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Circus clowns are the latest pandemic related shortage in Northern Ireland

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

First, it was toilet tissue, then computer chips, now clowns - at least in Northern Ireland. I'll pause so you can include a joke about U.S. politics here. Circuses in Northern Ireland are reopening after being closed for 500 days. But during that time, a lot of clowns drove their clown cars over to EU nations that have already reopened. And now there is a clown shortage in Northern Ireland.

David Duffy, co-owner of Duffy's Circus, has opened online auditions - no previous experience necessary - for people who think they have the grit to get squirting flowers in their face. Mr. Duffy told BBC Radio Ulster, there's a lot more to being a clown than just putting on a big red nose and a big, baggy pair of pants. You have to be able to read your audience in a short couple of minutes, he said, to get a rapport going with them and interact and feed off them - that and saying, BJ Leiderman writes our theme music? I think I know of somebody.

(SOUNDBITE OF PHARRELL SONG, "HAPPY") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.