An ancient Japanese legend promises that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish by a crane.
Similarly, we clowns have an ancient legend that First Clown will grant a wish to anyone who delivers a thousand pies in the face.
Clowns provide many surprising gifts but none are quite as powerful as a pie in the face when it comes to pleasing First Clown enough for wish granting.
We do not ordinarily count how many balloons we have twisted. I know colleagues who have undoubtedly re-enacted that ritual well over a thousand times. Balloon twisting also goes back to the ancient times. Early clown shaman twisted the intestines of sacrificial animals into the basic dog/ quadruped sculpture. It symbolized a resurrection and primacy of breath as life. The dog/ quadruped was also sacrificed to indicate the inevitable end of human creation.
We do not ordinarily count how many faces we have painted or arms tattooed/ bejeweled. We accept that these are a constant part of the ancient tradition of body decoration/ modification. The clown shaman performed a magical transformation on members of their tribe with pigmentation and design. We call for the characteristics of animal totems or admirable human role models when we assume their faces. We recognize this practice as part of the infinite flowing process of becoming. The face paint washes off and the tattoos/ jewels are only temporarily affixed in place.
A pie delivered to a willing face is a different matter. Although it is also symbolic of things ephemeral, the memory of that sudden moment lasts a great deal longer than most complicated multi-balloon sculptures, full face paintings, or even arm-length henna tattoos. It has to do with the trust generated between the clown, the clowned, and those around. A pie delivered as a spectacle can help those in attendance to face their fear and believe that in spite of it all there is sweetness in life.
While soliciting donations toward the 1000th pie in the face expedition, I was asked whether I had documentation for each of the pied faces I’ve been claiming.
Yes and No.
When I pied the first face on April Fool’s of 2007 I never imagined I would be celebrating the 1000th now.
It took a year for things to get rolling. On April Fool’s of 2008 I set out to see just how many I could do in a day by bartering and bundling with other visits. [It was eight.]
My birthday is also in April, so I made pies available to guests at the party. Eleven more faces.
I brought a pie to a family member’s 60th birthday and thought ahead to bring extra whipped topping. Sure enough, FIVE more people agreed to accept pies.
I (almost) always have people sign a waiver, and I (almost) always take a photo.
Problems with the Waivers
- I haven’t kept all the waivers!
- I don’t usually date the waivers.
- I continue to use waiver sheets when there are blank lines left.
- Sometimes people get in line without signing up.
- Sometimes people sign and never show up for their pie.
- I can’t always read the names because of the GIANT PENCIL and because sometimes the children’s handwriting is illegible anyway.
Problems with the Photos
I have sometimes had technical difficulties with my camera during a pie-ing.
- Sometimes I haven’t brought it.
- Sometimes the batteries run out.
- Sometimes I accidentally leave the SD card in the computer.
- Sometimes the hosts or guests at a party have their own cameras, and I think I don’t need to prove anything. I think I don’t need to spend my time processing & uploading all those before/ during/ and after shots.
- Sometimes I forget to take the picture.
- Sometimes an assistant is taking pictures, and they miss the shot.
It was the Fremont Solstice Parade of 2008 where the count got a little blurry. I estimated that I had done 15 pies in 90 minutes for a new personal best. It brought the total to ABOUT ~45. I estimated based on the number of dirty pie pans and empty canisters of whipped topping I had at the end of the parade route.
Let me tell you what qualifies and what does not qualify as a pied face for this count.
- any sized pie that I personally hand deliver to a face
- any sized pie that I provide to an assistant which is hand delivered to a face (including mine)
- any sized pie that I provide to a willing face, who then hand delivers it to their own face
- each new pie-ing occasion of a face. (i.e. I pied Bill Fleming on different days, each had a separate count)
- any delivery of whipped topping directly to the mouth as long as some spills beyond the lips
- a face that receives whipped topping by accepting or initiating a kiss with a pied face
What Doesn’t Count
- multiple pie-ings of the same face at the same event (i.e. The kid who says ‘Again, again, again!’ is counted only once)
- pie-ing myself once a day just to boost the numbers
- having an assistant pie me on a regular basis to boost the numbers
- pie-ing animals
- pie-ing inanimate faces (statues, paintings, dolls, action figures)
I update the count on Twitter as soon as possible after each delivery. It feeds to Facebook. I then switch the count on Jusbytheclown.com.
