Interest in clowning plummets, circus pros fear shortage

Dynamite the Clown, (Photo: WFQX FOX33/MGN Online)

Dynamite the Clown, (Photo: WFQX FOX33/MGN Online)

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Professional circus performers and organizers have expressed concerns about an imminent national clown shortage.

Glen Kohlberger, president of Clowns of American International, told the New York Daily News that membership has declined substantially since 2006.

He attributed it to a fading generation of veteran clowns.

“The older clowns are passing away,” said Kohlberger.

And a throng of younger folks haven’t exactly been lining up to join the act.

Deanna “Dee Dee” Hartimer, president of the country’s largest trade organization for clowns, the World Clown Association, said she struggles with getting younger people interested in clowning.

Most of WCA’s members are over 40, said Hartimer.

Even if an individual gets into clowning at a young age, Kohlberger said it’s difficult to keep them interested through high school and college years, and even more challenging to encourage a professional pursuit.

The top tier of clown acts, like Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, have also implemented stricter hiring processes to procure their crowd-pleasing jokester, which adds to the woes of some about a decline in professional clowns.

So, with dwindling interest, older clowns passing away and elevated entertainment standards, the next generation of Bozos, Dynamites and Blinkys may lie in jeopardy.

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