After performing for children’s audiences in thousands of schools, parties, camps and churches for over 35 years, and working with others who do the same, this author can tell you with assurance that we adults have been duped about what works best for children’s live entertainment.

When I began performing for children in school assemblies, my success was instant, but I didn’t know why. School principals from all over the country hailed my performance as the best entertainment they’ve seen for their children. What makes this significant is that I used no costumes, makeup, music, nor props. I was simply being myself, acting silly, performing pantomime antics and joking around. I attributed the success of my show as my being a good children’s entertainer. I never thought about why, just that I was.

Because of my success as a children’s entertainer, I was asked to entertain at a children’s event, only this time, roaming around with a costume and mask designed to be entertaining for children. To my dismay, and the children’s, it flopped. Although some of the children played with me, most were apathetic about me. I missed the special bond with children that I was accustomed to in my shows. Little did I know that having that special bond is the difference that makes the best children’s live entertainment.

There is a natural law in live entertainment for children that is the same natural law in live entertainment for any age: Children, like all others, connect with real people better than a fabricated character.

This law became solidified in my mind when I witnessed a bizarre and profound occurrence during a taping of The Bozo Show in the 80’s. I was a guest performer on the show, watching much of the show from just offstage. The show was trying out a new segment called “The man in the bleachers,” when many children from the studio audience were invited to come up on stage and sit in a set of bleachers around Pat Hurley, a popular personality among youth and children. Pat, dressed in humble Mr. Rogers style attire, talked with the children. He asked questions, chatted about life, and made them laugh all the while. He did nothing but bond with the children through simple joking around. An eye-opening lesson for anyone involved in children’s entertainment programming occurred after the show. As the children exited the studio, Bozo, Bozo’s sidekick Cookie, and Pat Hurley stood in a line to say good-bye and shake hands. To my amazement, all the children passed by Bozo and Cookie with an apathetic posture and flocked to Pat. These children bonded with and were drawn to the one who really entertained them – To a person who was real to them.

Don’t get me wrong. Clown getup, costumes, characters and the like are a success, but to identify in humor with someone who is natural and intrinsically real is entertainment on another level.

I have had the joy of entertaining children in virtually every state across America as well as with cruise ships and entertainment festivals around the world. In each and every instance my heart is warmed not only by the exuberant reaction of the children during the show, but by their priceless responses to me afterward.

Try such a real person at your child’s next party or event – A professional children’s comedian, if you will – And watch the magic happen!

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Author's Bio: 

Cary Trivanovich is both an entertainer and speaker. He has performed his original pantomime/comedy mix in theatres, cruise ships, television programs and theatre festivals around the world, and in conjuction with a message at over 4,000 schools, conferences, churches and student leadership camps across America. His main Web-Site is