At one point or another, almost every kid decides they want to become a clown.
Clowns are fun people and they are always making children laugh, so it’s only natural that kids decide they want to be a clown.
But what does it take to work in this business? Is it easy or hard?
Well, it turns out that to succeed you primarily need to have a desire to succeed.
As to being easy or hard, it’s mostly a matter of talent.
One of the sites we looked at for this article suggests that you study some of the old time comedians.
The ones who did more than just stand there telling jokes. People like Laurel and Hardy, Abbot and Costello and, for something a bit more modern, Jim Carrey.
All these people used hand gestures and faces to make things funny rather than just using words (We also suggest looking at “The World’s Greatest Comedian” – Lucille Ball, who was a master at using her entire body to create funny situations.
The idea is to learn to do things in a more visual way rather than with words.
That’s how you become a great as opposed to being an ordinary comedian.
How Much Can You Make?
According to SimplyHired.com, the average salary for a clown ranges from around $38,000 per year to $44,000 per year.
Of course, those just starting out will earn less while those who are extremely talented (especially if you have an act which involves talents that not everyone can do) can earn much more.
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Keep in mind that clowns come in all shapes and sizes.
While our classic image of a clown may be Ronald McDonald or Bozo the Clown, these are one type of clown called a “white face” clown. While this is probably the most common, there are two other types of clowns:
Auguste Clowns – These guys are what Lucille Ball would be if she put on a clown suit. They show some skin and typically are more recognizable from their ordinary persona but they also tend to be the type of make a mess of everything, always doing things wrong. In other words, they do slapstick comedy.
Character Clowns – These are the tramp types of clowns (though they can be other kinds). Typically, they go around looking sad and bothered until they get the chance to brighten up a child’s day.
In all cases, when you work as a clown, you’re creating a new persona for yourself.
Your clown self shouldn’t be you in makeup.
It should be a new person who can make everyone laugh from his or her actions rather than words (many clowns don’t even speak and do pantomime instead – look for example at Harpo Marx, who was a classic character clown.
He never spoke but instead would use pantomime and his horn to tell people things.)
As far as work is concerned, there are any number of possibilities for work as a clown.
You could work at children’s birthday parties, in a circus or a carnival, or as a hospital clown.
The key is to be flexible and to go wherever the jobs are.
Qualifications / Requirements to become a clown
There are no formal requirements to get into that career…
All you really need is some makeup and a costume.
However, in practice, you’ll want to spend some time putting together an act to put on as a clown and you may want to attend clown school to learn how certain things are done.
Common acts that you may want to learn include juggling, making balloon animals or pantomime.
First Steps to become a clown
The web sites we looked at for this article all suggest that you start small and work your way up.
Get some decent make up and practice your act. Then you can start looking for work.
Start by offering to volunteer at a local children’s hospital.
Then, start advertising your services for parties and other venues where a clown may be called for.
You can also contact circuses and carnivals to see if they have room for a clown, however keep in mind that these places will likely hire people with more experience.
Check out these helpful resources to find more:
Working as a Clown – While they are trying to sell you something, there is a wealth of information at this web site and you should be able to pick up lots of good information from them.
Chooney the Clown’s Web Site – Besides giving you a good example of a clown’s web site, Chooney also has some great advice here for future clowns.
Clowns International – This is a web site for clowns by clowns. Lots of great information for would-be clowns and how to get work.
Quick facts about clown jobs
Job Title: Circus Clown
Description: Make people and children laugh, attract attention to sell goods
Certifications/Education: No formal education needed, but clown school is very helpful
Necessary Skills: Humor, juggling, making balloon animals, pantomime, play music.
Potential Employers: Circuses, Rodeos
Pay: $38,000 per year average