A FOOL’S IDEA – PRESENTS: CHASE CULP
When we traveled to the South By South West Interactive, Music, Film & Comedy festival in March of 2013, we posted a call for help on our Facebook page. We asked if there were any clowns in the area that might be able to help us promote the series. The only reply we got was by a wonderful young circus clown from Houston, Texas. He showed us some love, so we decided to profile him, and introduce him to the Fool’s Idea community. Please show him some love back!
We would like you to be inspired and then support our project! We need your help now more then ever, so that we can continue to support the creative performing arts!
Please click here to support the documentation of creativity! http://www.patreon.com/blightprodutions
Clown is the moment you are born, your pure innocence, and the rest of your life you are trying to get it back again. — Jango Edwards
Click here for the series website: http://www.afoolsidea.com
The concept is simple: We are interested in exploring this crazy, powerful and historically amazing art form called “clown” and its practitioners. We also thought that there might be a few other people in the universe curious about what these amazing artists have to say, so we decided to find individuals who have dedicated their lives to the art of clowning and ask them questions about topics other creative people might be interested in.
Each episode (with the exception of a few specials) is focused around one thesis question. Once asked, each artist responds with his or her educated perspective on the matter. You might not agree with everyone, but doesn’t that make the conversation more exciting? Our goal is not to define concrete answers to each question, but rather to build a dialogue about creativity, performance, life experience, comedy and process.
This project is about more then just a web-series; it is about building community, collaboration and support for the performing arts all around the world. It’s about reconnecting with historical artistic traditions and discovering something new about yourself and the world in the process.
Everyone loves a clown whether they know it or not; however, the word “clown” has been bastardized in modern culture to the point where many people no longer remember its historical relevance or what it even is! The thoughts generated with the word “clown” are often negative in tone and associated with horror movies, serial killers and fast food. This is culturally and creatively irresponsible.
What most people have forgotten is that the clown has historically been a significant figure in almost every culture since the creation of fire. From the shamanic fools of ancient Native American cultures to the court jesters of the middle ages, clowns have always been there to remind us of our stupidity. When people spiral out of control, it’s up to the clowns to bring us back down to Earth. In its purest form, the clown is the greatest communicator in the world, able to transcend language and connect to an audience without words.
Before there was sound in film, it was clowns that ruled the big screen, from Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin, to Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy and W. C. Fields. Even as audio exploded on screen, the clown community still dominated with the likes of the Marx Brothers, Jackie Gleason and Red Skelton. The broad comedy of these early clowns was enjoyed and accessible beyond just an English speaking audience, thus creating connections of shared experience across cultural, social and language barriers. Over the years, comedy has become more culturally exclusive and based in intellect, so that it can no longer easily bridge cultural divides. Most modern comedians have a difficult time communicating culture-specific language-based jokes to an audience from a different nation. This kind of dysfunctional communication is well documented in films like Albert Brooks’ “Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World” and Philip Rosenthal’s “Exporting Raymond”. However, just like the golden years of silent film comedy, clown-based experiences such as “Slava’s Snowshow” and the many incarnations of Cirque du Soleil have had the ability to play all over the world and appeal to a broad audience, regardless of cultural background.
In a nutshell, the core concepts of what the world knows as comedy owes everything it is, was, and will ever be to the clown. The clown is our most basic human instincts, our worst fears and our greatest moments of joy. The essence of clown has nothing to do with makeup, oversized shoes and polka-dotted pajamas, although these elements help the performer exaggerate their character in different creative and fantastical ways. The essence of a clown has everything to do with the discovery of innocence, honesty, humanity and communication in the creative space.
“A Fool’s Idea” is our way of helping society learn how to rediscover its innocence so that we all can remember what it means to be human.
Brian A. Bernhard
Brian A. Bernhard