SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ – Big top tents erected in small towns across America signaled to children that fun and excitement were ahead. The circus had arrived and those who attended were treated to amazing animal acts, daring stunts on the high wire and hilarious fun from the clowns.
The circus was once ubiquitous in the United States, but recent years have seen a sharp decline of the American institution – an institution which is now coming to an end with the closing of the Wilhelm, Warren & Abrams Circus – the last operating circus in North America.
Now retiring after 43 years as Ringmaster of the WW&A Circus, P.T. Barnes said, “Most people think circuses ended because PETA campaigned against animals being involved, but their protests made no difference to our bottom line at all.”
Barnes, who sold oil made from snakes before joining the circus, explained the real reason that circuses are shutting down. “The truth of the matter is we can’t get any clowns.”
When asked why clowns have been so hard to come by, Barnes fought back emotions as he replied, “They all found it more profitable to become members of Congress.”
“In Washington, they get a lot more perks, a lot more pay, and they don’t have to sleep with the elephants. I get why they left, but it really hurts to see this industry fall apart because of their greed.”
Barnes then wiped a tear from his eye as he reminisced about the glory days. “We had this one clown – she went by the name Pocahontas. She had one of the funniest acts I’ve ever seen. She was white but pretended to be an Indian who made all kinds of outlandish actions. She actually fooled the really gullible ones. Of course, she probably couldn’t do that act today because it’s considered racist.”
“I also remember the clown Pierre Delecto … he ended up running for president but eventually settled for becoming a Senator. Of course, now he’s a bigger clown than he ever was for us.”
Barnes also spoke about some promising up and comers that the circus lost when they were lured to Washington DC.
“Eric Bang Fang had this great act where he farted really loud and then pretended he didn’t. He took that act to China … and ultimately to CNN.”
“Then there’s Sandy. I think people call her ‘COA’ or ‘AOC’ or something now. She would have been a great clown. She could make her face look like a mule when she smiled. She had this act where she played the dumbest person you ever saw. Funny thing is, I hear she’s still doing that same act in Washington – but getting paid a lot more for it.”
The Idaho Pea then asked what Barnes will do in the future, now that the circuses have shut down. The longtime Ringmaster thought a moment and then replied, “I guess I’ll go back to extracting oil from snakes and get my old job back at Pfizer.”