Clown Phobia and Baseball
I was hired by Liquid Sky Entertainment to perform at The Battery outside SunTrust stadium before Braves home baseball games. I've had a lot of fun working with the artist there.
Clown phobia is an issue at the baseball stadium too. I'm performing as a clown. I'm even wearing a big red nose while I perform, something I don't usually do in the hospital. In this environment, I've been aware of how the same dynamic is real regarding clown phobia. Some people have expressed a fear of clowns. That said, I've always found a willing and eager audience at the baseball stadium. Most of the better interactions I've had are with young children. It's not hard to find a child who wants to play. Juggling has been my primary skill in the work. Often I will see a child who wants to juggle and have fun. This makes my job easier. When the child is laughing and having fun, you can almost guaranty that the adults are enjoying themselves too.
I have met a few people who are afraid of clowns. It's usually pretty easy to avoid these people, after all, if they really are so scared, they will avoid me. Some people are on the fence. They might want to see me, or they might not. Many of these people can be won over, but I have to earn it. I can usually do a hat or juggling trick for them. If I continue to see that they don't like me, then I just move on. As I mentioned earlier, it's not hard to find a willing audience. There's no point in wasting my time trying to win someone over who clearly doesn't want to see me. I'm sure that someone else will want to see me.
As usual, most of the people who express a clown phobia are teenagers. They tend to be self-conscious of their image. Often this is a binary dynamic with teens. Either they flat out don't want to be seen with you, or they think clowns are cool. The best practice is to meet your audience where they are. Pay attention to how they behave when they see you. Are they looking at you with a big smile on their face, full of expectation about what might happen next? If so, then proceed with your best clown material to meet that expectation. If however, they are slow to receive you and seem to be uninterested, then try something that doesn't demand their participation. Maybe something they can watch from a distance. Allow them the opportunity to warm up to you. Acknowledge their feelings everything from their excitement to their apprehension.
At these baseball games, my props have been my bowler style juggling hat, bean bags, clubs, baseball bats. Those things and of course my clown nose.