Reading we suddenly have a ‘clown shortage’ here in the US I couldn’t help but think of a few people who would fit the bill: like the clowns in Washington and the clowns we read about yesterday (below) who seek spiritual mantles and God’s power and anointing, at the graves of the departed. Personally I don’t see a clown shortage, but that we’re just not looking for them in the usual places. They’re still here—they’re just hanging out now in Washington DC and graveyards.
The trade organization for clowns has seen a decline in membership over the past 10 years. Aging, changing standards set by employers are two of the reasons.
“What’s happening is attrition,” said Clowns of America International President Glen Kohlberger, who added that membership at the Florida-based organization has plummeted since 2006. “The older clowns are passing away.” He said he wouldn’t release specific numbers, citing the privacy of the members. Membership at the World Clown Association, the country’s largest trade group for clowns, has dropped from about 3,500 to 2,500 since 2004. “The challenge is getting younger people involved in clowning,” said Association President Deanna (Dee Dee) Hartmier, who said most of her members are over 40.
Kohlberger said that it’s difficult getting younger people who develop an early interest in the many facets of clowning to stick with it on the professional level.
Cyrus Zavieh, the president of New York Clown Alley, a group that boasts 45 members across the New York area, said clowns can pull in up to $300 for a birthday party — but that’s hardly a financial incentive for many young people. “American kids these days are thinking about different careers altogether,” said Zavieh, 44, who has worked under the moniker Cido for nearly two decades. “They’re thinking about everything other than clowning.”