Tuesday, October 5, 2010

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Diary of a Clown/ The Singing Bag Lady

Singing Bag Ladies

Back in the eighties and nineties when Bag Ladies were still kind of at their height in NYC, I would get asked to dress up as one as I was pretending to panhandle to my singing telegram recipient. I would strip down to a leotard or Tuxedo and grab a Top Hat out of one of my many bags and sing my telegram. The song of course, like any other Telegram, depends on the occasion.

The first bag lady telegram I did, I brought my friend Meredith with me. We met up at her Woman’s residence where she was living at the time. While in her Lobby, we came across a Bag Lady hanging out. “Study her mannerisms”, Meredith said “and come upstairs”. I studied the bags and miss- matched clothes attired woman and went upstairs with Meredith to her room. “Let me see what you got” I showed her my bag of raggedy clothes and she handed me a ratty old rain coat she never wore.
We later went to the very up scaled restaurant where the telegram was to be performed. After changing in the ladies room to my mismatched attire, Meredith’s Raincoat, gloves with the finger tips cut off, a crochet Hat covering half my face. A Seventies buttoned down skirt with the buttons buttoned in the wrong holes, a paisley shirt, Meredith’s Rain coat and an array of Woolworth and Duane Reade bags, my contact person pointed my recipient out to me. Some of the Restaurant staff was the only people in the Restaurant who were informed about me. I made my way over to my recipient’s table with a paper coffee cup containing a few coins. While at the table, I made the same speech I often heard bag Ladies make on the Subways saying about not eating for a couple of days, even grabbing a Dinner Roll off of the Recipient’s Plate and eating it and with a full mouth, I stated that I was even willing to sing for my dinner. Ignoring my recipients refusal, I proceeded to take my coat and shirt off, exposing a Black Leotard and Bow Tie. I whipped a Top Hat out of one of my bags and belted out my customized Silly Birthday song. With the exception of the sender, the people at the table and the surrounding tables who were at first all horrified at the sight of me were now roaring with laughter and applause. Later on, Meredith told me that prior to my song, about five people came over to the Maitre D complaining about a Bag Lady. He calmed them all down by telling them it was all being taken care of.
Another Bag Lady Telegram was to be in the opposite type of neighborhood. It was a Birthday surprise for a man who owned a Clothing Store in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan. Since this was an on location surprise, I had to change at his Girlfriend’s (also the sender of the Telegram) Apartment a couple of Blocks away. This meant that I had to walk three Blocks dressed as a Bag Lady! Most people didn’t give me a second look. While passing a Police Car, one of the Officers sprung up starting to take action. I quickly responded by saying “Don’t worry, it’s just a costume”. He shrugged his shoulders and waved me off.

When getting to the store, my recipient wasn’t even there yet, after all that! A few minutes later, he walked in and took one look at me going through his clothes, and instantly said “Ok! Get out!” At that point I quickly started taking my shirt off to expose my leotard and Bow Tie, but he still didn’t figure it out yet, all the while physically dragging me outside saying “That’s it!! You’re out of here! I’m not in the mood!” I had no choice but to break out of character by saying “Wait! It’s a Singing Telegram!” Looking over at his Girlfriend, he realized that he’s been had. I then went back into character and went on with my routine. Later on, he apologized up and down for getting rough with me and explained that he had just come from a funeral of a close friend and was in a terrible mood, and then handed me a nice tip. The abuse we endure to earn a living!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Diary of a Clown/I'm Chicken in the laudromat

I’m just a little Chicken performing at the Laundromat

Back in the mid nineties, I was on my way to do a singing Chicken Gram. My Chicken costume was packed in a Duffle Bag on my shoulder. I passed by a Laundromat in the Chelsea section of Manhattan and noticed a stage set up right next to the window with what looked like someone on it doing stand up comedy amidst a laughing audience of about twenty people. At the same time, other people were still doing their Laundry. I, at the time being an aspiring stand up comic myself, walked in. One of my stand up comic friends, Crazy A, was there getting ready to perform her Human Vacuum Cleaner act….don’t ask! I told her where I was headed. She excitedly told me to come back after my singing telegram, and she’ll introduce me to the MC who also books comedy acts for one of the big comedy clubs here in the city.

After doing my Telegram, I went back to the same Laundromat, and Crazy A introduced me to the MC who bares a very close resemblance to the heavyset woman who is now on “The View”. A of course told her about my Chicken costume, which I quickly showed her along with telling her about my background in Stand up Comedy. She seemed to get a big kick out of it and told me to come back the following week with my Chicken costume.

That whole week prior to my Laundromat Debut, all of my spare time was spent on collecting chicken jokes. Although I was no stranger to doing stand up comedy, this would be a whole different type of routine. I finally came up with enough chicken jokes and came up with a routine that I was excited to try out.

The big night arrived, and I Brought my friend May with me. As planned, on the way to the Laundromat, I had May stand by the dryer that was closest to the stage as I changed into my Chicken Costume and snuck into the Dryer. When the MC announced “The Chicken Lady”, I loudly clucked my way out of the Dryer while making my way onto the stage. To my surprise, the MC never left the stage where she did nothing but take Pot Shots at me! I finally managed to grab the Microphone out of her hands, and not only managed to do some of my Foul jokes, but take a few pot shots at her as well. I used my favorite Heckler comment to a woman which is to stare at her face and say, “They’re doing great things with Electrolysis these days, you really should look into it”! I got a few more good ones in as well. Needless to say, I was never asked back to perform, but generated the most amounts of laughs next to Crazy A that night. Is that what they mean by Clean Humor?...probably not.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Match Making Comic/ Diary of a Clown

Each job and hobby has its own little fringe benefits. On a couple of occasions, I took advantage of my skills of a standup comic and a costume character job, and used them to fix up a couple of single friends, as well as myself.

Let’s start with the stand up comedy. About sixteen years ago, I used to perform at clubs in the city (NY City that is) as a stand up comic. On one such occasion, my friend Meredith, who was single at the time, was in the audience. I looked over at a good looking guy who was in the audience, and said…”Are you single?” “Yes” he said. “Good” I said. “Sit right here” as I led him over to my friend Meredith. They talked for a while, but unfortunately, a date was never made, but a good laugh was had by the audience.

Another time I took advantage of my stand up comedy, was to land someone for myself. While in the middle of my set, at this Bar/Club somewhere in the Lower East side of Manhattan, This good looking Guy started heckling me. I got some good verbal shots in which got some great laughs from the audience, but what got an even bigger laugh was when he asked me out and I accepted. I think plans were even made about our date while I was still on the stage. After my set was over he apologized and asked for my number. The date must not have gone very well, since I barely remember it!

