Some of you might have an inkling of my interpersonal status, and the perils I face in pursuit of carnal bliss. If you don’t, and just can not possibly live another day with out knowing, read A Fairly Quiet Rant.
Recently I went on a short tour, and spent a fair amount of time on passenger rail across the US. I met a man on the train that was more intrigued by my career than put off by it, so we had a lengthy chat about Clowning, and the history of it. Now dear Readers, when I say man, I mean total hottie.
Within our conversation, he asked “What kind of performers have influenced you to be a clown?”
Of course I spout out a bunch of obvious answers, of who I would watch as a kid and wanted to emulate. Not really wanting to delve too deeply into the psychology of Clowns, I gave him names of actors, actresses, and their bodies of work. He then asked me “What is it about these specific performers that made you keep going back to essentially study them?”
As conversations go on a train, we were easily distracted by announcements from the conductors, and passers by. Subsequently, the answer never saw the interior of that train. I have been revisiting that question again and again: What is it about these performers that keeps me coming back?
This question made me take a deeper look, and I started a list of the people who have left an indelible mark on my specific brand of humor. The list of influences is lengthy! So to use the K.I.S.S. method (Keep It Simple Stupid), I will start way up at the top. One of the most important influence has probably been Phyllis Diller. Always with the incredibly bad wig, the eye bending costumes, goofy shoes, and smart gloves.
Phyllis Diller is possibly one of the funniest people to have lived. Her ability to break down laughing at her own jokes is endearing. I love the look she gets in her eye when she is on a one liner run. That twinkle is the twinkle of truth. As if her whole routine is therapy for her. If she says it to the people she is talking about she might ruin relationships, but saying it on stage turns it cathartic.
She also calls out the house wife and mother roles. She reminds her audience that these are not as easy nor ad glamorous as we all want to believe they are. She puts both in a light that makes her audience know that it is okay to be human.