Indiegogo Campaign is up and running…
I took the opportunity of my aunt’s wedding to schedule a clown quest with my wife and son to Washington DC from October 2nd- 9th, 2013.
1000th Pie in the face for… Somebody
I deliver pies in the face to willing faces only. As of today I have delivered pies to ~962 willing faces. I believe the pie-in-the-face symbolizes innocence, purity, new beginnings, and the sweetness of life.
A willing face HAD agreed to rendezvous with us on the 8th, so we booked our flights to coordinate with his schedule. However, he abruptly walked away from the project, and our tickets are non-refundable & non-transferable. Typical clown reversal of fortune.
Click on the link or picture above to help crowd-fund this project. Some great perks are offered in exchange for your generosity.
This is a preview of a limited edition, hand silk-screened T-shirt. The first batch is only 20 shirts. 10 Large, 5 XL, & 5 XXLs. And Six of these have been claimed. For a supportive gift of $25 you can have one.
You could also receive: Pie shaped soap, a DIY Pie-in-the-face Kit, a Pie shaped paver stone, the NW guide to clowns, the original Flaming Pies, and much more… including discounted services or a party every year FOR LIFE!
I returned to Unity of Centralia today to deliver a message about Laughter Yoga and the Sacred Fool. It was full of hysterical stories of historical and prehistorical clown pie rituals. I also quoted liberally from Monica Drake‘s essay “The Clown Continuum” in which she describes getting pied.
I got 8 more willing faces to accept the sacramental pie including one woman whose birthday just so happened to be today.
“Bapak Utan” sang “Ol’ King Kong” by Sandman the Rappin’ Cowboy.
I read “A Birthday Clown for Archer” by Kathy Mashburn about a boy who convinces his coulrophobic mother to hire a clown for his birthday. After all, it’s HIS BIRTHDAY!
PLEASE MOM PLEASE MOM PLEASE MOM j/k. He’s a nice kid that Archer. Not like some people’s kids. This lady here has a kid. The middle kid. I worked with him. I have lots of notes. A real sweet heart and funny guy but he could turn on you, start throwing crayons faster than you can say Jack Asperger’s.
In March, I came out to Elliot’s 7th birthday to pie his parents. He wasn’t interested in a pie for himself, but his friends lined up.
For his 7th birthday, I pied 7 faces, I hit the 777th mark and passed it, reaching 782.
One of the guests was a boy named Malakie who was VERY into getting pied,
So.. his mother asked me to show up for HIS 7th birthday.
We did 9 willing faces, most of them LARGE pies, including his mom. Current total is ~873, almost a hundred more in less than two months!
Unprecedented 63 Pied Faces! New Total ~864
If you rcv’d a free pie-in-the-face, please Like Jusby’s fcbk page to show your appreciation and continue to get announcements about special offers.
Also that way we can tag, share, & comment to our hearts’ content!
I got a call around 11 AM from California. A mom’s travel plans had fallen through, so she was looking to surprise her son with a pie-in-the-face delivery that evening. She used to plan elaborate theme parties for him, so when he had heard the news he remarked, “You’re not coming? What, no clown either?”.
Quickly google-ing, she found a clown offering “a twist” on traditional birthday clown services: C’est Moi!
Jonathan is turning 23. He’s a senior at Evergreen, my alma mater. He’s the proud father of a 6 week old. I asked him, “Is it too early to ask what you’re doing next?”
“Graduate school,” he answered without hesitation.
“Well, there is one economical alternative in post-baccalaureate certification I can recommend: the food handlers’ permit!” (said while donning fingerless dishwashing gloves)
His mom originally scheduled me for a 6:30 delivery, but pushed it back until after 7.. which coincidentally had me arrive during the middle of another epic hailstorm.
Neither rain nor sleet nor dark of… afternoon… will stay this clown from the sloppy delivery of his appointed pies!
First of May Intern, “Spontgomery” debuted today for a 3 hour party in rain and hail. He translated, juggled, and documented these 8 faces getting pied.
New Total ~792 Willingly Pied Faces
We arrived on schedule and were told to wait a bit longer, which is hard when you’re in clown and people can see you and want to begin interacting with you, so we unloaded as slowly as we could and began to set up the comprehensive equipment.