My favorite match making scheme came when I was hired by a big advertising agency to walk around as Miss Piggy wearing wings at a corporate party they were having at a big Night Club. Why Miss Piggy? The story goes that a year prior, when the agency was starting to go under, someone talked of equaling (or maybe doubling. I can’t remember exactly) the net worth of there competitor to which someone replied “When Pigs fly!” Well as luck had it, they got back to where they wanted to be, which is exactly why they decided to hire a Pig with Wings to walk around at their Celebration, along with a bunch of Drag Queen impersonators, for whatever reason. Knowing that the Miss Piggy Costume was not the easiest costume to walk around in, and that the Night Club was going to be dark and crowded, I asked my friend Ava to come with me and guide me around. Ava who was single, agreed to go with me and help me out in return for me pushing any eligible looking Guys her way.
As expected, the Club was dark and crowded. Ava followed and guided me for about half of the time she was there. The other half, we got lost in the shuffle. One fat man kept following me around and punching me in the nose! I guess he thought it was funny. Well, I didn’t, especially since Miss Piggy’s nose didn’t have that much padding in it! After like the third punch, I acted out a motion of kicking him in the privates. He waved his arms in self defeat and that was the last I saw of him all night. My nose was pretty puffy looking as a result, but fortunately not broken. Now, as for Ava, I did manage to push a couple of cute Yuppie looking Guys her way but they all seemed to be attached. Oh well! Later on, all of the Drag Queens treated me like some kind of a celebrity following me into the changing area so they could see who was under the winged Miss Piggy. When they saw me unveil myself, I got responses like…”Oh my, I thought you were a little kid” I guess that doesn’t say a whole lot for my figure! Summing the whole Comic match making experience up…match making can really pay off, but not so much in finding a suitable match, but for using match making as an excuse to get a captive audience. Sorry Meredith and Ava!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Diary of a Clown/ Desperate for a Santa

Desperate for a Santa

While working for “Easter Onion”, a popular singing Telegram Company in the 1980s, there was a big run on Santa Claus deliveries during the Christmas season I was working there. By deliveries, I mean someone to dress up as Santa and either sing to or hand someone a gift, flowers or balloons. A few days before Christmas, all of the Santas who worked for “Eastern Onion”, were booked for company parties or store events. My Crack Head boss, (who I’ll call Van) who couldn’t say no, resorted to sending the woman messengers out as Santas. After using up all of the heavy set woman to play Santa, guess who would be sent out to get the job done?....Yup!...you guessed it….ninety pound Yours Truly!

The first Santa Gram I was sent out on was from someone wanting to promote his demo tape to a couple of different Radio Stations. Even though I had stuffing in my stomach area, the rest of the costume, which was a standard man’s size, swam on me! The people in the offices, took one look at me, and said…”Is this some kind of a joke!?” “Where’s Alan Funt?”

After those last two Santa experiences, I was so traumatized, that the next time I was sent to do a Santa, I down right refused to do it, saying “NO! No more Santas!” “Talk them into turning it into a Mrs. Claus, and I’ll do it.” To my surprise, Crack Head Van had actually agreed with me on this one and sent me out to make an appearance at a Birthday Party for a bunch of five year old kids on the Upper East Side section of Manhattan who were all expecting Santa Clause. When arriving to the party in full Mrs. Claus attire, in a jolly voice I stated “Hubby and the Reindeers got stuck in traffic at the North Pole.” “I’m Mrs. Clause” The party brats responded back with “Your not Mrs. Clause and Santa’s not stuck in traffic neither” Then they all started loudly chanting “We want Santa, We want Santa!” The chant was followed by food throwing! Of course, the mom who was expecting Santa herself, wanted her money back.

The moral of the story, or should I say the lesson to be learned here, is if you’re looking to hire a Santa Clause for a Singing Telegram, delivery, Party or event, insist on seeing a picture of your Santa first.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Diary of a Clown/ The Stage fright girl verses the Boy's Club

The Stage Fright Girl verses the Boys Club

Some time ago, I was asked to do a Clown Magic show for the Boys Club of NY. Aside from being equipped with my usual magic and props for the show, I had my Wireless Microphone and sound system, which is mandatory for large audiences such as this one.

The group that was to go on before me was four eight to ten year old girls who were to perform show tunes. Their coach was a former Broadway co star who I’ve seen in the movie version of the same play. I just can’t remember the name of the show….sorry. She asked me if it was ok if the girls used my mike and I said ok if the girls would be my assistants during my magic show in return, and they were all fine with that. She then wished the girls luck and went to sit in the audience. The youngest looking girl in the bunch seemed to be extremely nervous about singing in front of an all boy audience of 200 and of course the other girls (who seemed to have tons of stage experience) didn’t make it any easier for her by teasing her. I tried calming her down by joking around with her about other things. She was scheduled to go on second, but since she was such a bundle of nerves, the other girls agreed to go on before her. All three seemed to be these overly confident kids who were just about born on a stage; where as this other one was totally new to the whole scene. The 200 boys in the audience weren’t too attentive to the other girls who seemed to pay them no mind all the while singing and doing all of their rehearsed moves and curtsies. When it was her turn, the fourth girl was still a wreck and after I put my Microphone on her, she cried out “I can’t do this!” After she was introduced by the MC, the other girls all pushed her out on the stage and started laughing. I was probably as horrified as she was as I was recalling from my own childhood how mean kids could be when you’re not like them especially if you’re a cry baby. While on stage, she just stood there frozen for about thirty seconds while looking out into the crowd of what was once unruly boys and had suddenly turned quiet either because they were curious as to why she was standing there doing nothing, or because she was so pretty. Whatever the reason, she yelled out in front of all of them “I Can’t do this!” amidst all of the roaring laughter of the 200 boys in front of the stage and her so called friends back stage. At this point, I felt obligated to do something to help this traumatized child since I was the only adult back stage, even though I was dressed as a clown at the time. Trying to calm her down the best I could at the time, I led her over to the curtain which I had cracked open for her to see the crowd. I said “Look out there.” “What do you see?” In a sobbing quivering voice, she answered back, “A bunch of boys all laughing!” “Look again”, I said to which she did I then matter of factly but excitedly said “They’re all wearing their underwear!” “Look! Don’t they look ridiculous” “Especially that one with the striped undies and that one with the hearts…etc.” They even look more ridiculous than you looked a few minutes ago. When I caught a glimpse of a smile, I said “Now get out there and sing your little heart out and most importantly….Have fun!!” After which I honked my clown horn which caused her to chuckle a bit. I hate to say it, but when she walked back out on that stage, I was half expecting the worse, but to my surprise and everyone else’s she made “Judy Garland’s Somewhere over the Rainbow “look amateurish! At the end of her song, the 200 boys not only clapped, but cheered, whistled and some even gave her a standing ovation. I swear I’m not exaggerating! When she went back stage, she gave me a big hug and her co stars were forcing themselves to compliment her, but I could tell by their expressions that they were pissed that they got no where near as much attention as she did. As for me, I did something totally out of character for a Clown….I cried! I mean, here was this 6 year old girl who was totally traumatized a few minutes ago by the same 200 boys who were now in awe of her! The best part about it was that I might have actually had something to do with it!

Shortly afterwards, the next reaction I got from the same girl totally floored me. In another quivering voice she surprised me with “I’m soooo nervous!” Of course I responded back with “What could you possibly be nervous about NOW?!” “I have to be your assistant!” “Oh please!” I blurted back. “That’s a piece of cake compared to what you just conquered!” I’m the one who should be nervous!” I have to follow you!”

