As an entertainer I encounter performers most everywhere I go. Clowns are a strange group, which I'm sure you can surmise.

When I went to Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College
it was not because I had a burning desire to become a clown. I wanted
to learn a LOT of quality performing skills in a short amount of time
and that was the best place to do so.

In the years since leaving Ringling, I came to find that there is a Sharks vs. Jets
sort of mentality within the clown world. Ringling Clowns consider
themselves to be the best in the world when in reality theyre really
only the best at working for Ringling Bros.. Non-Ringling clowns that
work other circuses are much better at doing traditional circus tasks
and in my opinion are the real circus clowns. Ringling clowns dont like
non-Ringling clowns and vice versa but we all agree on hating the third
group of clowns out there, birthday party clowns.

clowns and their brothers, the Shrine Clowns, are among the scariest
people on Earth. These are the geriatrics who look for hobbies in their
old age, the folks who take their faces straight off of a bad clown
painting. In short, these are the clowns that scare people.

not their acts or their mannerisms that scare the kids. Its the fact
that so many of these people decide, now that theyre clowns, they can
just bounce and scream all they want. They get in your face at parties,
at parades they insist that you look in the bucket with the mirror in
the bottom, and they own those fake weasel toys that were more
convincing when the guy at the magic shop demonstrated it to them.

D-O-G! I've met clowns named Zobo and Stickers and Binky. They ALL
carried business cards with full-color photographs of their clown
personas on them and wore buttons that read I Y Q or Have you hugged a
clown today? Once, backstage at a show, a clown, a man in his 50s,
walked right up to me and with a goofy voice introduced himself as Hot
Dog. It was embarrassing, "HI! I'm Hot Dog! What's Yer name?" (Insert
honking sound here). There were no kids present and he wasnt working at
the time. I said slowly, My name is A-N-D-Y, hoping to get his real
name. All I got in return was, Im H-O-T D-O-G.

When the circus came to Barlow, Kentucky,
we were big news. Even though we were an indoor show that played school
gymnasiums, people in Barlow still showed up just to watch us set up
the show. Im not sure what they expected but I think the fact that we
did not have any elephants hoisting up the walls of the building was a
little disconcerting. Barlow was a town small enough that I was SURE Id
never encounter other performers.

That day, the entire circus
met Price the Mystical Clown. Price was something of a local celebrity
in Barlow. He was a professional entertainer, or at least thats what he
told everyone... constantly... even if you didnt ask.

was no reason for us to assume he was a performer by looking at him. He
was an older man with a bald head and bespectacled squinty eyes. A
white mustache and goatee adorned his countenance. He wore casual
clothing and for all we knew he was one of the shows sponsors.

In a loud voice similar to that of Foghorn Leghorn, he proceeded to ask, Whares tha show manajah? Sadly, someone directed him our way. Ah Suh, I would lahk to tawk to you about tonights show. My boss just tried to be polite. My name is Price the Mystical Clown and I show all ovuh. He proceeded to hand out cards and some 4 x 8 black & white photographs of himself, I show all ovuhhhh. Ive been pahformin all ovuh for 40 years now.

The Mystical ClownThe photo was frightening. He put his make-up on over
his facial hair, and aside from a really awful costume that gave him
the appearance of a homeless guy, there were no additional efforts to
conceal his real identity. The photo was a snapshot taken in front of a
brick wall, presumably a school or some building he was caught lurking
around one day. He was pointing to the camera with both hands, as if to
say, catch ya later. It was awful, but somehow we all KNEW this
would be the only fun wed have all day, even though we were in BIRTHDAY
CLOWN HELL! We let him continue.

I am a pro-FESSIONAL and I show all ovuh, yknow. I do magic tricks. Would you like to see one?
he went on to ask. We all responded with an excitable SURE! He
proceeded to dig into every pocket only to realize that hed not brought
a single magic trick with him. I dont seem to have one with me raht now. Travis, the magician on our show, jokingly said, You wanna borrow mine? Price went on unaffected, Ah no, Suh. I wouldnt think of taking anutha man's act. Right away we admired his professionalism.

Normally, when we encounter other pro-FESSIONALS
we try and find out what shows theyve worked on. Most any circus is
filled with someone who knows EVERYONE in the business. So we asked
where he had worked in the past.

The Philipines? No
WAY!Well, I show all ovuh. Ive played Las Vegas, Atlantic City,
Broadway, The Philippines, Branson, you name it...Ive showed thare.

Philippines? When we tried to find out names of specific shows he was
unable to come up with one. He did suggest that we just Ask around. People have heard of me. I show all ovuh.

We understood that he showed all ovuh but he really seemed to want to tell us that.

As this rather odd conversation progressed we found out exactly what Price wanted from us.

Well I was hopin that maybe I could sit in with the show, he said.

in??? A clown sitting in with the show? Like a musician sitting in with
a band? That couldnt be what he meant. We asked him for a

Well, given that I am a
pro-FESSIONAL thats showed all ovuh and all, I was uh hopin I could sit
in with the clowns and do a few gags. Yknow.. im-PRO-visin something

Now Id heard everything! We had a guy wanting to do
improv with the circus. We all played dumb and told him that we couldnt
fit him in, but if he had any ideas for us maybe we could work on
something for him. His face just lit up like a Christmas tree.

as a mattah of fact I do have one gag that Im particularly proud of. It
is a killah. They just rolled on the floors laughing in Vegas when I
did this one,
said Price.

What happened next was Price the
Mystical Clown scurrying out to the middle of the gym. He instructed me
to grab an old popcorn box and act like I was a vendor. Start yellin POP-CORN, POP-CORN, he said to me. I began yelling and selling, Popcorn, Popcorn, get yer hot Popcorn right here!

STOP, came a voice from Price, Youre doing it all wrong. Just say POP-CORN, POP-CORN. Nothing else. Do this for about 10-20 minutes". Thankfully Price just assumed I got the point and didnt actually make me chant POP-CORN
for 20 minutes. He then ran into the seats, stopping to tell us that
someone has to be in the audience to make this gag work. He began
laughing at the punchline in advance. As I walked past his seat in the
stands screaming POP-CORN Price sprung to his feet and
interrupted my only dialogue. I stopped. He looked to the rest of the
gang and winked, kind of saying to them, get ready. Price shouted in a voice somewhat wackier than his own,

Best Gag EVER!HEY! Why dont you try selling MOM-CORN for awhile?

He then proceded to run around the place emulating a chase scene from the "Benny Hill Show."

was it. That was his big gag that kept them rolling in the aisles in
Vegas. We all laughed in absolute hysterics but what he didnt realize
was that we were laughing at him.

He stuck around the show for
about an hour while we set up, talking to anyone who would listen.
Eventually we convinced him that we work alone. We offered him the
professional courtesy of seeing our show free of charge. He declined.
We never saw him again.

A few years later I was catching up with
a friend of mine, a man also in entertainment. During our stories I
mentioned some of the odd times I had in Kentucky. He stopped me and
asked, You ever meet a magician from Kentucky named Price? Funny guy. He supposedly shows all over the place.

Price told me that if I asked around Id find out, people know him. And now, so do you.