Charlie The Juggling Clown
Creating Happy Memories that Last a Lifetime
By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson
Click on a title to go to a description of that class.
If you are planning an educational event, please contact Bruce before selecting classes so he can make sure your choices are the best fit for your needs.
Amusement Park Entertainment
Is another topic you would like to see covered? Bruce can tailor a session to your needs. His wide experience and scholarship means he may have the knowledge you desire. Ask if he is qualified to handle that topic.
To schedule a private session, class, or workshop
Contact Bruce at
Charlie's Creative Comedy, P.O.Box 82084, Kenmore, WA 98028
A question and answer session in a style created by Steve Allen for the original Tonight Show. Participants write questions in advance on 3x5 cards, which Bruce reads and answers. Inappropriate questions can be weeded out, and the session moves faster. This provides an entertaining and educational session. People who have a question they definitely want answered can put their name and address on their card, and Bruce will answer by mail if time runs out during the session.
Learn how you can most effectively relate to your audience? Tips will be given on working with volunteers, frightened children, and how to relate most effectively with various age groups.
Through "minds-on" experiences, participants will learn useful techniques for creating original material for magic routines and skits. (An extension of Introduction To Comedy Techniques)
How Bruce structures a birthday party, tips on how to make it go more smoothly, and routines he has created specifically for birthday parties. Good practical advice.
Magic with cards can be powerful entertainment and easy to carry. Packet tricks for walkaround or hospital performing will be covered, as well as easy ways to control and force a card, which opens up unlimited possibilities. Practical effects suited to clowning are stressed.
Chalktalks were a popular form of entertainment during vaudeville. It is an excellent alternative to face painting and balloons. If you can print the alphabet and write numbers, you have the skill necessary to do chalktalks. Bring pencil and paper because this is definitely a hands on class.
Learn how to use trick cartoons to establish rapport with a group, earn the right to be heard, and present a Gospel lesson.
Sometimes we approach clowning backwards; we create an appearance and then try to develop the character that would fit inside. This class will guide you towards discovering the unique clown character inside you, and then how your appearance becomes an expression of that character.
Learn what it is like to be a clown with a tented circus. Stories from Charlie's six seasons with outdoor circuses will enlighten and entertain you.
The first six inductees into the International Clown Hall Of Fame, Felix Adler, Lou Jacobs, Mark Anthony, Emmett Kelly, Otto Griebling, and Red Skelton, were honored in 1989. This session focuses on these six clowns, why they are so important to clowning, and what we can learn from them.
A two-and-a-half hour session part of the 13th Annual Northwest Festival of Clowns Big Thursday Workshop. Explore the creative process and learn how you can consciously become a more creative clown. Through class exercises, participants will experience their own creativity and learn how to use it in crafting comedy material customized to their personality and talents.
Using a doctor skit as an example, participants will experience creating and performing their own skit. Skit structure will be discussed. The use of gag files, dialogue, and physical comedy will be explored.
Bruce discusses the evolution of the art of clowning during the twentieth century. He discusses how trends developed, tells interesting anecdotes about famous clowns, and recreates some of their routines. This class is a companion to Bruce's art exhibit titled Clown Through The Twentieth Century - An Exhibition of Clown Art.
Lots of simple ideas for generating laughter using handshakes, balloons, etc. A very practical class that will provide everybody with something they will add to their repertoire right away.
Participants learn several principles of magic and their application. Specific tricks will be used to demonstrate how participants can create their own routines that will amuse, mystify, and entertain audiences.
Up to twelve hours of exploring the nature of comedy and creativity. A practical hands on experience.
No matter how well your material is written, it will fall flat if the audience doesn't see or hear the important elements. This class will help you learn how to direct the audience's attention to where you want it. Techniques for solo clowns and groups will be covered. Timing techniques to heighten the audience's attention at key moments are also included.
Practical advice on how to create customized magic effects. Both unique multiple use items to make your act stand out from others, and customized single use items tied into a specific event will be covered. This class is based upon the book Creativity For Entertainers Volume Three: Creative Routines. Some new material developed after publication of the book will also be included.
Bruce's Creative Routines class tailored for those involved in Gospel Clown Ministry or Christian Magic. Learn how to create magic effects and other routines that re-enforce Bible stories and concepts. All the examples used during class tie into a Christian lesson. This is the version Bruce has presented at regional Fellowship Of Christian Magician Conferences on Creative Ministries.