The weird part about the whole incident was that I ended up doing better than I would for a crowd that size, especially since I hadn’t been clowning that long at the time. I mean eight to ten year old boys are not exactly the easiest group of people to perform for, let alone get their attention. I should add that I was also fairly new to clowning at the time too.
What had happened here? Had I ended up taking my own advice and had a blast? Or had I concentrated so much on helping someone else that I had just floated past my own nerves?
Whatever the case, I would love to end this story with my little protégée showing up ten years later on “The Grammy Awards” and mentioning “Polkadots the Clown” but I’m sure it’s just a matter of time.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Diary of a Clown/ Stalker Telegrams

Singing Telegrams from Stalkers

Usually, when I get a call to do a singing telegram from someone claiming to be a secret admirer or a friend of the recipient, I ask questions, for fear of being privy to a stalker. Unfortunately, the more convincing stalkers end up slipping past me.

One example of this type of telegram, was a telegram I did from someone claiming to be a friend of the recipient. After changing into my chicken costume, I was told by the mom of the recipient, to wait in the hallway upstairs until she tells me to come down. A few minutes later, the cutest little girl comes over to me and says “Hi! I’m Jessica, why are you dressed as a chicken?” I casually replied back, “Because I’m Crazy”. With that, she casually replied back, “Oh” and kept walking down the stairs.

After I was given the heads up, I went downstairs and sang to my very pissed off looking and pouting recipient. Afterwards, I questioned her mom on her actions. She apologetically replied….”Oh it wasn’t you, the boy who sent you, has been bombarding her with phone calls flowers and letters. I apologized up and down to the mother and daughter, saying I had no idea he wasn’t her boyfriend. They accepted.

Another stalking incident came when I was to deliver a singing heart gram to a woman Psychiatrist in her up scaled east Eighty Third Street apt. In order to insure that the recipient would open her door for me, my boss suggested that I call first saying that a surprise delivery is in the works. I did so, and got her voice mail the first couple of times calling. When leaving my messages, I stated that a surprise delivery was arriving at 3:00 pm. The woman finally called me back and I told her the name of a bogus delivery company. She of course questioned me up the wazoo, but I didn’t cave in. When I arrived at my recipient’s building, I just started mentioning to the doorman who I was there to see, when I became blinded by this glaring flash light being shined right in my eyes by this cute red headed chubby freckled faced 5 year old boy. “Who are you”! He shouted, and “Who are your People?” I replied by asking him the same question back and he came back with “My name is Alex and why do you keep calling my mom?” I told him I was there to sing to his mom by a friend of theirs but I need to change into a costume first. “Follow me”. He then led me upstairs to his floor and pointed to a dark spot under the Stair Case and shined his flash light on me while I changed into my heart costume. I followed him to his apartment and rang his bell. His mom answered the door and I followed the freckled faced cutie into the apartment and proceeded to sing my funny love song to his mom. Both mother and son seemed to get a big kick out of the whole thing. Afterwards, she let me go into her bathroom to change. When I came out she told me about my sender. He was someone she had dated a couple of times and was calling her around the clock. Again I apologized and said it wasn’t my fault. We then started chatting about everything under the sun such as dating, her job as a Therapist, and her son’s short lived acting and modeling career. Although her chubby Red Headed son was quite successful at both, (he even landed a nationwide Ad for “Toys R Us”. She just wasn’t able to give up her time and money to take him on acting jobs, modeling shoots, and auditions. I was probably there for a good 45 minutes yapping with the 2 of them.

I’m probably going to be ruining business for myself when I say what a waste of a stalker’s money because by the reaction of these 2 customers and other like them, these recipients were not interested.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Diary of a Clown/ Clown Alleys

Clown Alleys/Diary of a clown

Question; where do Clowns go when they’re not in the Circus or at a child’s party or event? Answer; When they’re not out having a regular life, they go to a Clown Alley meeting.

Just about every state has a Clown Alley, not just for existing clowns, but for wanna be Clowns as well. It’s also a great networking opportunity for established clowns for future work. Clown alley meeting’s can include classes on Clown related topics such as Face Painting, Magic, and Balloon Twisting. It’s also a good opportunity for vendors to sell there stuff or a great opportunity to put Clowns in a good light by fundraising for the community.

A few years ago, I was asked to help organize a NY Clown Alley by one of my fellow Clowns. Cidoo the Clown (aka Cyrus) when in regular attire) owns a Shoe store in Queens NY and is also in Charge of patient relations at the same Hospital in Queens NY.

I had contacted just about every clown I knew and got names from them as well as names from the names. It wasn’t long before the NY City Clown Alley was born. Up until that point, NY City didn’t have a Clown Alley. There was one a few years prior, but it ended on a sour note due to the Treasurer not accounting for the dues Money.

Our first Clown alley meeting, took place in the auditorium of the Hospital where Cido worked. Among about 25 people that showed up that evening were Cido, Carri (aka Wiggles the Clown) and her then hyper active 6 year old, Micky aka Winky the Clown who was constantly telling X rated jokes, and Chara aka Chara the Clown; a middle aged intelligent but flighty woman who was the vice president of the last NYC Clown Alley, and of course yours truly aka Polkadots the Clown.

After a bunch of hyper active Clown talk and trying to out talk each other especially the child, we decided to take a vote of officers for the Alley. We all without any hesitation, decided to elect Cido for our President, since all this wouldn’t be possible without him. I made the mistake of electing Chara as Vice President, since she seemed so learned about Clown Alleys and was the VP of the last Clown Alley. I was voted in by Cido as the Secretary, Funny Bones (real name Bob) I think voted in as Treasurer.

The excitement of being voted in as secretary seemed to have worn off after a few meetings. It was a combination of feeling obligated to show up to every meeting in Queens, which was an hour commute from home and being bossed around by Chara the VP) and another clown I’ll call Porky. Chara insisted on looking over the minutes of the last meeting (that I wrote) and always ended up completely changing everything around in order to put herself in a good light. Porky, (can’t remember her real name) had this annoying voice that sounded like a Siren going off. She wanted me to fax her the minutes (I didn’t have a Computer at the time) so she could type everything out in Spanish. I sent it out a few times until she finally received it.There was also talk of her wanting my job as Secretary. Needless to say, I ended up resigning after a few months. The role of Secretary was Thank goodness given to someone else. Some time later, we ended up impeaching Chara, since she was nothing but a Control Freak the whole time she was in Office, never letting anyone do there job and talking over everyone who went behind the podium. I found out later on, that the last Clown Alley had to get an order of protection against her after they voted her out. From what I heard, she wasn’t any better as a Clown. One of the clowns, told me in private, that the one job he sent her out on, the customer called after like 3 hours of her being there, saying they couldn’t get the Clown to leave! Boy….did I make a bad choice or what?!
Funny Bones ended up replacing Chara as VP and another clown named Payoso (Spanish for Clown) something, replaced Funny Bones as Treasurer. A year or so later, his family- home and 2 dogs tragically met there fate in a house fire when he and his wife and kids were out to dinner. We all took up a collection for him and raised a nice sum of money for him to help out with some of his expenses.

