Collecting Clown Autographs


colossoHey, people! Long time, no write! I thought of writing something in the clowning magazine that I never read about before now.

The idea finally hit me to write about collecting clown autographs. For the past six years of my clowning career, I’ve met clowns from literally all around the world. Not only have I exchanged business cards and e-mail addresses from fellow clowns, but I have collected autographs from them, too. How have I gotten fellow clowns to sign their penmanship to pictures without spending a lot of money? Read on—
For the past few years, I have either purchased or received as presents numerous clown and magic books. Within these books, there are countless pictures of clowns in black-and-white or in color. Most of the clowns found in your books are members of the World Clown Association (WCA), Clowns of America International (COAI), Society of American Magicians (SAM) or another magic or clown group. They can usually be found at Clown Camp® during the early summer months, regional or international clown or magician’s conferences or at the International Clown Hall of Fame (ICHoF) in Milwaukee, WI during the induction ceremonies in August.
There are a variety of books and other ways that show pictures of your fellow clowns. Books I recommend include: Clown Magic by David Ginn; Creative Clowning by Bruce Fife, Gene Lee, et al;The Book of Clowns by George Speaight; and Strutter’s Guide to Clown Make-Up by Jim Roberts. Another way to collect clown autographs includes ICHoF inductee posters of active or retired clowns (clowns inducted posthumously in a certain year usually have a family member or friend to receive their honor at the time bestowed). There are also T-shirts and sweatshirts from Clown Camp® and other clown conferences. Not only can one obtain the lecturers’ signatures, but of your fellow clown attendees as well.
So the next time you’d like a clown’s autograph, feel free to look through your list of clown literature to see if you can find their picture. Every now and then, when their picture is unavailable at the time, maybe you can purchase a photo from the clowns themselves. It’s quite flattering when someone takes the time to ask for your autograph, so make certain that you show the same courtesy when you ask a fellow clown for his or her autograph. Always be polite, remember to thank them and—who knows?—maybe one of your fellow clowns would like your autograph, too.
By Eric “Colosso” Plaut

Author’s Notes
This article originally appeared in the August/September issue of Clowning Around, the official magazine of the World Clown Association (WCA). Just to note here—the International Clown Hall of Fame is now up in Baraboo, Wisconsin (for information on the ICHoF, check out their Web site at theclownmuseum.org) while Clown Camp®, which ended its weekly camp sessions in 2009, will have its reunion this coming June at Viterbo University in LaCrosse, WI.
One more way to collect clown autographs is to have copies of a fellow jester on the cover of Clowning Around, COAI’s The New Calliope, Clowns International’s monthly bulletin The Joey, etc. What a great way to frame one of these photos!