Coming up with a clown name can be tricky business, now more than ever!
As Shakespeare’s Juliet asked: “What’s in a name?”
People have asked me for over 20 years, “How did you choose the clown name Pricilla Mooseburger?” Scroll down to the end of this article to see the history of my eponymous origins.
How to come up with a clown name
Often I recommend folks use a nick name from childhood or family. This can be great because you already identify with it. It normally brings up fond memories and it is easy to connect to.
However — not ALL nicknames can be appropriate for a clown name.
For example, one of my customers who was a new clown had the nickname of PP as a kid. That was because his initials were P.P. He really wanted to use it as his clown name.
But…I had doubts.
Little kids love to giggle at potty humor, right? But “PP the Clown” may not get the response he is looking for. While the kids may laugh, they may be sidetracked by the name and not focus on the fun things this clown was trying to do. And it lacks professionalism if he wanted to be taken seriously for corporate gigs. I did suggest PePe, pronounced “pep-pay”, rather than “pee-pee”. It was still a version of his initials, but does not sound like it’s related to going to the potty!
What is your hobby?
Another idea is to come up with a name that is related to a hobby you might have. A new clown had cars as a hobby. He liked the clown name “Turbo”. In the Wreck-It Ralph movie, Turbo was a bad guy. But in the cartoon series Turbo FAST, he was a good guy! It’s tough to know what would be the right thing to do in that situation.
Another clown used “Shifty” as his clown name. Hmmmmm. My only guess was this clown loved cars. I can’t imagine any other reason for using Shifty. But maybe he was a tramp clown? Funny thing is, this clown was in charge of a fund raiser for a very good cause. “Make your check out to Shifty the Clown” was written on the promotional material. Huh. This could be a problem. But is sure was funny, even if he didn’t intend it!
Clown Name Tips:
- Take a little time when coming up with a clown name. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have an epiphany right away.
- Talk to some non-clown friends to see what they think of your choices.
- Do some research by Googling it online and see what the most common results pertain to. If it’s something negative or trademarked, you may want to re-think the way you spell it or pronounce it.
- Unless you are truly open a wide range of reactions, I would advice you to stay away from VERBS. Examples: Rob the clown. Scratch the Clown. Goose the Clown. Punch the Clown. See what I mean? Unkind people may give you some un-funny treatment as a result.
- Bounce the possibilities off of some little kids and get their reaction before you order your name tags!!!!
In the end you can change your name if you pick one and it doesn’t really work out. I know a clown who changed her clown name 4 times in 2 years, and the final one she stumbled upon was really perfect — and it came about completely by accident. Sometimes it’s all in the timing; hers was two years in the making!
Remember: Your audience doesn’t really care that much about your name. It’s YOU they care about and how YOU make them feel!
You are their clown! Be special!
Where did the clown name Pricilla Mooseburger come from?
“How did you get your clown name?” It’s a question I get asked a lot.
When I was on the circus with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus we did not use clown names. We wanted folks to know our real names and see them in the program. But when I left the RBBB circus I got a job through Ringing at Disneyland in a program called “The Circus at Disneyland”. We had to wear name badges. “Tricia the Clown” seemed awfully dull!!
The next year when I went back to Disney for the program, I decided I needed a fun clown name. I was in a medicine show called: Professor Sprockett Weebuckle’s Potion Lotion Elixir Hair Tonic and Gear Lube Show with…Tricia the Clown?? That clown name would not work!
I really struggled until I remembered a funny name I had used in high school. You got it, it was Pricilla Mooseburger!
Where did it come from? Well, my high school speech team coach told us he worked for a woman while in college whose real name was actually Pricilla Mooseburger. As a teen, I had used it as a nickname and even had stationary with it on “from the desk of Pricilla Mooseburger”.
Well, my circus friends loved it! They thought it was hilarious. My home-town clown friends who had been clowning a long time did not like it! They thought it was too hard for little kids to say. They said I should have a name like Jingles, or Buttons, or Sparkles. Now — don’t get me wrong — I like those names, but they just weren’t me.
So I went with “Pricilla Mooseburger” for my white-face clown character. I really helped me define my character and eventually my brand. Plus, I LOVE the look on little kids’ faces when I tell them my ridiculous-sounding name!
But now I perform in my whiteface makeup less and less these days. You may have heard I have a new character: Miss Moose! (It is still short for Pricilla Mooseburger, of course.) But it fits the crazy auguste character much better.
What is your clown name?
How did YOU come up with it?
Have any cautionary tales about questionable clowns names, or advice on how to pick a good one?
Post a comment below and let me know!
Mooseburger Clown Arts Education has been running one of the world’s most well-rounded clown schools since 1996. Performers from all over the globe travel to Minnesota each summer for a fun and intensive clown training program. Each aspect of our clown camp is designed to meet your needs and boost your confidence as an entertainer.
Whether you want to join the circus, visit nursing homes, run your own birthday party business, paint faces, or twist balloons, there is something just for you at Mooseburger Clown Arts Camp.
Or call me toll-free to discuss your education and see if Mooseburger is the right fit for you: 800-973-6277
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