Over the years, new members came along and we were written up in Various trade magazines for Clowns. A couple of our Clowns (Cido, the President, for one) took first place in a few contests at “Clown Fest”, a yearly Clown Festival in Seaside heights, NJ where clowns from all over the world participate in various contests and classes. The last year I was with the Alley, we raised a nice sum of money for Hurricane Katrina Victims, by putting on a clown show at the hospital raising a nice sum of money to give to one of the Hospitals in Louisiana. We also would on occasion show up to meetings in our Clown attire and do cheer up visits to the Pediatric Ward, to pay back the Hospital for letting us have the Auditorium for our meetings. During one such visit, a 20 something year old volunteer who had Downs Syndrome, saw us at the Hospital and got so inspired by us and ended up joining the Alley herself. She seemed so determined to be a Clown, that we all kind of chipped in and helped her out with Costumes, Face Paints, Magic…etc. She later on started clowning for the Hospital Geriatric Ward and now is clowning at Birthday Parties.

In the few years I attended the Alley, I learned a few new skills during some of the classes that were taught by Guest speakers, or members themselves. I was asked to teach balloon twisting at one of the meetings.

The greatest benefit I got from the Clown Alley wasn’t even from one of the meetings, but from the result of a mass mailing (via e mail) I got from one of the members. A DVD production Company was looking for a Host or Hostess of a Children’s Party DVD. They were looking for a High energy Clown to Host the DVD, which I and a bunch of other Clowns auditioned for. The DVD Is called “Playtime with Polkadots” and is available on Line at Borders Books and Barns and Nobles. Have you figured out which Clown ended up getting the part? I was pretty flattered since the Alley is the home to a lot of great talent.

Another advantage to having the Clown Alley around was having a list of names you could call on in times of need. For instance, during the last Subway strike, an exchange in jobs was made with the Manhattan Clowns and Clowns in other Boroughs’ who couldn’t get to there jobs because of the strike.
With all of that said, I think you might have figured out what goes on behind the laughter.

Note: Some of the names in this story have been changed to protect the Author.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Diary of a Clown/Last Clown sitting

Spent the day at Coni Island. When going to see the "Ringling Brother's| Side Show. The only person sitting behind me walked out during the Snake Charmer Act. A few minutes later, the Group of 5 sitting in front of me left when the male dancer on stage took off his jacket followed by 2 fake arms exposing 2 hands attached to his shoulders, leaving me as the only audience member! After the show the Freaks all came over to me and thanked me and I thanked them for a great show! Yes...I gave them my business card!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Diary of a Clown/ Clowning for the Deaf

Clowning for the Deaf

Once in a while, I agree to clown at charity events, provided they take place during the week, since most of my clown jobs are on the weekend. If on the weekend, I’ll charge charitable organizations a semi charity rate, half the price of a regular event.

When a woman called me from an organization for the deaf, I agreed to do it at a semi charity rate. She didn’t seem to have a problem with the price.
The event took place at night, at a big community room in the Bronx Section of NY. There were about fifty kids present and maybe 75 adults. A good portion of the kids there, were either deaf, or had Deaf parents.
Although I never clowned for the Deaf up until that point, I took every bit of knowledge I learned from a couple of Mime Classes and managed to pull off the comedy part pretty good. The other part (the face painting and balloons), were not so easy. The kids would get frustrated trying to not only communicate with me, but with their parents who were trying to explain how they wanted their faces painted and what kind of balloon animal they wanted. By the sounds of the room, you would never know anyone was deaf.

Between the combination of the amount of kids, and the extra time it took to work with most of the kids, I ended up finishing up about an hour past my agreed time and worked my Butt off the entire time.
When going to (or trying to) collect my money, it probably took about twenty minutes to track down the woman who hired me. When I finally found her through all of the kayos, she had that look on her face like a kid with their hand in the Candy Jar and said…”I’ll be right with you” and then took off. I spent another fifteen minutes after that trying to track her down amidst all of the kids wanting more Balloons from me. This time, she had one of those “Oh! She got me again!” looks and said “Uh, I haven’t forgotten about you” “I’ll get you right after I make my speech”. Now, you would think that someone who runs an Organization called Families of the Hearing Impaired” (or something like that), would be making a speech talking about the History of the Hearing Impaired or what good the Organization has done for the Deaf and their families but this woman’s speech had nothing to do with any of that! Her speech, which was being interpreted by a Woman standing behind her doing sign language, went to the tune of….”Now if some of us here are not working together as a team”….”I myself am not a Back Stabber, but will be if I am crossed by any of you!” It sounded more like a speech that a principle at a reform school would make! After about fifteen minutes of this, she finally concluded her speech. At that point, I hurried my way up towards the front of the Stage. As soon as I saw her looking my way, she did a complete U turn and started going on some more with her threats and accusations. People then started asking her questions and giving feed back. It was then I finally started to make my move, since it was going on Midnight. I raised my hand when no one else had theirs raised. Of course she tried to act like she didn’t notice me and kept talking. I really got pissed, placing myself directly on the stage next to her (still in Clown attire) and loudly said “I have a question”. She had no choice but to say “Yes?” With over a hundred people watching, and an interpreter signing everything I was saying, I said “Am I going to be getting paid?” “I’ve been trying to track you down for over an hour now!” In a defeated and an embarassed tone, she said “Yes! Come on.” Everyone just about started laughing! I mean, who looked like the bad one now?! This is someone that just got over accusing a bunch of people in the room of being crooked, and now she is exposed in front of the accused of being crooked herself, and by a Clown!
Oh yes….I did get paid! She probably thought I would give up after a certain point and would never have the nerve to ask her for money in front of all of those people, but I am one Clown that you just don’t cross! Don’t worry…..I won’t make a Forty Five minute speech about it.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Devil in Me

Whenever I get asked to deliver a Singing Telegram, I always ask for a contact Person. In other Words, the Person assigned to set me up with a place to change and leave my stuff while I perform, as well as lead me to the Recipient. The only time I don’t always have a Contact Person, is at someone’s Home. In that case, I usually leave my stuff with the Doorman and put my costume on in the Hallway over my Clothes.

I was called by one of the Telegram Companies to dress up as a Devil Woman and recite a Poem written by the Supposed friend of one of the Head Police Detectives at what happens to be my Local Police Precinct. After hearing there wasn’t going to be a Contact Person provided, I down right refused to do it. I mean, come on….barging into a Police Precinct, dressed as a Devil and recite sadistic Poetry!
The Devil request was shortly sent to me and my entire Colleagues’ by almost every Singing Telegram Company in Manhattan and were all refused by the lot of us.

That same day I was dropping off a Costume to one of the Telegram Companies, when who should happen to call? Yup, you got it….The Devil Woman request. I overheard my Boss on the Phone telling or trying to tell this Woman that all of the Messengers refuse to do it without a Contact Person. She then glanced over at me and seeing what was coming, I shook my Head NO. Before I knew it, she was saying to the Devil woman, “I have one of my Performers right here, maybe you could try to work something out with her”. I gave my Boss this “How could you look” and hesitantly took the Phone from her. To make a long Story short, I ended up saying no at first, until she tripled her price and agreed to find a contact person.
When I went to the Agency the next Day to get my costume and my Directions for the “Devil Gram” I took one look at the Poem I was to read, and said….”OH MY G-D…WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO?!” I never kept a Copy of it, but there was terminology in it like, “You and I will Travel through the Flames of Hell!” There were like 5 Pages of these Evil sounding Antics.

