Photo by Josh Thompson

Getting fired from your job can be a stressful ordeal, but this New Zealand man made international headlines for employing an amusing tactic to cope with his impending termination meeting.

Josh Thompson had been working as a copywriter for an Auckland-based ad agency when he received a foreboding email from his bosses calling for a meeting “to discuss some matters in regards to his role” with the company. Furthermore, the human resources department encouraged him to bring a “support person” to the meeting.

Because New Zealand law mandates that employees be given the option of bringing a support person or support animal to such a meeting, Thompson knew he was about to be canned, particularly as there had been recent job cuts at the company. But, rather than bring a family member or therapy dog to the meeting, he decided to have a little fun by spending $200 on a clown.

At the appointed time, Thompson was indeed joined by “Joe” the clown who took the job very seriously despite the bizarre nature of the 20-minute gig. In addition to making a few balloon animals for the meeting, Joe even mimed the act of crying when Thompson’s former employers handed over the termination paperwork.

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“He nodded his head along when I received the bad news as if he was also receiving the bad news,” Thompson told BBC Australia. “Professionalism at its finest, really.”

Despite reacting very little to the clown’s appearance at the meeting, company officials later told him they grateful to him for “spicing up the meeting” and “seeing the humorous side” of the ordeal.

Photo by Josh Thompson

Thompson couldn’t be more pleased; in fact, he wholeheartedly recommends hiring a support clown.

“If you’ve got family, friends, step mums, step dads, step kids, bring them by all means,” he told BBC. “But if there’s a clown available, especially Joe, I’d definitely recommend it.”

It might not be easy for any prankster to find a clown who is willing to take on such a surreal—and potentially offensive—role. 26-year-old Joseph Brosnahan said it was definitely one of the top 10 weirdest gigs that he has ever accepted as an actor or part-time clown.

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“[My boss] said ‘Feel free to say no to this because it’s pretty out-there, but there’s this guy who’s apparently got word that he’s going to be fired and he’s allowed to bring a support person with him, and as a joke he’d like to bring in a clown. Would you be up for doing that?’” Brosnahan recalled to the New Zealand Herald. “And I just thought that sounded so hilarious I couldn’t resist.”

As in any comedy, there is happy ending here: Thompson has already started a new job at another advertising agency in Auckland. Though there are few details as to whether the media attention from the clown appearance helped him land the position, he hopefully won’t have to call up Joe any time soon.

Photo by Josh Thompson

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  1. Kudos to Josh for thinking this up and following through and to Joe for having the courage and creativity to accept the gig. May Josh be happy in his new, hopefully long lasting, job and may Joe find he is in demand for more work beyond he outstanding support he provided.

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