How Many Clowns Can You Fit In A Clown Car?

I am sure everyone has seen this before – a lot of clowns coming out of a really small car.  It is the oldest and most requested clown gag ever.  However, there is no trick to the clown-car gag.  Contrary to most people’s speculation, there are no trap doors in stadium floors, and the cars are real.  So how do they fit all these clowns in such small cars.  The “trick” is simple, although it require great practice and flexibility on the part of the clowns.  All of the interior is removed, including the door panels, headliners, and interior barrier to the trunk.  The windows are painted, except for a small slot for the driver’s use.  The driver usually sits on a milk crate.  The springs of the car are improved so the car does not sag.  Handles are installed to help the clowns maneuver in the small space. 

To determine how many clowns can fit in the car, it’s simple math.  It’s a volume calculation.  An American Standard Clown (ASC) is 5’ 8” tall and weighs 158 pounds.  Each clown takes up approximately 3 cubic feet of space.  A completely bare clown car probably has about 120 cubic feet of total space for clowns.  So about 40 clowns should be able to fit in a clown car.  But there are other factors, such as clowns need to breath, the need to exit the car quickly, and the use of props.  Therefore, a typical clown car fits between 14 and 21 clowns with their props.

The above is a simple explanation to an almost “magical” or impossible-to-understand issue provides two important lessons:

  1. When trying to explain difficult concepts, it is important to take complex concepts and boil them down so they are easy to understand.  This is usually most effective when done with graphics.  No matter how complete, detailed and/or thorough an analysis  may be, it may not be viewed as credible or believable unless it is also easy to understand.  In our firm’s work, we do not view any complex analysis as being complete until this additional visual aspect is performed, so that others can understand our work. 
  2. Things that are simple in concept are often much more difficult to implement.  The “magic” of a easy-to-understand explanation is that it often did not start out that way.  Experience and practice  allow one to make something look easy, when it really is not. 

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