Randy Christensen – Creative and Funny Fellow
Randy Christensen – Creative Comedy Clown to the World
Randy Christensen began clowning in 1980. He is a sought-after performer and instructor known for his unique heart and humor. Randy has served as the Clown Ministry Director for the World Clown Association for three terms. He has also served as the clown department director for the International Fellowship of Christian Magicians. Using multiple circus skills, music, magic, mime and ventriloquism, Randy is known for creating great experiences for all ages in a variety of venues. You’ll find him performing at orphanages, hospitals, children’s camps, public school assemblies, family-focused church events, circuses, fairs and festivals. He has performed in 32 of the United States and also in England, Canada, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Spain, Ecuador and Singapore.
Randy is known as an inspiring educator in the world of kids and clowns. He was a multi-year instructor for both the UW-LaCrosse Clown Camp and also Frosty & Leon’s Advanced Studies on the Performance Art of Clown. Randy has also hosted ten “IMPACT” Clown Ministry Conventions and as many “Next Step” tutoring workshops.
As a performer, Randy has done numerous performances for the International Clown Hall of Fame, including the 1998 Induction Ceremony command performance. Randy also has been the keynote speaker and/or featured performer for the World Clown Association, the International Network of Children’s Ministry, the Midwest Clown Association, TNT Clown Camp, Joey To the World, Circus Magic, the American Clown Academy, the International Fellowship of Christian Magicians and others.
Randy has been the creative mind behind numerous family friendly tour productions including the “You Make Me Laugh” Show, “Unmasked,” and “Cirque Imaginings” which features eight national-caliber entertainers blending their talents for a night of wonder and laughter with a positive message. His recent performance endeavor—the L.O.L. Show—includes two other world-class physical comedians.
Randy has authored eighteen books on clowning, variety arts methods, and children’s ministry. A number have been translated into Spanish and Portuguese at request of teachers in Spain, Portugal and Brazil. He has over two hundred published articles in various children’s ministry and entertainer publications. He is a past columnist for the notable “Laugh*Makers” periodical; the official Journal of the International Association of Family Entertainment Professionals and currently writes for the “The Cross and the Clown,” and “Clowning Around.”
Randy won the title of “All-Around Clown” at the 2010 WCA Convention, and again at the 2011 convention. He was given the honorary award of “Master Clown” by the WCA in 2011. At the World Clown Association Convention in Kuching, Malaysia in March 2013 he was named the “Clown of the Year” due to his contribution to the world of clowning. He’s a prolific author, musician, husband and father of three incredible young adults. He resides in North Mankato, Minnesota, USA. For more information on Randy go to www.qualityprograms.net
Randy Christensen – Creative and Funny Fellow Interviewed by Norman the Clown
Our current President Randy “Simon” Christensen has served our organization wonderfully for the past few years and in March 2017 passes the gavel on to Pam Moody. Here is an interview that was in our magazine for cover story in December 2016.
Can you describe your creative approach?
My creative approach is based entirely in playfulness. I mean, I’ve studied and I understand various techniques and tools to use in creativity, but ultimately, clown creativity flows from entering into a character’s playful attitude. I find a prop and I play with it. My character is put into a scenario and begins to play with the other characters. As playful options are experienced, it can lead one down a pathway that will lead to an eventual satisfying conclusion.
Another key is the commitment to won
der and discovery. Valuing each moment, each individual, and the little things in life is a big part of having a perspective full of wonder. And seeing new things in new ways is what discovery is about. As I clown playfully, these attitudes impact the development of all my routines. I fully believe the entertainer’s saying, “It’s not WHAT you do, but HOW you do it that counts.” It’s about being invested in that moment with your audience.
Who were a few of your influences in comedy and clowning?
As a child I always loved watching cartoons. My favorite was “Scooby Doo.” This cartoon character was funny, silly, light-hearted, uneducated, and often solved his problems by mistake. I loved this character and I think it’s impacted my clowning.
The main performers that influence my clowning today are Red Skelton, Dick Van Dyke, Avner Eisenberg, Lucille Ball, Buster Keaton and Arthur Pedlar.
Also, various training experiences at Clown Camp, Advanced Studies On the Performance Art of Clown, Goldston-Johnson School of Mime, and Celebration Barn Theatre have had long range impact on my approach to and philosophy of clowning. Without these educational experiences I would not be any where near the clown I am today.
What is your favorite audience to perform for and why?
I do love all facets of clowning. My favorite venues are generally stage or parades. When on stage, I know that people actually have come to see a clown…so they are already in a positive, “ready to laugh,” type of mood. Parades are fun because of the non-stop ongoing, new crowds that are ready to laugh and cheer. I love seeing the sense of wonder and immediate connection with parade audiences when I walk around a street corner.
If you could go back in history and clown alongside some one – who would it be and why?
Oh, there are so many. If I could choose to be in the ring with the legendary American “one horse show” with Dan Rice, I would love that. Or, to be on the stage with Adrien Wettach (“Grock”) in the European halls would have been amazing. But, honestly, I don’t think there’s anyone in history that I’d prefer to clown with than someone you already know. If I can only pick one…then I’d pick to perform with my son, Ben.
Where did you see your first clown and can you recall the impact that may have had on your wanting to be a clown?
The first clown I recall seeing as a child was Red Skelton on television in the 60’s. I remember sitting patiently, staring at the television, hoping that “Freddie the Freeloader” would make an appearance on the T.V. program that week.
In live performance, the ONLY time I saw a clown was when my father took my younger sister and I to an open air Shine Circus at the baseball stadium in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The clowns only did one bit. It was the traditional “firecracker” routine and I LOVED it! I don’t recall seeing another live clown presentation until after I had arrived at college.
Watch for Randy at the International Show as a Part of our Huge Convention in Thailand in 2017.
More on Randy at http://qualityprograms.net
About the Author – Norman toured the nation as a clown for the School Assembly bureaus for 14 years in the late 1970’s – 1992 and has made people laugh in all 50 states and 8 other countries.
Norman the Clown info: http://aces-show.biz/normantheclown