It’s always a joy when I learn something cute from a child that I end up holding on to and sharing with others to make them smile. Recently, I met a young girl who could not wait to tell me her little pick-me-up speech. I loved it so much I had her record it on my phone so I could remember it. Here is what she said.

“I would like to thank my feet for always supporting me, and my arms because they are always by my side, and lastly my fingers because I can always count on them.”

So true and so funny, but how many of us can say that about a person in our life? Do you have a mentor? Someone who supports you, stands by your side as you learn and grow, someone you can always count on? I found someone like that recently in my life. It was like walking down a path and tripping over a rock, looking under it, and finding a golden treasure. I want to introduce her to you. Her name is Leslie Ann Akin, the author of a book titled A Fool’s Guide to Clowning.

I had heard about this book for some time before I got to meet Leslie. I had no idea she lived in a town thirty minutes away from me. Now that I know who she is and have read her book, I feel privileged to have her living so close that we can talk in person and I can give her gigantic clown hugs for all she has already done to help and encourage me.
Her book is not only great for clowns who have been clowning for years, but it is easy to read and she has great ideas our Junior Joeys could learn from as well. She teaches how to start a gag file, plan birthday party routines, and how to work a company picnic and restaurants, among other things. Her book is a resource you can turn to time and again, for funny one-liners you can use immediately, to refresh your memory on a particular lesson, and even to direct you to more books, suggested videos, and educational links.

Leslie was a hometown clown but also got to join the circus. I cried healing tears when I read that after all the circus training she received, she realized she did not need to be a circus clown to be a great clown. That was something I always wanted to do but have never had the opportunity, as I was raising my kids when I started clowning. She wrote that she realized she could have learned many of the same skills from local professionals, and like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, she did not have to leave home to discover what was already inside her and within her reach.

Another thing I love about Leslie’s book is that the routines she shares are funny, and I was able to immediately put a few of them into a show I recently created, as well as some of my walk-around work. I love her ideas on how to clown with minimal props and how to collect funny lines that get giggles every time. She gives away tried-and-true material and encourages you to expound on her ideas to make them even better.

Leslie mentors because she loves clowning and the people who are carrying on the art form she devoted her life to. She proved her mentor heart to me when she took Uber a long distance to see my show. It meant the world to me to have her there. I really expected to hear some strong critique, but instead she made me feel like clowning for the rest of my life, pointing out all the things I did right before giving me ideas on how to improve and make my act even funnier.

If you need a business card, flyer, or postcard, she does that too. She is known as “The Brand Boss” and recently did some design work for our Jr. Joey YouTube channel. I hope all of you get a chance to read her book and even talk with her at a Zoom Meeting.

To purchase A Fools Guide to Clowning visit:

Regina Wollrabe, Jr. Joey Director
Clowns of America International
The New Calliope Magazine, July 2018