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.