Mom-O the Clown

Do you know what is a dentist's favorite time? "Tooth-hurty." Corny, yes! However this might be one of the jokes told by Mom-O-The Clown (Janis Brown) during one of her performances.

Through the trials of life, some of us listen to that little voice in our heads that tell us to pursue becoming a dentist, or a policeman, or even a writer. For a select few, that little voice tells them to become a professional clown.

"I just kept hearing that tiny voice saying, ‘become a clown,'" said Brown. "I didn't know the first thing about how to be a clown, so I just opened the phone book and started calling different places that could help me."

Brown had been employed at the same company for ten years. One day, due to company cutbacks and downsizing, she was let go. Caught completely by surprise, she had no idea what the future would hold.

"I figured that at this point I would give it a try. I had nothing else to lose."

So, out came the makeup, the wigs, large shoes and the balloon animals. The name was the easy part. Her grandson, many years back, always called her "Mom-O" and the name stuck. A little bit of practice and some well rehearsed magic tricks and Mom-O was ready for her first performance.

"It was a birthday party and it was the most disastrous time I have ever had. The children got up and walked out on me," she said. "I was bad. I was also a clown with real tears in my eyes."

Realizing her act could use a little refining, she began to attend conferences, meetings and schools. During a pause from performing at birthday parties, she would practice her act at local VA hospitals and children shelters.

Brown tries to put a positive spin on every thing she does so that the children can take something positive away from her shows.

"For the children at the shelters, a lot of them have had very little ‘funny' in their lives," she said. "So corny is just hilarious to them. I just love to see them laughing and rolling on the floor."

She spends many of her evenings volunteering at the Pauline Mayer Children's Shelter. She also performed face paintings at the Hornets home basketball games over the last two years.

Aside from being able to act comical for a living, Mom-O has a very supportive family.

"My husband and I have always said that if we would have known that I could make a career out of being a clown, I would have done it years ago," she said. "My husband has always been very supportive of me, although sometimes I think that he thinks I'm a little crazy," she explains with a laugh.

Mom-O's schedule has become so full that she created Agape Clowns, her own business with specialties such as Gospel Magic and Puppets. On days when she is not wearing face paint and a rainbow wig, she runs an antique business and enjoys hobbies such as being a china painter as well as stained glass and small canvases.

"I would have never thought in a hundred years that I was going to be a clown, and then find a way to make a living at it. Now, I am just going with the flow."

Agape Clowns are available for a number of different events. For a complete list call 348-6754.

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