NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Clowning around is serious business at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus clown college auditions.

As CBS 2’s Scott Rapoport reported, being a big-time clown under the Big Top is not an easy task.

For anyone who’s ever wanted to ditch it all and run away with the circus, it all starts at the clown auditions.

Forty decidedly silly souls serious about cutting it as a clown did their best to impress circus brass in the hopes of getting a coveted opening on Monday, Rapoport reported.

“I would really like to travel with the circus and make people happy and make them laugh and maybe get near a lion. That would be really cool,” clown hopeful Kim Kaiser said.

Monday’s auditioners came from all walks of life. A nurse, an electronics technician and a pizza deliveryman were among those trying out for the Greatest Show On Earth.

Boss clown Taylor Albin has been with the show for five years and explained what it takes to fill his black and blue shoes.

“The heart the size of Alaska. The desire, the passion. And it is just get out there and make people laugh,” he told Rapoport.

Every year, more than 4,000 people apply to be a clown for Ringling Bros. Only 14 are selected.

“This makes makes me happy inside. This makes me a content person. This is what I want to do for the rest of my life,” said an auditioner.

The circus is in town at IZOD Center from March 19 to March 23.

You May Also Be Interested In These Stories

Watch & Listen LIVE