We were expected to entertain for a THREE HOUR PARTY, so it included:
- Enjoying a meal
- A trunk full of pre-made balloons courtesy of Ken Trombley of Chehalis
- Mardi Gras bead dogs
- The soundtracks of Cars & Cars 2 playing through my kindle & audio reinforcement system
- Dancing in the rain, lip-synching & playing air guitar to “Hotel California” (their jukebox)
- no faces were painted due to inclement weather, but I was prepared to do characters from Cars (cheats were loaded on the kindle)
- Playing in and under the parachute in the hail
- a short demonstration of magic scarves & juggling
- working pinata safety
- distributing goody bags
- cutting (sloppily) and serving cake to ~50 guests [I could bring my own candles (they forgot to get some), knife, & serving utensil]
- delivering Mexican flag toothpicks to cakes & hamburgers
- and although I had almost THREE PAGES of sign-ups, only 8 faces were actually willing
It was a good day to be a clown.
I was a few years ahead of the Drunk Baby Meme when I wrote these.
I was at the birth of our pal Gavin when I started inventing these jokes to distract and amuse his mom. I posted them to an old livejournal account in 2003. Luckily, I kept it archived, so here it is for no reason other than to continue the theme of going in bars (Oly Pub Crawl, Chive Meet-Up, Bloodwrestling at the Urban Onion).
A baby walks into a bar and orders a milk. The bartender says, “I can’t serve you. Don’t you see the sign. It says No Minors!”
The baby says, “I’m not a miner, I’m a baby!”
The bartender says, “Get outta here and go home to your mother”.
Well, if you were in labor you might laugh.
An hour or so later I came up with this one.
Another baby walks into another bar and orders a milk. The bartender asks, “Have you got any ID?” The baby reaches into his diapers and pulls out his sonogram.
The bartender says, “How do I know this is you?”
The baby says, “What do ya mean? That’s my nose, that’s my thumb I’m sucking! See, that’s me!”
After a moment the bartender says, “Hey! You gotta be 21 YEARS old, not 21 WEEKS old! Get outta here!”
A baby walks into a bar and orders a double shot of their best cream with a binky chaser and says to “put it on my tab!”.
The bartender asks, “Who do you think you are!?”
The baby says, “Aw, Daaad, you know me!”
A baby crawls into a bar and pulls himself up onto a stool and says, “A bottle of your house white.” Then he notices the well-endowed barmaid and quickly corrects himself, “On second thought, whatever you have on tap.
and just because I’ll be subbing in Kindergarten next week, another baby meme – Success Kid!
As the 6th month approached I realized that I had some hot gigs on the burner, so I put off my recap until after the April Fool’s service. Then I waited until I had something to report about the Spring Break Clown Camp… Pretty soon it was Summer Clown Camp, and then it was National Clown Week. That’s when I found out that all of her sites had been hacked and she was not able to do the follow-up article after all.
Now it’s been 14 months since the first article. Here are the updates I was going to share with Becky Cortino.
In “Launch”, Michael Stelzner emphasized the power and necessity of collaboration, and his examples and suggestions helped me focus on a better collaboration strategy. Per the suggestions in “Launch”, I have continued to seek out and involve Other Great People and “exchanging offerings” with them. Notably, I actively recruited successful peers and industry experts to visit the local clown alley, the Red Nose Brigade. I convinced Guinness World Record Winner, Alex “the Zaniac” Zerbe, to give a skill share workshop. He later called me needing a pie-in-the-face consultation for a regional library promo video he was shooting.
Each year around Halloween I spend time working with the scary clown stereotype instead of against it. I did three consecutive years at the Tumwater Halloween House. On the third year the owner also accepted a pie-in-the-face, and I inaugurated a scarier look complete with prosthetic teeth.
In 2011, I negotiated with several non-profits for an 11 night run as a scary clown in a Haunted Firehouse. In addition to cash and logo placement on the flier, one perk was a pair of season tickets to a local theater.
I sponsored a successful 10 week “First of May” internship with an Evergreen State College student, who studied clowning through a Marxist feminist lens. This gave me a chance to reflect on suitable reading and viewing lists. Books included: “Pie any means necessary” (the Biotic Baking Brigade), “Clown Girl” (Drake), and “the Death of Ben Linder” (Kruckewitt). I shared videos ranging from Danny Kaye in “The Court Jester” to Chaplin’s “the Circus” to the inner city Krumpin’ Clowns of “Rize” and the spacey clowns of Cirque du Soleil. She accompanied me on a variety of gigs: a parade, a birthday, a drive-by pieing, several workshops and spring break clown camp. I introduced her to a half-dozen members of the local clown community, and she interviewed them for a wider perspective on the craft.
