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Whimsical Wednesday’s: The Journey to becoming Hugz the clown and beyond part 7; Can you make a living as a clown?

Whimsical Wednesday’s: The Journey to becoming Hugz the clown and beyond part 7; Can you make a living as a clown?

It has been an interesting, journey for me back into time, as I write my memoirs of clowning. I have heard from family and friends that they look forward to the next installment of my journey. I have also gotten requests for certain stories that I have shared through the years. Most recently my sister and my dad mentioned that I had not told the story of where they were when they saw me on the front page os USA Today. I laughed and said that is your story not mine.

I have now graduated from Clown College. I have my bachelors degree in FUN arts and I am jobless. My family being the wonderful people they are asked if I want to go back to college and get another degree( read a degree you might be able to use). I say school will always be there, but if I do not try to make it as a clown now, I will never have the courage again. This worried my dad a bit as he asked “but can you make a living being a clown?” I did not know, but why let something like that stop you.

It was a bit like a very old Saturday Night Live Skit. Gilda was having a conversation with her “parents” about what she wanted to do with her life. She was very nervous to tell them but they were very reassuring of their love, there was nothing she could tell them that would make them love her less and on and on. Finally she blurts out that she wants to be a MIME. Her mother without hesitation says “You ungrateful little bitch, a MIME? You want to be a MIME?” And then it goes off from there, with her parents miming to build a house around her, and throwing money at her. It is still one of the funniest skits I have ever seen and the line “You ungrateful little bitch” still puts me in stitches.

I had a couple of friends from clown college that lived in the Chicago area, where I would now be living (very gratefully) with my parents. They were very helpful and I got an agent, a brochure, a job as a waitress and put both of my best clown feet forward. It is a bit like being an actor or other performing arts in that you must promote yourself, be willing to drive long distances dressed as a clown and listen to people tell you to “quit clowning around” over and over.

I did mall grand openings, parades, company picnics, singing telegrams and a whole lot in between. I tried to do birthday parties but all my humor and tricks were not designed for the 4-6 year old and I found I did not have the patience to deal with them. I learned about running a business, accommodations to ask for and how to handle just about any kind of human to clown interaction you can imagine.

In the early years of Hugz, the learning curve was steep and the income a work in progress. My parents were very kind, supportive and worried. It was a time of trial and error and discovering what I could actually do with this wonderful training I had received. I never gave up and though I moved, got engaged, got un-engaged(another blog, another time) moved a few more times, held many different jobs, got married, had a child, I never stopped clowning in some way or another. Then Scott needed to go back to school to finish his Masters of Divinity and I needed to bring in the money, but still take care of our very active one year old. It had now been eight years since graduation and It was now, out of necessity that Hugz became a financially viable, full-time clown.

Next week part 8: A Birthday Party Clown and the art of versatility.

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