Is America really in the grip of a clown shortage?
'No' says angry clown leader, who says he was misquoted, but figures indicate a serious decline
THE US is not suffering from a shortage of clowns, the head of America's largest clown trade organisation insisted yesterday.
A spate of articles proclaiming the death of clowning followed a report by the New York Daily News yesterday warning of an imminent clown shortage across North America.
Glen Kohlberger, the president of Clowns of America International, sparked concerns when he apparently told the New York Daily News: "What's happening is attrition. The older clowns are passing away."
But talking to website The Gothamist, Kohlberger later claimed: "The Daily News misquoted me... I never said there was a shortage of clowns... she fabricated the story [using] snippets of what was said, ignoring the real information. There is NO fear of a clown shortage in the US. Clown of America International is doing very well."
Before Kohlberger's clarification, many other publications picked up the story. Even Time magazine ran an article headlined The US's Clown Shortage Is No Laughing Matter. Author Jacob Davidson asserts that there isn't as much work for clowns as there used to be. "Last year, the circus giant Ringling Brothers invited only 14 clowns out of 531 applicants to attend its 14-day bootcamp at the company's clown college," he writes. "Just 11 of those who attended the camp were offered jobs, and the circus's entire roster consists of only about 26 clowns to work across Ringling Bros's three different circuses."
Many publications, including the Independent, picked up on Kohlberger's quote that prospective clowns are being put off the profession because it doesn't have the same allure as it did in the past: "They go on to high school and college and clowning isn't cool anymore," Kohlberger reportedly told the New York Daily News. "Clowning is put on the back burner until their late 40s and early 50s."
But Kohlberger said this quote also failed to represent his actual views. "This article was the reporter's fabrication and sensationalising to sell newspapers," he told The Gothamist.