Beware of Children Telling Jokes

Bozo's Circus (1961)

My Real Memoir

By age 11, my TV taste had become quite sophisticated. When I came home from school I’d watch refined fare like Leave It to Beaver, Mr. Ed, Bugs Bunny, and my favorite, the inimitable Rocky & Bullwinkle (which I still love, btw). And then there was the Hanna-Barbera juggernaut: Huckleberry Hound, Top Cat, Quick Draw McGraw, Yogi Bear… Heck, even Mommandad watched The Flintstones and The Jetsons with me, everyone did (though not literally “with me;” our couch was too small and we didn’t have a color TV).

But none of those “little kid’s shows,” no siree. OK, yeah, I still had a soft spot for Captain Kangaroo and kinda had a crush on Shari Lewis. But then I also had a crush on Shelley Fabares (The Donna Reed Show) and Connie Stevens (Hawaiian Eye). So you can see how erudite I was.

Nevertheless, the top after-school show was Bozo the Clown. My urbane buddies and I would watch it just to burlesque it as Bozo cavorted with fake glee in front of a live audience full of screaming meemies.

Between cartoons, Mr. the Clown would engage in intellectually stimulating activities such as “accidentally” hitting himself on the foot with a giant hammer. But my favorite activity was Joke Time, during which the on-set meemies were invited to run forward, face the camera, and blurt out their jolliest japes.

One day, as I tucked into my milk and cookies, a beefy ten-year-old, Stevie, rushed forward, shouting, “Me! Me!” Bozo grinned, maybe (who could tell under that permanent greasepaint smile?), and said, “Go!”

“What’s green and hangs from trees?” Stevie shrieked at the camera.

“I don’t know,” Bozo chortled. “What?”

“Elephant snot!” Stevie screamed. And then he stomped maniacally back to his seat, joining his guffawing supervillain-friends-in-training.

Bozo turned jelly bean green.

I snorted half my glass of milk out through my nose.

After the commercial break, Bozo announced that henceforth all jokes must be whispered into his ear before they could be shared with TV land.

The actors who played Bozo changed regularly, by the way. This was necessary, I suspect, in order to allow previous Bozos…

To attend AA meetings.

My Real Memoir is a series. To read the next one, click here.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Humor, Memoir and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

45 Responses to Beware of Children Telling Jokes

  1. Todd R says:

    Years ago, my son said “I love kid shows because they’re made out of kids”. Bozo may not agree

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I may have to look away — Bozo was my absent dad / bro / champion most days!!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Aww, I LOVED Bozo the clown.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Judy says:

    Thanks for making me laugh out loud. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ejstoo says:

    Never saw Bozo…must have been American. That’s not the worst joke a kid’s told. Usually ends up being something to do with being too young to understand it’s meaning. The adults do and are nearly rolling on the floor. The kid thinks they are a comedian in the making. 😀 Elephant Snot is rather mild to some of the childhood gaffes I made 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I hated Romper Room. That magic mirror lady never called my name. NEVER. 😢

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Judy Hogan Writes says:

    We didn’t have Bozo in Australia, but I fondly remember most of the other shows. We did have a ‘guy’ who dressed up as ‘Humphrey the Bear.’

    Liked by 1 person

  8. beth says:

    I also watched those shoes and my brother was on bozo and lost the game! We were expecting him to bring home a jungle gym but instead he came home with a 6-pack of orange pop.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Mitch, your memoir garnered a laugh-out-loud response and a trip down memory lane. I would prefer the elephant snot joke relative to what is in today’s shows produced for children.

    I don’t remember Bozo but my brothers and I would rush home after school to watch another locally produced and aired TV clown. I also loved The Flintstones and The Jetsons and would have joined anyone watching either.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. murisopsis says:

    As a redhead I hated Bozo!! Every mean kid called me Bozo… I refused to watch that show on principle!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Laura Jinkins says:

    At some point in my adulthood, my mom told me that I loved Bozo the Clown as a child. I think she even said I even had a Bozo doll. The funny thing is, I really don’t like clowns and can’t remember a time that I did. It’s perplexing that I have no recollection of being a Bozo fan. There is ONE clown that I really like…a local man whose clown persona is “Sweet Potato the Clown.” He (and his wife) have been clowning for years, making kids in our community laugh at impromptu appearances at Chick Fil A and other establishments. He has mastered the art of “sweet silliness.”

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Damyanti Biswas says:

    Hahaha… I enjoyed this post a lot. Thank You.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Laugh out loud chortle from Australia x Gwen

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Nancy Richy says:

    Felix the Cat, Mighty Mouse and Terrytoon Circus with Claude Kirshner. Nuff said.🤡

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Randy Epps says:

    In Dallas, TX we had a local show called Dialing For Dollars. Ed Hogan was the host, and it came on at 4:00 pm. The show featured old movies from the 40’s and 50’s. During the commercial break, Ed would roll a big tumbler, pull a strip of paper (a Dallas phone book had been cut up and each strip had 6 names and phone numbers) and he would say, “Today’s count is 4 from the top (or two from the bottom, 3 from the bottom, 2 from the top, etc),” and he would count up or down on that strip of paper, make a phone call, and, if the answer er knew the count for the day, he would win the cash prize. If no one got it right, the prize would increase the next day.
    I always knew today’s count.
    My phone never rang.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mitchteemley says:

      Life isn’t fair, I tell ya!


      • Randy Epps says:

        There was a story about a 1943 copper penny in my younger days. According to the story, there were only 13 minted, all the rest were zinc. If you could get one of these pennies, they were worth 30 or 50 thousand dollars.

        The quest was on. Zinc. . . Zinc. . . Zinc, everyone I found was zinc.
        One day, I(I had become less diligent) I found a 1943 penny, and my heart was racing. My mind was already figuring what I could acquire with my new found wealth.
        When I got home I took it out of my pocket.
        I had forgotten the copper part of the story.

        Liked by 1 person

      • mitchteemley says:

        Yes, but great is your reward in heaven.


  16. Discover and Explore says:

    Kids say the most darned things

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Nancy Ruegg says:

    Bozo and Co. aired at lunchtime in Chicagoland. (Remember when most of us went home for lunch, except the kids who lived too far away for the round trip?) I watched with my brother, but must admit I didn’t approve of the carny-type game they played with kids from the audience. When a child lost, the band played a few bars that seemed to say, “Ah-Ha! You lost!” Rather mean-spirited.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Sherry Nostrant says:

    Hi Cuz, loved to be reminded about those wonderful kid shows. My favorite clown was Chucko the Clown. My mom always said he was “prettier” than Bozo. I’m still a huge fan of Bugs, have almost all of the boxed Looney Tune Cartoons. One animated show that hasn’t made a comeback and I loved it, even as I “grew up” was Beanie and Cecile, lots of lines only the older crowd would appreciate.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mitchteemley says:

      Hey Sherry! Chucko was definitely prettier. ;>) And, yes, everyone loved Beanie and Cecil “the seasick sea serpent!” I’m still a fan of Bugs and the whole Looney Tunes gang, too.


  19. Love this warm and funny piece. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Our old nextdoor neighbor actually married Wizzo the Wizard and Cookie the clown used to come into the pharmacy and five and dime where I worked in highschool. Loved that show!

    Liked by 1 person

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