Did you hear the one about America's imminent "clown shortage?" It's not very funny.
A New York Daily News article claimed Monday that "a national clown shortage is on the horizon."
But that's a big, Bozo-sized comedy of errors, according to the greasepaint yucksters the tabloid quotes in its report.
The article draws a correlation between declining membership in two national clowning associations and the downfall of clownhood altogether:
“What’s happening is attrition,” said Clowns of America International President Glen Kohlberger, who added that membership at the [Minnesota]-based organization has plummeted since 2006. “The older clowns are passing away.”
The story goes on to point out that the other nationwide clown network -- the World Clown Association -- has seen its membership drop from about 3,500 to 2,500 since 2004.
Kohlberger and other circus types aren't denying that their groups face dwindling membership. But that doesn't mean there aren't still plenty of clowns to send in -- wherever a balloon needs to be folded or cream pie needs to be thrown.
"To say there's a clown shortage, it's just false," he said. "Clowns of America International is a volunteer association. We don't get paid, we educate and we help others ... Like any association, people forget to renew [their membership], or they work in the field but don't sign up. Unfortunately there are a lot of unprofessional clowns out there.
"But clowns are everywhere," he added.
It would appear that proof of clowndom's burgeoning success lies in the Daily News' own article. The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is coming to Brooklyn on Thursday. There were 531 applicants for just 11 clown jobs last year, the tabloid reported.
A Daily News editor declined to comment for this article.
And yet, inaccurate or not, the article went viral and the story made an appearance on The Tonight Show.
As the old saying goes, any press is good press. Although Kohlberger was "very upset" about the article, it did "create excitement all over the world." So who's laughing now?