Hospital Clowning: From Crying to Curious

Friday, March 16th 2018


It’s my first time partnering with Dr. Joekulele (the next newest member of the team), and we are not bad!  I enjoy his games with kids where he continually fails to guess their name, and also when he reflects on how old he was when he was their age.  lol.  OMG he has a mini dry-erase board in his pocket onto which he can draw some “X’s” that magically disappear, reappear and flit around.  It is my favorite magic I’ve seen in a long time and I have no idea how he does it.   And check him out on harmonica!  

2018-03-16 Laughter League Joekulele Harmonica [17 seconds]:

(I am trying to back him up with the tambourine in my hair. )



Emoji, emoticon - cryingIn a room a baby is crying.  We drop some melody on him in a pitch high intended to reach around his cries.  He perks up in curiosity and quietly soaks up our rendition of Knick-Knack Pattywhack.  Then as always it is time for us to float on out of there.  At least he doesn’t start crying again just yet.



owl professorIn the lobby a boy teaches me two knock knock jokes which I mix in with one of the very next patients we visit; a four year old girl stoically building a playdough strawberry (with only one hand).  She wouldn’t give up a smile or speak for any of our efforts until we finally hit upon knock knock jokes.  Turns out both her smile AND voice are adorable.


4) KNOCK KNOCK 1-2-3:owls

  1. Knock knock.  Who’s there.  “Who.”  Who who?        What are you and owl or something?
  2. Knock knock.  Who’s there.  “Boo.”  Boo who?              Aw it’s okay, don’t cry!
  3. Knock knock.  Who’s there.  “Tide.”  Tide who?          Tide of knock knock jokes yet?



Walking by the Ultrasound waiting room we are behind schedule but there is a pow!patient with his parents in there.  I stop to play my music box against the window (now “Pink Panther” instead of “If I Only Had a Brain“).  They love it and mom wants to take a photo.  We pose through the window and of course Joe bangs his head on the window trying to get his hat back on.  I can hear their laughter as we head down the hall and it feels very satisfying to get such a great hit in under a minute.


elevator-clipart-1Waiting for one of the many elevator rides we take throughout the day, the door opens upon a family with a girl holding her own IV pole.  “Going up?” her dad asks.  “Nope sorry we’re going down,” we say.  The elevator door starts to close as the girl gasps and says, “Oh!  Come up to my room!”  The door shuts and regrettably aren’t able to follow her but that is exactly the kind of sentiment we aim to foster around here.  Forget illness, let’s PLAY!


In the morning we receive a call from one of the Child Life Specialists letting us know that a patient who loves us has made and displayed a portrait of a clown out of pom-poms, proudly displayed it on his door and would love for us to come pay a visit and see.   After lunch we manage a special trip and have a wonderful visit.  The kid speaks little English but his dad translates and we do his bidding, rewarded by fabulous laughter.  “Thank you so much!” his mom says, “You are part of my son’s wellness.

I even make it out of there before any tears leak out at all.

I am simply so honored and humbled by the privilege of  this work.

About circuskitchen

performing artist, mom, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, niece... just a regular extraordinary person
This entry was posted in art, childhood, comedy, education, faith, family, fight, health, Hospital Clowning, Laughter League, learning, love, making art, mental health, parenthood, patience, Performing Life, ukeoke, ukulele, work and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Hospital Clowning: From Crying to Curious

  1. Bubble Wow says:

    You are a doctor after all. Just took another tack.

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