Like one of the Other Telegrams I did in a Police Station, the Officers thought it would be funny if I waited in a Holding Cell, only this one smelled like Pee! Luckily, I was rescued by one of the Woman Police officers’ who said “Get that Child out of there!"
The Precinct looked like something out of that seventies TV Show “Barney Miller”. Aside from the Holding Cell incidence, the Officers’ treated me like a Star, asking me Questions about what I do and flirting and joking around. I guess I shined a light on there serious Lives.

The Moment finally came for me to do my Devil Gram for a Room full of NY Cops and Detectives, when in walks my Recipient. In an “Elvira” type Voice, I read all 5 Pages incorporating my own Comedy between the Lines, saying Things (in my own Voice) like….”I didn’t write this” and “Ooh, that sounds HOT!” The stunned Recipient was surrounded by a Room filled with Laughter. That was one of the Greatest Audiences I ever had! At the very end of the Telegram, or whatever it was, I said WHO it was from, and got this response from the Recipient….”WHO?!” After I repeated the Name of the sender, one of the Officers intervened and said…”It’s probably from that Nut Job who’s always calling here”. In other Words, the Sender was a Stalker! Not only that, but a Stalker to a Police Detective!

Later that Night, I agreed to meet up with the Sender/Stalker at the Club where my Guitar Playing Boyfriend was performing that Night and give her a Copy of the Tape of my Performance. Before she arrived, I briefed a couple of my Friends on the whole ordeal. After Devil woman left, my 2 friends said practically in unison, “She looks more like a Devil Woman than you”. I definitely agreed, she was all dressed in Black and Red and had on what looked like Voodoo Jewelry. As evil looking as she might have appeared, she ended up paying me like 4 times more than what I usually get paid for a Singing Telegram. I just hope this doesn’t mean the same as selling your soul to the Devil!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Diary of a Clown/ It's the Clown's turn to be scared

It’s the Clown’s Turn to be Scared

Once and a while the tables get turned and it’s not the people who are scared of Clowns: but the Clowns who are scared of the people. I’ll give you a few examples….

Let’s start with the time I was doing a party somewhere in the Bronx (NY), for a little boy by the name of Gerard. At the end of the party, a little boy looked at me and matter of factly said…”You know Clown, Gerard’s Father Cut off a man’s foot once”. Gerard’s Father, who was close by, didn’t deny it. To make matter’s worse: guess who was driving me back to the Train Station?! Don’t worry! I still have all of my Limbs!

A couple of years ago, I was just finishing up clowning at a Street fair in the Jackson Heights section of NY, when a bunch of Clowns suddenly run past me screaming. I didn’t think too much of it, since I figured…”Hey, they’re Clowns!” I figured they were just excited that they were happy about finishing work after 5 hours. All of a sudden, one of them turned to me and shouted “Quick! Polkadots get in the Building!” “There’s a Shootout!” Trust me, they were not clowning around! I heard the Bangs!

As scary or scarier than being in the middle of a crime scene, or hearing of a crime, is catching someone committing a crime and having them see you at the same time! An example of this one would be the time I walked into a Bedroom to change out of my Mermaid Costume after a Mermaid Themed Girl’s Birthday Party. The first vision I see when I walk through the door, is a Man standing in front of me injecting himself with what looked like a clear Liquid. As he started explaining himself to me, I responded with an acting job that could have won me an Academy Award if the scene were in a Movie. With a cool kind of sound to my voice, I said…”Don’t worry, there’s almost nothing I haven’t seen”. He then offered me to join him and I responded with I’ll pass” and excused myself and got changed in the Bathroom.

Another thing I worry about from time to time is being set up. For instance: when I’m in the middle of doing a Clown Show and some Adult places an Alcoholic Beverage on my Magic Table, I’ll either ask them or whatever other Adult is around to remove the Drink. Other-wise, it’s real easy for someone to call up my Boss and worse yet they probably could prove it by taking a picture of the Drink on my Table. Call me Paranoid, but if someone hands me a drink at a Kid’s Party, I always take a sniff of it first. What caused me to be this way was when doing an outside Clown Party in a park on a 95 degree day in July, a lady handed me a tall Ice filled Glass and said “Hey Clown, are ya thirsty?” Nodding my head yes, I took the Glass from her and quickly gulped down what turned out to be “Baily’s” (my favorite drink). It was so cold and delicious, that I
gulped down the entire Glass! “That Clown is drunk”, one of the Fathers said. Luckily no one called up my boss. The next time someone handed me a drink, I was doing a Clown Party for store Front Gypsies once when someone handed me what looked like water, but what smelled like 100 percent Alcohol.

Here’s another example of a possible Set up. I was to do a singing Telegram at a Supermarket where I was placed in this tiny cage like office to change into my Costume. Sitting on top of the Desk in this Office was a Cash Register Tray filled with Money! My Alarms inside me immediately went off, requesting that they give me another place to change, or remove the Money. They removed the Money.

A Clown’s biggest fear (and I think I can speak for most Clowns on this one) is of Teenagers! In the past, while in my Clown Costume have I not only gotten cursed out by Teenagers, but have gotten my wig whipped right off of my Head, inflated Balloons I was holding viciously popped, goosed, and worst of all had things thrown at me! Luckily, this type of thing doesn’t happen that often especially since I immediately head for the Hills at the first sign of a group of Teenagers!

So for those of you fear of Clowns People out there, it might be you who the Clown fears!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Diary of a Clown/ Beauty and the Beast

One of the great memories I have of the World Trade Center, is when I was asked to do a singing telegram on the 100th floor of the World Trade Center. I was to be part of an act the Agency booked as “Beauty and the Beast”. Normally, the Beast is usually a Guy dressed as a Gorilla and the Beauty is a good looking woman in a Bikini. In this case the sender thought it would be a hoot if the woman would be dressed as the Beast and later start taking off her Gorilla costume and get interrupted by a male Stripper in a G String.

When I got to the office in the World Trade center, I waited for about twenty minutes for my male counterpart to get there. When he finally did, in his flaming Queen voice, said “OH MY G-D!! I’m sooooo late!” “Quick Susan, take this Lipstick and write Kiss me I’m Greek on my chest!” With that he opened up his shirt exposing his bare shaven chest. As I started writing, the receptionist in this posh office stopped us by saying “I’m sorry, you can’t be doing that type of thing out here!” We have Clients coming in soon. She then led us into this big Conference room with curtainless big picture windows. The Queen completely freaked out when he looked at the 100th Floor view, and started hyper ventilating: “Oh no!" I’m completely horrified of Heights!” With that said, I walked him back over to the snooty receptionist who wanted nothing to do with us in the first place. “Uh excuse us”, I said “We need a new place to change. He has this horrific fear of heights”. At that point, we were stopped by one of the senders of the Telegram, saying they needed us to start immediately because the recipient is getting ready to leave. They couldn’t have the Queen change in the Men’s room, for fear of the recipient walking in, so they had me start my thing while they figure out where the Queen is getting changed. As I started to go on, I turned to the Queen and said “Don’t be long! Remember, you’re supposed to interrupt me from stripping!” He fluttered his hands saying “Susan, don’t you worry your pretty little head….Remember…I am a perfectionist!”

