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While clowns will never go away, recent developments (such as the closing of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in 2017) suggest that the public is less interested in being entertained by clowns than it used to be. Since the number of circuses is limited and declining, clowns are finding more opportunities outside the circus, especially with party and festival businesses, and amusement parks. Clowns who are self-employed face a lot of competition. For these clowns, publicity and word-of-mouth recommendations form an important part of finding work. Most clowns combine part-time work as as a clown with another entertainment career (magician, musician, etc.) or a traditional career (accountant, sales worker, etc.).

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