My Laughter Yoga practice has also grown beyond the free weekly club meeting at the Olympia Unitarian Universalist Congregation (OUUC). A PE teacher from Elma hired me to give a lecture-demo for her school’s staff meeting, and the Olympia Occupy Solidarity Social Forum invited me to give two workshops.
Since April Fool’s fell on a Sunday this year, I coordinated with the minister, worship arts committee, and eight clown confederates on a church service around the theme of “How Humor Serves the Soul”. I led a Laughter Greeting & Laughter Meditation portion.
Several Sundays later I led a church service at the OUUC on the topic of “Laughter: opens minds, fills hearts, and transforms lives” partnered with another Certified Laughter Yoga Leader. We made the connection between the church’s mission statement and the use of laughter as a tool to achieve those goals. After the service I was approached by a man from a smaller church to the south. They don’t currently have a minister and they share the responsibility for a weekly message. His official title may be President of the Board, but he was actually also a talent scout. He offered to hire me to do a service for them.
I was the “2011 Best of Olympia” Staff Pick in Tacoma’s Weekly Volcano for “Best Pie (in the face)”.
I also got good publicity by offering a free class in “Esoteric Red Nose Clowning” at Waves, a local dance studio, as part of their Community Event Nights. A reporter from Olympia Power & Light attended, and his article made the front page.
I hosted a spring and a summer Clown Camp. I taught a total of eleven students, and I was able to bring in five additional part-time counselors. The larger success, however, wasn’t the number of students who actually enrolled, but the scope of the advertising I was able to achieve by partnering with the Parks & Recreation department. They published several photos with the camp description in their catalog that went to thousands and thousands of locations. The school districts allowed me to send fliers home to students because the parks department is a non-profit organization. After the spring camp I decided to upgrade my flier and made a deal with local illustrator, Chelsea Baker. She stays busy drawing a 4 panel comic every day. It was the best advertising investment I’ve ever made.
It was my 3rd year pieing at Festival of Purim and 2nd with a large entourage of clowns. The rabbi was on sabbatical, but I’ve already pied him twice. This year I stayed for the whole megillah.
It’s come down to a “Go Big or Go Home” mentality. Technically, it’s a “Go Big and THEN Go Home” thing. If other clowns sometimes offer a 2nd clown, I like to offer half a dozen. I like to arrange a multi-clown team to accommodate the balloons, Laughter Yoga, singing, dancing, and piñata bashing. Clown OVERKILL is really my favorite thing. It’s especially efficient when we’re doing one-on-one activities like face painting and balloon twisting.
Some clowns work in pairs. I like to roll about 5 deep whenever possible. I keep a clown in every corner and one in center stage. Guess who gets center stage.
Over a year ago, I entered a contest to win a copy of Michael Stelzner’s book “Launch”. This was my application>
My greatest marketing challenge is reaching beyond the ‘low hanging fruit’ of birthday parties and clowning/ comedy consulting/ laughter yoga as a sideline. My goal is to parlay 10 years of experience in education to book enough school gigs, clown camps, and adult “playshares” (they’re not workshops) to pay the rent each month. I have reached the salary ceiling as a para-educator, and always run up against the same fearful, fatalistic, and authoritarian attitudes regarding students. It’s always: Walk! Quiet! You’ll lose your recess! That’s sloppy! Quit fooling around! #2 Pencils Ready! Line Up!
I’ve read Godin and Stratten and Baskin and Shankman.
I deliver FREE pie-in-the-face to published authors as a special celebration for their achievement (1st class travel and accommodation the responsibility of the piee). [See my blog for pics of Patch Adams, Monica Drake, Charlie Williams, et. al]
I think Stelzner’s new book Launch will help me take the next uncanny leap of my career. It doesn’t hurt that his name looks like Seltzer… hey, I can see a photo op in that… I hope he’s got a sense of humor.
(p.s. send me a msg if you want the password to the slightly risque “6 Ways to p/u Jusby”)
Then I made a direct appeal via instant message to as many fcbking friends as I saw online before the contest closed.
I was able to get 44 votes to my rival’s 13. A roaring success. A landslide election sweep.
The book arrived, and I absorbed its marketing ideas and added them to my uniqueness. The prize also included a series of interviews (valued at $1500) to be published on Becky Cortino’s blog. After the jump is a recreation of the first one. Her website has since crashed and simply refers everyone to fcbk. The 6-9 month follow-up article never happened.