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Suitcase in the background

Suitcase in the background – clown bits

Suitcase in the background is not a skit, by itself. It is part of a larger skit, with two clowns, at the beginning, where the second clown is about to be introduced. I saw this recently on a rerun of The Lucy Show — but it’s much older than that. It went as follows:

Danny Kaye was the ‘main’ clown, who came on stage with a small crowd of supporters, who all leave the stage — with the exception of one. Lucille Ball is left on stage holding a suitcase, behind Danny Kaye and to one side, so that the audience sees her clearly, but Danny Kaye doesn’t — at first. He begins doing a comedy monologue (other clowns might do balloon artistry, juggling, etc.) — and she reacts silently, but humorously. The audience laughs, and Danny Kaye thinks that it’s for him, and responds appropriately. He continues a second time with the same reaction. The Rule of Three applies, and on the third time he realizes that she’s on-stage.

He shoos her off-stage, but she leaves the suitcase behind. As he tries to pick up with his act, she runs back on stage behind him, picks up her suitcase, and runs off — leaving a shoe behind. All the time, Danny Kaye watches, and reacts for the audience.

She runs back on stage with the suitcase, puts on her shoe, and tries to leave again — only for the suitcase to open, and all of her clothes to fall out! She tries to quick pick up her things and go, but Danny Kaye invites her on stage, and they do a number together.

Several points:

  1. With the “forgotten” suitcase, the Rule of Three still applies.
  2. It doesn’t have to be a suitcase — or a shoe.
  3. Different characters will have different reactions, for different comedy effect. For example, instead of Danny Kaye and Lucille Ball, imagine how Laurel and Hardy would react. Or Abbott and Costello, the Three Stooges, etc. And finally, how would your character react her? Each would result to different comedy — all funny.



Tom Raymond, aka. Raynbow the Clown, has been a professional clown and balloon twister for over 15 years, and runs several clown-related websites such as Famous Clowns, Best Clean Funny Jokes

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