Bruce's Creative Routines class tailored for those interested in using variety arts as a tool to teach safety messages. Learn how to start with a message and then develop appropriate magic effects and other routines that re-enforce the lesson.
We all know physical strength and agility can be increased through exercise. The same is true of mental strength and agility, what we commonly call creativity. The nature of creativity will be explored. Participants will experience their own creativity and learn how they can consciously become entertainers that are more creative. This class is based on material in the Creativity For Entertainers trilogy.
This inspirational/motivational talk will help guide participants towards being the best clown they can be. This topic makes an excellent kick off session. It was the keynote address at the 2000 Clowns Of America International Convention, and a featured presentation at Angel Ocasio's 2000 Northwest Comedifest.
How American clowning developed and why is it different? Anecdotes and routine recreations help bring the history of American clowning to life. (Only four lecturers internationally were chosen for the 1993 World Clown Congress in Harnosand, Sweden. One of them was Bruce Johnson presenting this lecture.)
This hands on class will take participants step-by-step through the process of learning the three-ball cascade. Bruce is known for his patience in teaching this class. (This class is not available in locations that require airline travel.)
You will participate in several improvisation exercises followed by a discussion of how each can be specifically applied to clowning and what skills the exercise was designed to improve. This is a practical class, which will assist you in becoming better a performer.
What is comedy? What is its structure? How is it created? Through analyzing jokes and writing exercises, participants will learn what is necessary to create their own original material.
Sleight of hand is a skill, but everyone can easily learn the basics and master them with a little practice. Some easy utility moves will be covered that will allow you to perform anyplace without special props. Be ready for those impromptu performance opportunities. Imagine the personal impact when you borrow an object from a child and do magic with it. This class will equip you for that.
This class will explore the links between humor and health (both mental and physical) and humor and creativity.
This lecture/demonstration covers how to use juggling skill entertainingly. Many of the ideas can be used by people who can do the simple three ball cascade.
Hands on assistance for beginning to intermediate jugglers helping them take the next step in developing their juggling skills. Bring any props that you are working with and Bruce will help you learn how to use them more effectively as an entertainer.
Your appearance does not make you a clown. You can have award winning make up and costume and be just a person in disguise. It is the character's unique thought process that makes them a clown. A clown does not do funny things, they do things for funny reasons. Participants will learn what it means to think like a clown. They will also learn about the thought process that goes into preparing for a performance to be as effective as possible. One of the techniques covered is the use of a silent script.
Origami is the art of paper folding. During this hands on class you will learn the basics of paper folding plus begin exploring how to use this art form to entertain your audiences. Origami is an inexpensive give away that is appropriate for use by caring clowns.
Clown history will come alive through anecdotes, recreations of routines by famous clowns, and drawings by Bruce Johnson of how they looked. Participants will discover why clown history is relevant to being a modern clown, and how knowledge of clown history serves as a foundation for becoming the best possible clown today.
Bruce will work one-on-one with you to help you take the next step in your clowning. Are you having trouble figuring out the instructions to a magic prop? Do you have a prop, but don't know what to do with it? Would you like a helpful critique of a routine or a show? Would you like a critique on your make up and costume that provides valid and useful information? Would you like some suggestions on improving your juggling? Do you need suggestions on how to accomplish a magic effect? This session is for you. Tap into Bruce's experience and knowledge to get what you need.
For an evening clown alley meeting, Bruce can combine two of more topics to create a unique session for you meeting your groups specific needs.
Silks are a pretty branch of magic, and lend themselves well to comedy or message routines. The basics of working with silks and some easy, practical routines that can be adapted to the individuals performance style will be covered.
A thumb tip is a versatile prop with uses beyond the simple vanish and reproduction of a small silk. Learn many routines that can be done with this prop, and how to use it effectively. Many people are afraid of this prop, but once you get to know it well, it can be a trusted, helpful friend.
A demonstration of how Bruce applies his tramp make up. Can be done alone or as part of a panel demonstration.
In this one-hour entertaining and educational performance, Bruce recreates routines performed by famous or significant tramp clowns while a narrator puts the routines into historical perspective. An overhead projector is used to display pen & ink drawings Bruce has done of the clowns. This performance was featured at the 2001 World Clown Association Convention and received a standing ovation.
General guidelines, skills that work well and appropriate gags and routines you can use will help participants become successful in this specialized branch of clowning.