting easier to train clowns.
My students are more apt at ? nding their personas, truer to their
clown spirits, and increasingly able to risk, fail, and become vulner-
able. In thinking this through, I believe The Art of Clowning has
made a difference in their aptitude for the work. Fledgling clowns
are now reading about the techniques while they are learning them
and this frees them from having to overanalyze what�s happening
while they�re training. As a result, we spend more time doing and less
time thinking about what�s going on. Working this way feels right; it
supports the requisite simplicity of the process. Beyond this, there�s
a culture of clowning now that dwells in the hallways, caf�s, and stu-
dios at University of California at Irvine. People are thinking about
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clowning long before they put on a nose in class. End-of-quarter
vaudeville-style clown shows in? uence future clowns in a positive
way. Inspiration abounds and there are new students who want to
enroll in clown class so they can discover their unique clown perso-
nas. I�ve found a way to trust that each actor will settle into the skin
of their clown in due time. I focus my attention on the unique ener-
gies and talents that each student brings to the studio. As a clown
trainer, my job is to set the table . . . and then see what happens.
In the ? nal chapter of the ? rst book, I mentioned a few of my
early clown shows and how I created them. I�ve created separate
chapters for show creation and show support, because I�ve directed
additional clown shows since then, and the management and design
of these productions has expanded. New plays include, Ready, Set,
Dead, a two-clown piece, which toured to China, Clown Macbeth,
which I created with seven members of TUIDA Company in South
Korea, and a larger-scale production, Illegal Aliens (the second part
of an earlier piece, Clown Planet ), which toured to Italy and was sub-
sequently produced at the Monkey Wrench Collective in Fullerton,
California. These clown plays allowed me to shift my focus from
creating laugh-out-loud productions to ones that addressed serious
issues. With my latest clown creations I explored darker aspects of
life on Earth.
When I began creating clown shows ? ve years ago, I wanted to
see if it was possible to engender sustained laughter with clowns that
told stories. With my latest clown productions, I explored topics such
as war, abandonment, betrayal, power, immigration, and assimila-
tion. I discovered that my clowns were uniquely suited to address
these serious themes. They were able to connect disparate topics
such as life and death, love and hate, power and despotism. New
horizons of expression opened and I proved (to myself and others)
that clown performances could not only be entertaining but pro-
foundly relevant in re? ecting human strife.
My productions are not intended as rigid blueprints for clown
shows that you should create. You have to follow your heart and
whimsy when you�re putting new clown material on its feet. My
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troupe and shows are referenced so that I can openly share with you
how I lead clowns from training to rehearsal to performance.
Whether you are clowning in order to create high art, interact
with folks on the streets, bring cheer to hospitals, run away with
the circus, provide birthday party mirth, or crack up your family
and friends, I applaud your courage, imagination, and playfulness.
Follow your heart�the world needs your clown.