While in my Gorilla costume, I monkied my way over to my macho looking recipient and sang my songs. Afterwards, I took off my Gorilla costume revealing my tuxedo costume underneath it and said in a sexy voice, “Oh, I almost forgot….” And then started undoing my Bow Tie and unbuttoning my shirt. It was at that point that I was suppose to get interrupted by the Queen and started getting really panicky when nothing happened except for everyone whistling and my Macho looking recipient started to get a little too close for comfort! I must have repeated myself at least 4 times while shouting out at the top of my lungs…” As I was saying…”I almost forgot!” At last, in comes the Queen huffing and puffing starts doing his thing and starts embarrassing the heck out of the Macho Man (and I’m not talking The Village people here) to the
point where like five men had to hold him back from running out of the room.

On the Train ride back with the Queen, I had to hear about how long it took for him to find a place to change that had curtains along with his history of his fear of heights. This profession is not all fun and games and can be stressful in a different way than the stress of a Secretary or Executive.

Diary of a Clown/ The Sadisticle Birthday Dad

The Sadistical Customer

A good portion of overkill Birthday Parties I do, are for people from other Countries. In a lot of cultures, the first Birthday, is the most important day of a Child’s Life. As a result, the Birthday Party is celebrated like a Wedding with Catered Food, formal Gowns and the Whole bit.

In the days when I used to Clown at the entire 3 Boroughs’ of NY, I travelled to the Bay ridge section of Brooklyn which is a good Hour and a half from where I live. I got to my destination about 20 minutes before I was scheduled to start, just so I could have some extra time to set up. When I arrived in my Clown outfit, I was very rudely greeted by the 300 something pound Father of the Birthday Girl, from G-d only knows from what Country. “What this is?!” he says as he looks me up and down. By his expression, I’m guessing that he never saw a woman Clown before. Although I don’t overdo it with my makeup since I’m an Augusta Clown and I don’t like to scare the kids with a White face. I’m in full Clown attire from my Red Shirley Temple Wig; my Polka dotted socks, Dress, and over sized Polka dotted Shoes. He led me through his House turned Catering Hall with fancy schmancy tables and table cloths, Crystal Chandelairs, Evening Gown and Tuxedo attired Guests (even though the Party was in the middle of the day) As I walked outside into the back Yard, I was greeted by about 25 kids between the ages of 5 and 9 (with the exception of the 1 year old Birthday Girl). They were also very much into my jokes as I was setting up, and at the same time, very polite. After about no more than like 5 minutes of setting up, the same obnoxious fat man comes back out…”Why you not start show?!” He then started kicking me in the Butt saying “Start Show!” Trying to gain my composure, I tried in as Clowny a way as possible to assure him that I just needed a couple of more minutes to set up. At this point, the once cute and polite kids, started imitating Brutus (or so he should be called) by kicking me too! I of course couldn’t kick the kids, but when Brutus came back a minute or so later and started kicking me again, I was so fumed, that with all of my 100 pound strength and my 5 pound Clown Shoes, gave him a full forced kick in his fat sadistic Butt. As big as he was, I’m sure he must have felt it! They say rage adds strength! Not only that, but the laughter was now focused on him. His face was so red with rage, that I thought “UH OH!” “This is it, he’s going to kill me!” Instead, he went back into the house and had the DJ turn the music up full blast, making it impossible for me to have control over the kids, let alone do my show. I struggled my way through everything, when I started to walk out as Elmo, the mother came out and interrupted me saying that they won’t be needing me anymore. I quickly gathered up my stuff, got paid by the Mom and got the heck out of there!

When outside, I counted up my money and noticed that they short changed me by about 50.00. I called up my boss and told him the whole story and he was more concerned about me than the money. “Are you alright?” “Don’t even go back there!” “I’ll take care of the Money”. He carried out his promise and called them the next day. As expected, they tried disputing it. I can’t remember if they ended up paying me the difference, but the company still paid me the entire amount, which wasn’t that much to start with.

Thank goodness I had a Vacation 2 days after that incident! I was really dreading going to my next job when I came back, but that party turned out to be the exact opposite…..nice parents, nice kids, a lot of clean laughs and a nice tip!

Fortunately, I’ve found that over the years, the good Parties out weigh the bad ones. Now that I’ve been clowning for so many years, and got my stuff down to a science, I’ve found that I have more of a knack for over powering Brats and A Hole Parents. I wouldn’t be in business for as long as I have if I had to deal with too many bad Apples or if I couldn’t turn the few bad ones around.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Diary of a Clown/ Piece of Cake

Piece of Cake

In my early days of delivering singing Telegrams for “Western Onion”, a popular Singing Telegram Company in the 1980’s, I was asked to deliver Singing Telegrams in a number of various different costumes and Characters. My least favorite Telegram to deliver was “The Cake Telegram”. No….I didn’t pop up out of a Cake, I was a Cake! Number one: picture having your Dinette Table Pinafored over your shoulders. Number two: it wasn’t exactly the lightest costume to carry around with me in the City, especially if I had other costumes, props and helium balloons on me. It also wasn’t the easiest thing to fit through a Door!

One of my most memorable Cake Grams was to some middle aged man who was some Big Shot at a Bank. The Telegram took place at this High rise Apartment in the Upper East Side of Manhattan with about 50 of the Recipient’s up scaled Friends and Co Workers.
I was led into the Bedroom to get changed, first into my Leotard, and then the 20 pound Cake Costume was placed over and around the shoulders of my 90 pound body. I then needed a couple of people to help me get this Monstrosity through the door! I finally make it through the door and past the crowd of conservative looking Yuppies. Conservative…my Butt!! When I finished singing my song and started to walk away, I was interrupted by a rhythmic type of clapping. They (Men and Woman) then all started very loudly singing the melody of the Stripper Song. At first I stood there frozen until they broke out into a chorus of: “Strip! Strip! Strip!” At that point, I completely took over and managed to gain complete power of the room by doing all of these Cake Jokes. For Instance “Why You Lil Ol Devil Cake, You”, “You know you can’t have your Cake and eat it to!” “Oh that’s so SWEET of you!”….to name a few. I managed to have a cleaver comeback for every Wise Crack and probing for me to strip, plus I managed to as graciously as possible, make it back to my changing room, get paid and get the heck out of there!

While I was headed back to the Path Train to Jersey, where I was living at the time, I heard a voice behind me say “Hey, you really handled yourself like a Pro back there!” I turned around to the presence of a gorgeous Blond Haired Blue eyed man in his mid thirties wearing a suit. I looked around to see if he was talking to someone else, but no one else was around. Responding to my confused look, he responded….”You were the Cake back there, weren’t you?” I replied with a stunned “Yes”. He introduced himself as John, one of the Guests at the party. He again repeated himself “I really like the way you handled yourself back there”. “We were not exactly an easy crowd”!

He then went on about how most of the people at the Party have high pressured Executive jobs at the bank, (himself included) and they don’t exactly know how to handle themselves when they’re let out of there cages, so to speak. As we were talking, I was praying to myself that he would want to continue this conversation over dinner sometime. I was new to the city and he wasn’t exactly typical of the Grease Monkies I would meet in South Jersey. I guess G-d was working overtime that night, because my Prayers came true!

As I floated back to Jersey City that night, I started planning my future with John, in my mind that is. He was the one, I thought. He was Gorgeous, rich, and had a great sense of humor.

