Circus News

Circus Voices Podcast–see u down the road Series: Episode 2–Joel Jeske

Circus Voices, a new podcast brought to you by CircusTalk is pleased to present a podcast series called see u down the road with creators and co-producers Book Kennison and Zoë Kennison. 

In each episode, a circus artist tells the story of a big, transformational moment in their life – and the aftermath. Heart-wrenching, funny, and real, see u down the road is an unprecedented piece of work in circus media.

In Episode 2, celebrated clown Joel Jeske tells the story of his coming out as gay at age 41 and the events that followed.

Show Notes:
  • The shows Joel put on in Chicago were Klown: Prick Us and We’ll Burst  and Hats on Fire/Shoes on Fire. The shows were marketed as the work of a (fictional) German clown troupe; in fact, Joel and his fellow castmates were local improvisers. 
  • Clown College was Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s training program for clowns. It was open from 1968 to 1997. A student who graduated from Clown College was not guaranteed a contract with Ringling.
  • The “Blue Unit” was one of two Ringling shows (the other being the “Red Unit”) that toured by train and played large-capacity arenas. 
  • Barnum’s Kaleidoscape was a one-ring, tented circus staged by Ringling Bros. from 1999-2000. 
  • Banana Shpeel was a touring theater show by Cirque du Soleil. It was universally panned and fraught with complications, playing only Chicago, New York, and Toronto before closing. 
  • “A clown who is crying on the inside is a terrible clown.” Joel attributes this quote to Pipo Sosman, Jr. Joel toured with Pipo, a whiteface clown, on Barnum’s Kaleidoscape.
  • If you’d like to see Joel in action, he has an upcoming show entitled The Artist Will Be With You In A Moment. It’s billed as “an immersive solo comedy experience” and it opens March 7th in New York City. For more information, go to parallelexit.com.
  • Read the transcript here.


Subscribe to Circus Voices wherever you get your podcasts!

Also available on BreakerPocket Casts , Overcast and RadioPublic.

Book Kennison
Circus Artist -United States
Book Kennison is a circus artist based in Chicago. His main discipline is juggling; his other pursuits include writing, music composition, and photography.

Book Kennison

Book Kennison is a circus artist based in Chicago. His main discipline is juggling; his other pursuits include writing, music composition, and photography.

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