Tuesday, August 02, 2022

Danise Payne’s Memoir Available Now!

Danise Payne’s memoir, Elbows In My Ears: My Life With Little People, Tigers, and Wardrobe Trunks, was released yesterday, just in time for International Clown Week! I picked up my copy last night and can’t wait to dive in!

                                  PURCHASE HERE

Like many other African American women, Danise Payne graduated from a university and headed out into the world. But she finds herself spellbound on a different path and discovers her life's song includes elephants. 

Enter the circus. 

Elbows in My Ears uncovers a never-before-told tale of a black woman with a career among little people, tigers, and wardrobe trunks. Travel with Danise on a compelling journey inside the massive Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. View an all-black production called UniverSoul Big Top Circus. And witness her life as the first African American woman clown in a circus in Europe-a culture that is uncomfortable with women clowns. 

This intimate memoir reveals the author's encounters with prejudice, exclusion, and her fight for acceptance. It delivers adventures of hilarity and perseverance. What a testimonial to triumph over naysayers! Enjoy this behind-the-scenes peek at a traditional circus that will capture your imagination.

If you love stories that inspire you to live the desire of your heart regardless of obstacles, this must-read account invites you to join the pomp that caught national attention. 

About the Author

DANISE PAYNE holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in French and is a circus clown with twenty-five years' experience. She graduated from Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College in 1978 and toured with the Red and Blue Units of The Greatest Show on Earth. She has performed with five circuses and became the first African American woman clown in a circus in Europe. Ms. Payne was featured in Ebony magazine, on Entertainment Tonight, and NBC's Today show. She is a member of The Circus Fans Association of America, the Circus Historical Society, and the Screen Actors Guild. She and her husband live in Las Vegas, Nevada. Discover more: www.danisepayne.com

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Happy Birthday Scott O'Donnell!

All of us here at Clown Alley would like to wish Scott O'Donnell a very happy birthday! Scott has performed on circuses in Canada and the US, performed on AND ran Vidbel's Olde Time Circus, was Boss Clown and later a talent scout for Ringling, worked in management for Big Apple Circus, and is currently the Director of Circus World Museum in Baraboo, WI.
On top of all of that, he is an amazing friend and fantastic clown!

Here he is performing the classic boxing gag on Vidbel with Mike Snider, John "Eggroll" Kane, and ringmaster Billy Martin.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Milo and Roger

From Magicpedia:

Milo & Roger was the comedy and magic act of Arthur "Milo" Brandon (1916-1998) and Roger Coker (1930-1997). They traveled the world from the mid 1950s until well into the 1990s. 

They appeared on television many times around the world including "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson" and "The Hollywood Palace".[1][2][3]

After retiring, Milo Brandon gave Ted Lesley all of their equipment and the rights to perform the act.[4] Then a father and son team from Germany, Adi and Phillip Becker, purchased the equipment and rights with a goal to resurrect the act.[5][6]

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Remembering Pat Cashin

Pat Cashin, the founder and namesake of this blog, passed away six years ago today. He was one of the funniest people I've ever met, and his love for his family and the art of clowning was immeasurable.

Please feel free to leave any memories of Pat in the comments below.


Saturday, July 16, 2022

Cirkus Olympia: Toto and René

Toto Johnson and René Coker performing their laundry gag on Cirkus Olympia in Sweden during the 1990 season.

Toto and René performed a version of this gag as a Come In track gag on the Ringling Red Unit in 1989 before taking it to Sweden and making it an entrée. 

The next year John Winslow, their Clown College classmate and Red Unit Alley-mate, joined them for the Olympia 1991 season. 

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Mary Kelly Rayel


Please join me in wishing a very Happy Birthday to Clown College 1990 grad and trapeze superstar, Mary Kelly Rayel!