~ The Checkerboard Guy's Blog ~

Archive for November 11th, 2009

Hospital Work

2009-11-11Where in the world am I today?: At Sea aboard the ISLAND Princess.

When thinking of taking comedy and clowning in to Hospitals you may instantly think of the 1998 Film staring Robin Williams “Patch Adams.” The real Patch Adams started the Gesundheit Institute in 1972 at least partially based on the notion that ‘Laugher is the best Medicine.’

Since the beginning of my career some 28 years ago I’ve had the chance to take my brand of funny into various care facilities. Some specifically set up for the elderly, others for children and various organizations and facilities around the world. Some of this work has been motivated by people who contact me directly from these health care facilities, others have been outreach programs that are associated with various festivals that I’ve had the pleasure of working with.

At the Edmonton Street Performer’s Festival this outreach program is given the title ‘Comedy Cares‘ and the image that accompanies this post was shot at a show I did Cross Cancer Institute this past Summer. I got to work on the fringes of the legendary ‘Clown Care Unit‘ set up by the Big Apple Circus when I attended a Street Performers Festival set up by performer Tim Settimi in Atlanta back in 2007. I’ve worked at various care facilities in Vancouver after people have approached me at the PNE and asked if I could do shows for them…

I think there are times as performers when we get so much from or audiences that there’s a certain social responsibility to give a little something back. Most times when I’ve worked for care facilities the payment takes the form of some sort of honorarium, but these small acknowledgements of payment are less important than the contribution that funny provides to people who are in these care institutions. It’s not easy work and you may have to adapt your material to adhere to various hospital’s policies, but bringing laughter to people in these situations is some of the most rewarding performing I’ve ever done.

I got an email this week from an organization that I had never heard of before called ‘Dr. Clown‘ who are looking for acts in the Toronto area to establish the work that they do there. If this sort of work has any appeal what so ever, this might be a good place to start. Even if you’re not specifically in Toronto, this organization, or others like Comedy Cares or The Clown Care Unit may be able to help you figure out how your brand of funny can bring laughter to those who need it the most.

Copyright © The Checkerboard Guy. All rights reserved.