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My favourite clowns - Which is not unduly obvious, as I am about to explain
My favourite clowns
In Toronto there are a pair of clowns that I really like. Now before you start rolling your eyes saying Ugh, clowns! - these aren't your typical clowns, and they don't work for a circus. I can understand an antipathy or annoyance towards circus-type clowns. Like any costumed public performer, it takes practice to (1) actually be funny and entertaining, and (2) have an intuitive sense to tell when your audience is uncomfortable with you. Some of the best clowns I ever saw were with Cirque du Soleil. And then of course there's also the notion of "clown" as practiced by certain Native American tribes where it's more of a jester/social-and-political-satirist job.

...I seem to have wandered. My favourite clowns from Toronto are Mump and Smoot. They are friggin' artists at what they do. (Pardon my language.) I've seen two full shows of theirs, as well as a presentation of their students. Great stuff. cjthomas can back me up here; he came to one of the shows with me, entitled, "Flux". Most of their show titles are rather silly and are better when prefaced with the phrase, "Mump & Smoot in ...", for example, "Ferno", "Something", and "Something Else (with Zug)".

How to describe their work? They speak largely in gobbledegook, and yet you can still understand a lot of what they're saying. Their body language speaks volumes, cartoonishly. They can improvise seamlessly when something interrupts them in the theatre. They occasionally descend into violence or the macabre. They make you feel for them, joy, sorrow... They are simply amazing actors.

At this point I would love to talk about skits from their shows, but... nah, that would take too long. Thankfully, finally, some videos of them have showed up on YouTube. Not from the zenith of their career nor the best cinematography, but now you can see who I'm talking about: The Doctor, Part 1 and Part 2. Not suitable for young children.

(wolever, they're working on a new show, and there's a strong chance they'd come your way. A must-see if they do!)
2 comments or Leave a comment
niall_ From: niall_ Date: September 12th, 2009 03:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah, those kinds of clowns are good. I seem to find out that the most disturbing clowns are the ones that try to interact directly with the audience, often with children, while trying to talk down to them or forcing them to be entertained. Mump and Smoot have a story to tell and that will always draw you in, moreso when you have to think about what they're doing.

I found on YouTube several excerpts of my favourite childhood clowns from TV, and will make a post on it once I'm back home.
From: cjthomas Date: September 12th, 2009 07:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Endorsement seconded. I've seen "Flux" and "Something Else with Zug". They're like "nightmare fuel" played for laughs. It's very amusing, and they're very good at what they do.
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