National clown shortage feared

In this photo provided by the Metropolitan Opera shows Roberto Alagna, center, as Canio performing with soprano Nuccia Focile as Nedda in Mascagni's "Pagliacci" during the final dress rehearsal in New York Monday March 16, 2009. (AP Photo/Metropolitan Opera, Marty Sohl)

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.

national clown shortage may be approaching, reports the New York Daily News. “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.”

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  1. Is the clown going the way of the jester?
    Is there an endangered careers list?

  2. Mark Roulo says:

    From the article:
    “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.”
    and: “As a result of the more challenging tryouts, just 11 clowns out of 14 who were selected from 531 applicants to attend a rigorous 14-day boot camp at the Ringling Bros. Clown College last year were offered jobs with the world-famous circus.”
    We seem to have both a shortage and a lot of unemployed clowns at the same time …

  3. Stacy in NJ says:

    Clowns are boring.

  4. PhillipMarlowe says:

    Most of Ringling’s clown are not Americans. A good number come from Croatia and other Eastern European countries.
    They are hard drinkers.
    And their Red Unit “Legends” shows just left Philly and is setting up camp in Brooklyn, opening on Thursday this week.

  5. Deirdre Mundy says:

    Clearly we need to retool education to give kids the 21st century skills they need for this high demand field. CHEM (Clowning, Humor, Entertainment and Mime) jobs are America’s future. We need to recapture the spirit of Jerry Lewis and become a net humor exporter once again!

    I propose annual, high stakes humor exams. Every high school student MUST take classes on seltzer, cream pies, and tiny cars before graduation. America is facing a CHEM crisis, and education reformers need to take note.

  6. Isn’t a clown shortage one of the omens preceding the Apocalypse?

  7. While everybody is treating this as a big joke, this has some serious implications. I was once involved with a children’s clowning program. It’s not easy to do right. It requires talent, training and discipline. In other words, the traits every other article fretting about the future of work points out many young people are lacking.

    • Mark Roulo says:

      I’m amused by this *NOT* because we might run out of clowns, but because I see this claim in a lot of other fields, too.
      OMG, we aren’t creating enough scientists!
      Then I read blog posts where it is very common for scientists to spend 4-6 years getting a PhD, then spend 5-10 years working very low paying post-doc jobs because there aren’t enough tenure track positions and their skills are often not needed by industry.
      Thus, the combination of “not enough of them, we need more” and “the ones we have can’t find decent jobs.”
      Which is kinda what I’m seeing in this article: Membership in the World Clown Association is down, but there are 30x as many applicants as openings at Ringling Brothers.
      Maybe we don’t have enough unemployed clowns working odd jobs while hoping to clown full time?

  8. Of course there’s a shortage of clowns in most of the US. We’ve sent the majority of them to DC…..