A Throwback Thursday Offering
When I was a kid, one of the top after-school TV shows was Bozo’s Circus. Bozo would cavort with forced glee in front of a live audience composed solely of screaming humans of the non-adult persuasion.
Between cartoons, he would engage in intellectually stimulating activities like “accidentally” hitting himself on the foot. But my favorite activity was Joke Time, during which the on-set meemies were invited to run up, face the camera, and blurt out their jolliest japes.
One day, as I tucked into my milk and cookies, a beefy ten-year-old (let’s call him Stevie) rushed forward, shouting, “Me! Me!” Bozo grinned, maybe (who could tell under all that greasepaint?), and said, “Go!”
“What’s green and hangs from trees?” Stevie shouted at the camera.
“I don’t know,” Bozo chortled. “What?”
“Elephant snot!” Stevie screamed. Then he stomped maniacally back to his seat, joining his supervillain-friends-in-training. Some of the boys laughed. Several girls cried. Bozo turned jelly bean green.
I snorted half a glass of milk into my lap.
After the commercial break, Bozo announced that henceforth all jokes must be whispered in his ear before they could be shared with TV land.
The actors who played Bozo changed regularly, by the way. This was necessary in order to allow the previous ones to attend AA meetings.
There are numerous urban legends about inappropriate kid behavior on the old Bozo show, especially the apocryphal “Cram it, clowny!” line, supposedly shouted by a bitter proto-Stevie who’d lost at Bozo Buckets. But I can attest to this one’s authenticity since I witnessed it first hand in the presence of my family’s gigantic 22″ vacuum tube TV. Incidentally, Stevie (or whatever his name is) is up for probation next year.