Culture

A New Zealand Man Hired An Emotional Support Clown To Sit In On His Redundancy Meeting

Funny business.

Clown Photo by Levi Saunders on Unsplash

Sometimes life is just a great big joke, so why not send in the clowns? As first reported by The New Zealand Herald, a New Zealand man has hired an emotional support clown to accompany him while he was made redundant from his global ad agency job.

To be clear, “emotional support clown” is not an official job title. This is not a role this circus denizen was accustomed to fulfilling.

Copywriter and comedian Josh Thompson simply decided that, on this difficult occasion, he would like a cheery fellow in a curly blue wig and ridiculously colourful suit to accompany him. And his now-former employer was legally obliged to accommodate.

Thompson received the ominous summons to meet with the powers that be via email, and was informed that he was allowed to bring someone to support him.

“I was working — because I had a job back then — and I got an email and the email said: ‘Hi Josh we’d like to meet with you to discuss some matters in regards to your role,'” Thompson told the BBC.

“Basically I sensed that this was going to be a redundancy … so I thought I might as well try to make the best out of this situation.”

The meeting only recently came to international attention, but took place on August 20. Thompson paid NZ$200 (around $185 in real money) to hire Joe the Clown, AKA Joseph Brosnahan, as his stalwart but temporary companion on that fateful day.

“[The children’s party business I work for] told me it was fine if I didn’t want to do it because it was pretty weird, but a guy was getting fired and he was allowed to bring a support person, and as a joke he wanted to bring a clown,” Joe the Clown told Stuff.

“I thought it sounded really funny so I was like, yeah why not, that could be a bit of a laugh.”

The entertainer made balloon animals during the meeting — a unicorn and a poodle — though was asked to stop a few times due to their squeaking. He also nodded solemnly while Thompson’s superiors delivered the bad news, and mimed crying as they dealt with the paperwork.

Fortunately the others in the meeting saw the funny side of it, remaining relatively unfazed and professional despite being “a bit surprised”. Though even if they’d objected, it wasn’t like they could fire Thompson more.

“I mean I did get fired, but apart from that it was all smooth running,” said Thompson to Newshub.

Happily, Thompson has already found a new job. He starts this week after a brief holiday in Australia.