The following weekend, we met up in Manhattan and he took me to this very up scaled restaurant and later to a Desert Place. I was really comfortable with him and felt we had some kind of Chemistry together.
As we were walking around the City together, we passed a Jewish community Center. I think it might have been “Brinai Brith Woman’s Association”. “Why are those Woman lighting candles, it’s not Sunday. I being Jewish, explained that is was the Jewish Sabbath and we were also in the middle of the High Holy Days as well. At that point, it was like someone just pulled the wool out from over his Eyes and his sophisticated worldly demeanor turned out to be no different from some of the (not all) narrow minded prejudgeous people I was trying to get away from when I left South Jersey. “How do you know so much about that?” “I’m Jewish”, I replied. You’re what?” I might as well have told him I was escaped from Prison! Needless to say, our Dream Date had turned into a Nightmare! He had flagged down a Cab since we were both headed to the same part of town. He was really quiet inside the Cab, and when it came time to pay, guess who ended up footing the bill? I offered to pay anyway, but I didn’t expect him to respond with…”Sure, you can afford it!”
It took me a long time to get over that one. I tried dating only Jewish Guys after that and none of those relationships seemed to work out either, for various reasons. You can imagine how long it took me to tell my southern Baptist Boyfriend from North Carolina, that I was Jewish, a few years later. When I finally did, he responded with….”I thought all of you Easterners were either Jewish or I talian”. That was the last time I had to lie about my background. We’ve been together for almost 16 years now.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Diary of a Clown: Diary of a Clown/ The Pink Gorilla verses the law

Diary of a Clown: Diary of a Clown/ The Pink Gorilla verses the law

Diary of a Clown/ The Pink Gorilla verses the law

In my Singing Telegram Career, sometimes I get asked to serenade New York’s finest…Cops that is. On one such occasion, my location was at a police precinct in Queens NY somewhere. I was met by a Police Officer at the Subway Station who drove me to the Precinct. When arriving, the Officer introduced me to some of the Officers who were in on the surprise. They explained that the Recipient just went out on call and will be arriving back soon. One of the Officers intervened saying “Here, wait in his Office; He then led me to what looked like a small room with a chair, sink and a toilet. Yup! You guessed it! The holding Cell! A good laugh was had by all except me!

After waiting around awhile, they hurriedly told me to get into my Pink Gorilla Costume, since the recipient was on his way. After getting into my costume, they led me into the main part of the Station after pointing out my recipient who was on the other side of the room. This meant I had to walk past a huge line of derelicts waiting to see Police officers about G-d knows what violations. I was told to sneak up on the Officer and to surprise him. When an armed Police officer tells you to do something, you do it! I made the stupid mistake of approaching the armed Recipient from behind and placing my furry black paw on his shoulder. His immediate reaction was to reach for his gun! Thank G-d everyone yelled out “Happy Birthday”!

Later on, back in the Police lounge, the Officers and I watched the whole incident back on the VCR. The thing that seemed to generate the most laughs was when I was walking past the line of Derelicts in my Pink Gorilla costume. Judging by there reaction, I could have been anyone walking by them, since they had no reaction to the Pink Gorilla. One of the Officers probably hit it on target when he said “They was probably thinking of how they was gonna lie to us to get out of there Shit!”
The Recipient later told me that I was so close to getting shot! I guess it just comes from training that when you feel threatened; you immediately go into attack mode even if it’s a 95 pound Pink Gorilla!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Diary of a Clown/ Here's My Card

Here’s My Card

A good number of my Clown jobs come as a result of people seeing me on the Streets, Busses or Trains while I’m in my Clown Outfit. When I tell a lot of my friends and relatives that I walk around like this, they look at me like I should have my head examined. Aside from self advertising reasons, changing in my own place has its advantages. Number one, I’d rather tie up my own bathroom for 45 minutes than tie up someone else’s tiny bathroom for that long while twenty people are knocking on the door waiting to use the bathroom while I’m in that tiny space struggling with all of my bulky stuff. Number Two, When I’m WEARING my bulky Costume, I’m not CARRYING it! I have enough stuff to put in my Suitcase as it is.

Whether or not I’m dressed as a Clown, I never leave home without a stack of business cards. Here are a couple of examples of how jobs came upon me as a result of handing out my business cards.

When people call me up to request me for a party or event, I always ask them how they heard about me. On one such occasion, a young guy calling to book me to entertain at his Band’s Debut, claims that he was given my card by a Bartender who saw it being left on his Bar by a very inebriated Englishman on “Reefer Madness Day”. Not only did I get a booking as a result of that Pot Head, but at the Debut I ended up giving another card to the Magician at the event who hired me for a number of events over the years.

While waiting for a bus, an Event Planner spotted me in my Clown Outfit and asked me for my Business Card and paid me twice as much as I normally pay myself for entertaining five kids for like three hours at a Birthday Party where “Oliver Stone’s” Mom was one of the guests.

About 11 years ago, I was just finished putting my Clown makeup on for an event when my doorbell rang. It was my Landlord asking me for my rent check. I replied….”Oh, Susan’s out of the Country", I’m her Room Mate” I then broke out of character, wrote him out a check and told him what I do for a living. A couple of months later, he called me up to book me for his Twin’s Birthday Party.

Throughout the years, I’ve not only booked jobs as a result of handing out Business Cards to people seeing me in my Clown Outfit on the way to or from jobs but a lot of these people turned out to be repeat customers as well as there guests at the party.
In conclusion, I don’t need to walk around wearing a big Sandwich Board to advertise my business, since I’m a WALKING Advertisement! See you around!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Diary of a Clown/Have these Clown Things ever happened to you

Diary of a Clown/Have these Clown Things ever happened to you

This list goes out to my Clown Colleges, but I think you Civilians will get a kick out of it as well. Enjoy!

1) Your bending down to clean up after your Clown Show, when a two year old innocently pulls off your Wig!

2) Your coming back from entertaining at a charity event and in full Clown Regalia. You’re feeling so good about yourself and how happy you made the less fortunate feel, but by the looks of some of the people on the train and the Streets, you might as well as committed a bank heist!

3) A dog attacks you while in your Clown outfit.

4) Your working your tail off at a big public event with a line of over 200 kids all waiting to have their faces painted and/or there balloons twisted. When you suddenly look around and notice that the other Clown hired for the event is boredly walking around blowing bubbles!

5) While in your Clown outfit, people refuse to wait on you in a divey diner or Fast Food place!

6) You spend twenty minutes setting up for your show and have your magic, face paints and balloons and pumps all neatly laid out on a table outside, when it suddenly starts to rain!

7) You cause a traffic jam while walking down the street in your Clown Suit.

8) Dressed as a Clown, you get stopped by a serious looking cop. While you’re shaking like a leaf, he asks if he could get a picture of you to show to his kids.

