Categories
Clown Comedy Dance Photography Variety Arts Video

George Carl – Golden Clown Award Press Kit

GEORGE CARL

I have been fortunate to have met and photographed George Carl at my studio in the early 1980’s. He was funny even off stage. Inviting him to my studio with Francis Brunn and Natalie Enterline was so much fun. He passed over his press kit to me and I am posting it here. He won the Golden Clown Award from Monte Carlo Circus Festival in 1979.

From Wikipedia:

George Carl (7 May 1916 – 1 January 2000) was a “vaudevillian” style comic & clown. Carl was born in Ohio, and started his comedy career traveling with a variety of circuses during his teenage years. In time, Carl would become internationally famous as a clown and visual comedian. Johnny Carson, a fan of Carl’s, invited him to appear on The Tonight Show on March 21, 1985 when Carl was 69. His appearance was so well received that he was asked back within weeks for a second appearance which also received raves from viewers. He appeared again on May 27, 1986 doing essentially his same act and received great laughter from an obviously appreciative audience.

With hardly any props,[1] except for a microphone, a mic stand, his hat, and sometimes a harmonica, Carl would seemingly accidentally become tangled up in the mic cord,[2] get his thumb stuck in the microphone stand and, through a flurry of silent bits, wind up accomplishing nothing at all in the time spent onstage.

At the age of 79, George Carl made his screen debut in the 1995 film Funny Bones also starring Jerry Lewis. He played an old music-hall comedian, one of the Parker brothers, who never spoke until a scene in which his character explains the reason performers perform;

“Our suffering is special. The pain we feel is worse than anyone else. But the sunrise we see is more beautiful than anyone else. The Parkers is…like the moon. There’s one side forever dark. Invisible. As it should be. But remember, the dark moon draws the tides also.”

Comedians using similar visual material include Charlie Frye, Bill IrwinGeoff HoyleBarry LubinChipper Lowell, Rob Torres, and Avner the Eccentric.

Carl died of cancer in Las Vegas on January 1, 2000. [3]

~ ~ ~

George Carl on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

~ ~ ~

Another wonderful performance from George Carl.

Click here for my previous posting for photographs and video of George Carl.

# # # # #

Categories
Circus Clown Comedy Performing Arts Photography Women Writer

The State of the Clown – by Sara Moore

Reposted by Permission from Sara Moore at CircusCenter, San Francisco.

THE STATE OF THE CLOWN | BY SARA MOORE

I am a clown.  I’ve shared the same trailer, the same dressing room, the same midway, with all manner of people who enhance the idiocy and paradox of their own bumbling humanity by turning themselves inside out and presenting themselves to an audience. I have performed with everyone from Carol Channing to “Freckles.” I have been on the bill with every type of performer from opera singers, stand-ups, storytellers, jazz singers, “bubbleologists”, psychics and eccentric dancers. I’ve also played Shakespeare’s clowns and stood in a circus ring and brought an audience of 10,000 to screams of laughter by doing nearly nothing. Hell, I’ve made people laugh on the damn A-Train on the way to a gig in full clown geish. You learn early on with a career in show business that there’s a whole lot of education and empathy that grow as much from a junkyard as from Lincoln Center.  Be versatile. Be ready for any kind of job, anywhere, anytime, with all manner of misfit entertainers. All are welcome. Except for magicians: they take up too much space in the dressing room and smell like Aqua Velva. Joking. But serious.

Historically, most clowns have been men. As a woman I have had to work very, very hard to be seen as a funny being while also not being a particularly “pretty” woman, which seems to be the golden combination as defined by men: she’s funny AND a real looker! I never wanted to be pretty. Being genderqueer I’ve always been happy with my cute factor, riding the misfit streetcar of desire between the genders. Even though I’m confident that I’m funny, insightful, and dare I say innovative, when I approached The Big Apple Circus, I was told flat-out that they would never hire a woman clown. That I didn’t even make the first cut because, y’know, I simply wasn’t man enough. Truth is, they had hired women clowns in the past – just coupled with men who were their husbands and partners. But this is what I was emphatically told: no women clowns.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages: the newest addition to the #MeToo bunker is, heartbreakingly, a beloved Big Apple Circus clown. It is devastating and utterly unsurprising. These guys are absolutely everywhere, beneath and on top of every rock in every culture: toxic masculinity. Only this time, Don Draper is wearing a freaking clown nose and a bad frock. Insert multiple expletives! And just when I was really amping up about clowns not being scary…

For a long time, I haven’t known quite what to say about the fear of, and continuing sarcastic commentary about, and horror-movie imagery of clowns. Perhaps, I thought, it’s the word itself that no one likes since it’s so fully associated with Ronald McDonald and all manner of overly painted, mask-ish creatures that made little Emily cry her eyes out at the county fair. Maybe it’s the bad singing – or dinosaurs themselves – but I remember flinching when I first saw Barney. I also flinched and was repelled by all manner of costumed characters as a child.

But now I’m wondering if perhaps, just maybe, the very male-ness of clowning has been one of the main reasons why images of scary clowns have had such power in our culture.

Today, finally, we are at the birth of a new era. There is a vital new American Clowning emerging from the demise of Ringling Bros. and this historically mega-male art form, and it is fiercely female and based on the concept of the poet-in-action: more Lucy than Bozo. More Annie Fratellini, Diane Wasnak, Mooky Cornish. Don’t recognize these names? Google them. Fine, funny women all, and all cousins to Mr. Bean, Lee Evans, George Carl. Keep Googling! In many ways, the Clown transcends gender and bounces right into the realm of wonder and magical realism personified, a powerhouse prankster embodying all the mischief, mayhem and freedom of a human cartoon.

So, maybe now that our industry, like so many others, is facing its demons and becoming more inclusive and equitable, the image of clowns in the broader culture will change, too. I for one am working to help everyone see and absorb this new vision of what clowning is and can be: humanity exposed for all of our collective foolishness. It’s the fearless exposure and performance of being really human, in all its paradoxes. We are all beautiful, we are all ugly. We are all clumsy, we are all graceful. In many types of tribes throughout history, clowns are part of the healing community. When despair is crushing, kindness and humor become as vital as air. We bring medicine through laughter, joviality, silliness, and pure play. Yes, I’m just highfalutin enough to believe that clowns are part of the world’s solution, not its problem.

In this mixed-up culture, where every other person is considered a “reality star,” where gun orthodoxy outshines arts advocacy, and where even our most beloved cultural icons fall hard from grace, it is a miracle to find refuge in any kind of innocence. But a great clown can get us there, with the highest language of humor and pathos. Who better than the clown to bring us all together with what we already have, who can render the “everything all at once” of being human in high relief?

Send in the clowns? Don’t bother. They are in us all.

Sara Moore is a clown, actor, playwright, filmmaker, deviser & Director of The Clown Conservatory.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 Check out the upcoming ‘Clown’ class starting in September at Circus Conservatory in San Francisco  – HERE!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Categories
Clown Dance Mime Photography Variety Arts

George Carl – Physical Comedian

 

When I was living in Tribeca during the 1970’s I had a nice sized loft that doubled as my studio.

Once in a while I had a guest over and I requested that we do a ‘studio session’ with them.

One of my most memorable times was with George Carl. He came to visit with Francis Brunn.

George didn’t have his own show hat with him so we borrowed Natalie Enterline’s hat for the shot.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with George Carl’s physical antics you should check out his videos.

There are many on You Tube.

The one I especially like was taken in his back yard in the 1950’s at the early part of his career.

His was a genius!