Forget the Doctor Shortage: America Facing Critical Nationwide Clown ShortagePosted: February 18, 2014
As the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus returns to Brooklyn Thursday, membership at the country’s largest clown organizations has plunged over the past decade amid declining interest, old age and higher standards for the jokesters…
Natalie Musumeci reports: The tears of a clown may be because no one’s around to take the place of today’s performers. Here, Roberto Alagna (center) performing with Nuccia Focile in ‘Pagliacci’ during a dress rehearsal at the Metropolitan Opera.
Send in the clowns — please!
As the “Greatest Show on Earth” returns to Brooklyn Thursday, circus folk fear a national clown shortage is on the horizon.
“What happens is they go on to high school and college and clowning isn’t cool anymore,” he said. “Clowning is then put on the back burner until their late 40s and early 50s.”
Membership at the country’s largest trade organizations for the jokesters has plunged over the past decade as declining interest, old age and higher standards among employers align against Krusty, Bozo and their crimson-nosed colleagues.
“What’s happening is attrition,” said Clowns of America International President Glen Kohlberger, who added that membership at the Florida-based organization has plummeted since 2006. “The older clowns are passing away.”
He said he wouldn’t release specific numbers, citing the privacy of the members.
Membership at the World Clown Association, the country’s largest trade group for clowns, has dropped from about 3,500 to 2,500 since 2004.
“The challenge is getting younger people involved in clowning,” said Association President Deanna (Dee Dee) Hartmier, who said most of her members are over 40.
Kohlberger said that it’s difficult getting younger people who develop an early interest in the many facets of clowning to stick with it on the professional level…
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