Connecticut Entertainment Jamboree Brings Smiles and Education to Entertainers

Steve Kissell and his staff put together another great convention for this year’s Connecticut Jamboree. This is the 18th year this convention has been bringing educational programs in comedy, kid show ideas, Magic, face painting, balloons and family entertainment. It was held at the lovely Hilton in Mystic, CT. This was a great location for this convention.

The day before the main convention began there were two, all day seminars. One was on Face Painting for Fun & Profit by Marcella, Mama Clown from Miami, FL.  Marcella presented many expert techniques for using the brush. With the basics down she moved on to a class on the Most Popular Designs of all Time, followed by Fast and Easy Faces with a Wow Factor.  She wrapped up the day with a class on Step by Step Creativity so the artist can move forward with their own creative style.

Down the hall was the other all day seminar titled Balloon Mania with Norm Barnhart from Minnesota.     Norm kicked off the day with Basic Balloons & Comedy Balloon Hats from his book by that name, and then he moved on to comedy balloon entertainment with a class based on his book from 1988 titled Entertaining with Balloons. After lunch he taught a class based on his book and DVD titled Comedy Magic with Balloons. This featured unusual inventions Norm has developed for entertaining audiences at parties, fairs and festivals. The day wrapped with a class on Writing & Developing a Comedy Balloon Act. Norm covered how to develop a theme as well as how to write comedy for an act.

At the Jamboree opening ceremony, Steve Kissell welcomed the delegates to the convention with some comedy warm ups. Introductions of the staff followed including the distinguished artist and funny man, Jim Howle. Steve also introduced the COAI Clown of the Year, Barb Bird to report on and invite people to join the Red Nose Response team.

Tom E Boy did a fun class on activities for parties that included a few fun improvisation games with the audience. The games warmed us up and also demonstrated some of the comedy he does in his work at state parks and for after school programs. He presented his hilarious vanishing bunny trick where the stuffed bunny ends up on the volunteer’s back.

Tommy reminds us that, “the audience may like you but they really like to see their friends on stage.” Tommy offered great advice by suggesting that your phone number be on the backdrop so the pictures taken during the show will include that number and website.

He next shared a few games that he does with family audiences. They have a good time playing the games on stage and we have a good time watching. One fun example is inviting three people up, and then put them into wild costumes and they take turns being the music star as music plays and the contest is won by amount of applause.

An excellent presentation followed titled Performing for Young Children, by Dave Risley. He shared theory and excellent routines. His style is fun and playful and very silly.  This brings roars of laughter from the younger set. His advice included these keys for success, “Bring lots of wands.  Make the kids laugh.”


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Dave shared a simple warm up with a one cup miser’s dream trick and did comedy bits with a bouquet of flowers. Kids like the magic tricks where they see what is happening but the magician is in the dark. He also uses Rocco’s DeLites to collect fireflies until his pockets are full.

Daves steps to success include ways of planning a kids show that include the pre warm up that is an introduction and break the ice time. This is followed by a funny warm up routine such as showing a flower from the garden and then there is no flower, so he gets a wand and the flowers appear behind the back. Dave then presents three comedy magic routines and wraps the show.  He is one of the busiest and popular pre-school entertainers in the East.

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