After graduating from West Georgia in 1987, Jay Stewart pursued his Master’s degree in Theatre and Communication at Wake Forest University. While doing research for his Thesis project, Jay came across several references to The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Clown College. Professors and directors had always commented that Jay “fell down well”, so he took a chance and was happy to be accepted to the Clown College Class of 1989. This led to a two year stint as a Clown on The Greatest Show on Earth, touring the nation and performing for massive audiences beneath the Big Top. Following his dreams to Las Vegas, Nevada, Jay performed for two years in “The Three Stooges, Live!”, as Moe, Larry, and with the help of a fat suit, even Curly! Jay was also lucky enough to be asked to teach at the Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey Circus Clown College for its last five years of operation–slapstick technique, classic gags and character development. What an honor!
Along the way, Jay met and fell in love with a funny, beautiful Clown, Kristin, and they got married, with lots of Clowns and Stooges in attendance. Life on the road beckoned, and the couple ended up in Tokyo, Japan, performing for the Kinoshita Circus, with their 8 month old daughter, Karen, along for the ride! She was a real trooper! The Ringling Bros. called again, and this time, Jay, Kristin and Karen went out on the road as a family, with Jay taking the position of “Boss Clown” for the Clown Alley. About a year went by, and Nicholas, their son, was born, as they say, with “sawdust in his veins.” Being raised in Clown Alley, amid 18 wacky funsters had a huge impact on the kids–one that may not be fully realized until they are older, and throwing pies for themselves!
As the kids grew, Jay and Kristin opted to give them a “normal” life, and left the road, relocating to Myrtle Beach, SC, where they started their own Clown troupe, “The Seaside Clowns”, performing daily, up and down the Grand Strand, most notably at the historic Myrtle Beach Pavilion, a 60 year old beach-front amusement park.
Jay is also a proud member of the NY Goofs Ultimate Clown School, and has had occasion to perform with The Goofs in New York and other locations, as well as performing in Liu Zhou, Shanghai, Hang Zhou and Bengbu, China, with the AEMI International Clown Festivals. And, having relocated again–this time, to Cape Cod, Massachusetts–Jay is thrilled to have been the Clown Coach for Circus Smirkus, Vermont’s International Award Winning Youth Circus, which tours New England all summer. And, Jay can be found at Fenway Park, performing for lots of Boston Red Sox home games, as a 9 foot, stilted Red Sox player–any position on the field, except Short Stop!
Jay is currently the Supervisor for the Laughter League at Boston Children’s Hospital, providing room to room visitation and humor therapy, and proving that “laughter really is the best medicine” for the patients, their families and the hospital staff. Bringing the Clown into the hospital setting, and using his “bag of tricks” to help people through some very difficult times, is a challenge and a joy.
For over 25 years, Jay has been very happy to make his living playing the fool.
2019 Main Course: