Clown request 'so hilarious I couldn't resist'

Joseph Broshahan (left) and Josh Thompson following the redundancy meeting. Photo: supplied via...
Joseph Broshahan (left) and Josh Thompson following the redundancy meeting. Photo: supplied via NZ Herald

The clown hired as a support person for a Kiwi adman's redundancy meeting says the job was good value compared to kids' parties, and he was careful not to be "offensive" while making balloon animals for the bosses.

The Herald on Sunday can reveal the clown at the centre of the meeting, which has made headlines around the world, was Auckland actor and freelance videographer Joseph Brosnahan.

The 26-year-old works as Joe the Clown for hire through various children's party businesses on the weekend.

Joseph Brosnahan: "I was trying to make sure that whatever I did was, maybe be funny, but don't...
Joseph Brosnahan: "I was trying to make sure that whatever I did was, maybe be funny, but don't do anything offensive." Photo: supplied

Brosnahan said he was approached by one employer, Amazing Kids Parties, for a "very unusual request" last month.

"They said 'Feel free to say no to this because it's pretty out there but there's this guy who's apparently got word that he's going to be fired and he's allowed to bring a support person with him," Brosnahan said.

"And as a joke he'd like to bring in a clown. Would you be up for doing that?' And I just thought that sounded so hilarious I couldn't resist."

Brosnahan said the adman, Josh Thompson, met him outside advertising agency FCB New Zealand in Freemans Bay in central Auckland on August 20.

He arrived in his car with his clown costume in a bag. Thompson let him into the building where he changed into the costume in a bathroom before entering the meeting.

There was no pre-planning before the meeting and Brosnahan said, despite his presence, the employers kept straight faces.

"They weren't playing around with it and meanwhile I was just sitting there in a clown costume," Brosnahan said.

"Like I have no idea how I am supposed to appropriately respond to this. It's like a guy is getting fired and that's a bit tragic but I'm just here in a clown costume so you can't expect me to be serious about that.

"I just kind of went with the flow and did some of my balloon twisting and a few animals for them.

"It's my specialty. I asked 'do you want me to make you an animal perhaps? Here you go, there's a unicorn for you if you like'."

Brosnahan said the redundancy meeting only took 20 minutes, and for the $200 charged, was good value compared to 90 minute kids' parties "that can be a lot of energy playing games".

Inside the meeting. Photo: supplied
Inside the meeting. Photo: supplied

"The employers didn't seem to have much of a reaction to be honest. The were like 'oh you've brought a clown with ya, ok'. But then it just carried on. They were taking the thing seriously 'we're very sorry we have to let you go'.

"I was trying to make sure that whatever I did was, maybe be funny, but don't do anything offensive."

After The New Zealand Herald revealed on Friday the meeting had taken place, the story went viral, getting picked up by media across the globe.

On Saturday morning, Thompson, who was in Australia before he starts a new job with another advertising company in Auckland on Monday, woke up to messages from media around the world.

"I've got a couple messages from some journalists at the BBC and the New York Post," he told the Herald on Sunday.

When asked about what prompted the stunt Thompson said: "There's not much to it really. I thought it'd be funny, so I did it. They took it well. It was me getting fired, not them, so how badly can they take it."

Aside from his weekday job running his videography business Film Fiend, Brosnahan has worked on a string of independent Kiwi films and TV shows as an actor and stage crew - including on TV show Westside.

Brosnahan also says the redundancy support person role was not the weirdest job he's done and he'd be happy to do more in the future.

"I do a lot of performance work and it's not the weirdest job I've had. I'd certainly say it's in the top 10 though."

Brosnahan says most of his family and friends do not know he was Joe the Clown in the news.

However, his aunt did ring his father to see if it was him after a TV news piece.

"Not too many other clowns are going to redundancy meetings so I guess it stuck out to them," he says.

The part-time clown also said he has not been in touch with Thompson since the meeting.

"I just politely said farewell to him and wished him all the best with trying to find a new job, and just left it at that."

 

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