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Mastering simplicity since 1981! Galumphing through life with an understanding wife since 1974! Making people laugh since birth (except for a humorless vice-principal in middle school who didn't think I was very funny at all.)

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Behind The Big Red Nose

This is not a complete collection of all the columns I've written. Even though I started writing columns beginning with Laugh Makers vol. 8 #1, the earliest article in this collection is from Laugh Makers vol. 9 #3. In retrospect, it took me almost a year and a half to find my voice and sense the direction I wanted to take. The earlier ones weren't bad articles but you're not missing anything with them not here.

My first article as Education Director for World Clown Association is missing from this collection. It was a very good article where I challenged the membership to be more open minded about including the whole world of clowning or change the name of the organization to Our Clown Association. It was an audacious statement that got no response either way from anybody. I wonder if anybody even read it.

Another missing column, one I am very proud of, is one called "Adjusting Our Focus" in which I modestly recommended an entire change in the way alleys should conduct themselves. That one got read, and I got an earful both ways, but it is an organizational issue and not a clowning issue. So, out it went!

Then there is the article titled "Clown Competitions" where I trashed competitions saying, among other things, that they are creating "a breed of professional competitors whose competency with greasepaint ceased being an issue and became an obsession." Laugh‑Makers ran that one labeled as "An editorial." Am I leaving it out because I've changed my mind? Nope! In my opinion, make‑up competitions are to clowning what spelling bees are to literature. Some amount of competency is required but let's not get carried away. Anyway, while I still have a strong opinion on the subject, I consider competitions to be essentially a club issue and not a clowning issue so I left it out.

A number of articles were left out by virtue of redundancy in context with other articles. Actually, after reading Clown Creed 2000, I think half the articles I've ever written become redundant.

Finally, while circulating the manuscript for this compilation, I got a very pointed note from one of the clowns I respect most, Barry DeChant. He wrote that while I degrade those with dogmatic ideas, "The thing I noticed as rather ironic, was that many of your ideas came across as dogmatic, and that your way seems to be the only correct way of clowning. This bothered me. "

This really made me step back and think. Was I becoming what I dislike most? I hope not, but Barry made an excellent point.

Believe me when I say that I truly accept your right to do it your way. While I try to make the best case for a certain way of approaching clowning, it is up to you to individually accept or reject these ideas as it pertains to your clowning, and I accept that. I welcome that. Don't forget, there is always another way! Don't blame me for framing a good argument though.

If you have thoughtful differences with my philosophies, I am satisfied that at least my opinion was given careful consideration. Leon McBryde in commenting on Clown Creed 2000 told me he liked it all except one particular section. He also said, "You're right about it, but I just don't like it."

To sum up all I've ever tried to get across in my columns and my lectures,

Be a real clown! Be a funny clown! Make 'em laugh!

 
 
Content Areas
 
Foundation 

The articles in this section are concerned with the basic understandings about clowning upon which all our work on character development and performance rests. It starts out with the culmination of all I have ever really had to say about clowning rolled into one statement, Clown Creed 2000. As you read through the other articles, not only in this section but throughout the book, you will see the seeds of Clown Creed everywhere. You'll come to understand that Clown Creed 2000 had a ten year gestation period.

 

Education

This section starts out with three articles about the predominant educational systems set up for clown education, the problems inherent with these systems and a system we may wish to set up and nurture to really help each individual clown advance and find the true extent of their talent. The other articles cover a range of things to prepare you for clowning.

 

Character Development

No two people are alike, and by extension, no two clowns should be alike. The cookie

cutter clown syndrome is a result of inadequate character development and a

misunderstanding of what clowning really is. People should be encouraged to be different. The articles in this section will help you understand the variety of choices and the vast number of things you need to work on to develop a singularly magnificent character.

 

Creativity

It is essential that you discover and hone your own creativity. It is a way of thinking, a

way of training yourself to view the world, allowing yourself to play around with ideas.

Its a matter of relaxing, observing, experimenting, and making mental connections. It can be a whole lot easier than you think and well within your capabilities.

 

Performance

This is the section where you can pick up all kinds of actual performance bits and ideas.

You will find that I don't always spell out the complete bits or routines. I think it is better to introduce you to a bit or routine, show you the structure and let you fill in the variables so that the bit or routine becomes yours.

 

    Professionalism

  While the articles in this section are under the category of professionalism, they are for all clowns, full time professional, part time professional and those who choose not to charge for money for their clowning for whatever reason. Professionalism is more of an attitude toward what you do than it is the money you charge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

To my wife Kathy who is the perfect companion for a dreamer.

 

To Cathy Gibbons and Laugh‑Makers Magazine who not

only gave me a forum but encouraged serious discussion of

our performance art form..

 

To Gary Shelton who sprung into action when 1 wouldn't.

 

To Doreen Platt, my personal editor, who won't accept second rate from me Ever.

 

To Leon McBryde and Steve Rancatore who gave me a glimpse at what to aim for.

 

To Denise Hall who made me become aware of the importance

and power of the message

 

To Lori, Dawn, Becky, Sally, Ellen, Darl, Alex and all the rest at

N. C. Memorial and Duke Hospitals who led me, taught me and helped

me find the greatest audiences in the world

 

To Dr. Elsa Woods who gave me a safety net so I would jump, knowing I would fly.