9) While walking down the Street, a Fire Man in your neighborhood takes a brake from administering aid to a man passed out on the street to ask you if you can entertain at the Fire Department’s next Christmas party.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Diary of a Clown/ Gorillas in the Office

Gorillas in the Office

One afternoon, I was sent to do a Black Gorilla Singing Telegram at an office in Midtown Manhattan. After changing into my Gorilla Suit, I started walking to the woman’s (my recipient’s) office, when who walks by me...but another Gorilla. A six foot tall man in a Gorilla suit that his! As he smugly started walking past me, I stopped him by asking him who he was there to see. He showed me his Telegram and lo and behold, the recipient turned out to be the same as mine as well as the scheduled performance time. As I asked him who he was and who he worked for, he totally ignored me and continued his way into the office. I stopped him in his tracks saying “Hey wait a minute...What makes you think you can go in first?” “I won’t be but a few minutes” he snootily replied. I blocked him again. The receptionist at this time was starting to get pretty perturbed by the sight of having two Gorillas standing in the waiting room having an argument. With her heavy NY accent she shouted out…”Hey! Yas 2 is gonna have to take this outside somewhere!” “I can’t have yas standing out here fighting when our clients come in!” With that said, I replied to my Gorilla rival “Look, I’ll make a deal with you; I’ll let you go in first if you take your head off for a second. I wanted to see not only who I was arguing with, but if he was someone I knew. When he took his head off, I nearly fell over when I saw how gorgeous he was! While he came out, he completely ignored my flirting and rolled his eyes walking right passed me.

I went in later and did my Singing Gorilla Gram for my recipient. She was a very attractive woman in her early thirties. When I finished singing, a Flower Messenger walked in and handed her a bouquet of roses. No….this one wasn’t dressed as a Gorilla!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Diary of a Clown/ An Elephant! By Susan Zwirn aka Polkadots the Clown

A good portion of the Birthday parties I clown at, are on overkill. These people (not always rich) spend more money on these Birthday Parties than the average person spends on a wedding. But what do you do when you have a 13 year old millionaire Bar mitzvah boy who already had 12 overkill Birthday Parties (not to mention the overkill Birthday Parties he's already been to), and is due for a change?....Give up?....You invite an Elephant to his Bar mitzvah!

I was hired to clown at a Bar Mitzvah in a Great Neck Long Island Country Club, along with a bevy of other Circus Performers, Fire Eaters, Sword Swallower's, Strolling Magicians, and the category I fell into....Strolling Clown Balloonists. Oh, and a Marching Band.

The Country Club Catering Hall was all decorated in a Circus Motif. The Centerpiece on the cocktail tables had little Merry Go Rounds that actually turned around, lit up, and played music.

Now, if all that wasn't enough, in the middle of the Cocktail Party, we were all instructed to go into the other room. We, being the performers, marched around the outside of the room with the guests in the middle. It was the closest I[ve ever come to being in a Circus. We all just kind of marched around and did our thing. I did my Plate Spinning and comedy antics. All of the other performers did there's as well along with the 10 piece marching band who serenaded everyone with Circus Music. After about 10 minutes of this, we and all of the spectators were told to clear the room and stand against the walls and to stay away from the door, except for the marching band who was instructed to go outside.

Within a few minutes, the door to the Catering hall is opened and the MC is making an anouncement "Ladies and Gentlemen...Children of all ages....Presenting the Bar Mitzvah Boy himself and Guest of Honor, Jeffrey Abramowitz!" With that said, the Bar Mitzvah Boy enters the room on an Elephant, both wearing circus styled sparkly headdresses. Yes, you heard right, an Elephant! They are followed by the marching band playing Circus Music.

The only people who seemed to know this was all going to take place was The Bar Mitzvah boy and his imediate familly as well as my boss who was also one of the performers. Jason, who was doing juggling, was the most shocked out of everyone. "An ELEPHANT!!... They brought in an ELEPHANT!!" He continued with "I've been doing overkill parties for 20 years and....An ELEPHANT!!" My boss came over and told us to get all of our belongings together and rap it up, but Jason just stood there dumbfounded going "An ELEPHANT!! They brought in an ELEPHANT!!" We eventually had to lead him out.

Looking back on the whole day, I thought it was great that a 13 year old boy was willing to go along with this in front of his spoiled brat millionaire friends. Now that's a Circus Enthusiest!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Diary of a Clown/ Happy Birthday to Dad

Happy Birthday Dad!

I just finished telling this story to one of my fellow Clown/ Singing Messenger friends who had just lost his mom and said he doesn’t think he’ll be able to work on her Birthday.
I lost my Dad about 12 years ago. On the first Birthday since his death, I was asked to deliver a Singing Telegram. I downright refused telling my boss the exact reason, but she begged me and gave me pep talk at the same time since it was short notice and no one else was available. I finally agreed to do it and still felt guilty and down about it.

As I was getting ready to go on my Singing Telegram, I got a call to do another Telegram in the same part of town, so I agreed to take it.
I got to my first Telegram, and as I’m singing, I noticed that the 10 year old Birthday Boy I was singing to, bared a striking resemblance to my dad in childhood pictures I had seen of him. He was skinny with dark thick hair, a long nose and crossed eyes.

When I got to my second Telegram, my recipient was about fifteen years older than the last recipient. This recipient looked a lot like the way I remember my dad looking on his old navy pictures as well as his early dating pictures with my mom. Again, being skinny with a long nose and dark curly hair but this time having glasses.
As soon as I got home from my Telegrams that day, another agent called me to do another Singing Telegram in the evening. This recipient was heavy with a long nose, glasses and a bald spot in the middle of his graying dark curly hair which is a lot like what I remember my dad looking like in his later years.

Just to let you know, with the exception of the money making eighties and Valentine Day, it’s pretty unusual to have three singing telegrams in one day, let alone all three being for guys that all looked like my dad in various stages of his life!

Was it a coincidence that this all happened on my dad’s first Birthday since his death, or was
this my Dad’s way of letting me know that he had a good life and he was now at peace? Whatever the case, it was a great way to remember him. I finished off my day by singing “Happy Birthday to Dad”.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Diary of a Clown/Called to the Principle's Office

Called to the Principles Office

A few years ago, I had just finished clowning at a Kindergarten Graduation. After finishing my show, I was told to wait in the waiting room of the Principle’s Office to get paid. The only one who was in there besides me, was this seven year old boy who was sitting there crying his eyes out while waiting to see the Principle. “Hey”, I said…”what are ya in for?” With a sobbing quivering voice, he replied…”A girl in my class…said I touched her in her privates”. “Well…did you?” With even more sobbing…”Yes…but um…um..it was an accident!” “My hand went like this and she was standing next to me (more sobbing) I…didn’t mean to!” “Well, (I said while keeping in clown character with my helium sounding voice and over expressing myself) tell the truth!” “But…um...Um (sob, sob) I’ll get into trouble…They won’t believe me!” “You might, but not as much trouble if you lie! DUH!” “How do you know?” His crying is starting to mellow down at this point. “Trust me, I know!”

After almost 10 minutes of trying o convince this Touching Bandit of telling his story exactly how it happened, the little sobbing voice looked up at me and asked…”Are you a Clown?” I honked my horn and said “What do you think?” As he started to answer me, the Principle’s secretary came out and paid me. As I was walking out with her, we were stopped by this pissed off looking woman who turned out to be the mother of the crying boy. Judging by her facial expression, this wasn’t her first time picking her son up at the Principle’s Office. She gave the Secretary one of those “What’s the verdict?” look. The Secretary said something to the tune of…”He’s ok, she just had a nice talk with him”. The mom said “Who?” “The Principle?” The Secretary answered back with…”No, her” and pointed to me. What was going on here? Was this a set up? After the mom walked away, the mom told me that this particular kid is a regular in the Principle’s office. Oh well! Honk Honk