New Zealand man brings professional clown to pink-slip meeting who mimed crying, made balloon animals

A New Zealand advertising executive facing the bleak prospect of being fired decided to inject a bit of humor into the situation, bringing a professional clown to his final meeting instead of a colleague for emotional support, according to a report Friday.

Josh Thompson, a copywriter for ad agency FCB New Zealand and a budding comedian, revealed he had spent $200 to hire the clown, dubbed Joe, after getting an email from superiors asking to meet to "discuss your role."

The clown subsequently blew up balloon animals and even mimed crying when Thompson was handed his layoff paperwork, according to the New Zealand Herald.

Explaining his decision on Facebook, Thompson, who had been in the role since April, wrote: "A while ago, I got a job. A short while later, I lost it. For anyone who hasn’t been fired, what happens is they schedule a serious meeting and advise you to bring a ‘support person.' Sensing the bad news, I decided I’d need the best support person available, so I spent $200 to hire a clown. Today, somehow, it’s the top story [sic] in the New Zealand Herald."

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Subsequently, he admitted that his choice to be accompanied by the entertainer to the meeting where he was given his pink slip was a "touch unusual."

"It was rather noisy him making balloon animals so we had to tell him to be quiet from time to time," he said.

"Basically he was, I assume, one of the best clowns in Auckland - they were getting a free service, they were also getting the entertainment from Joe the Clown."

It's unclear when exactly the incident happened, but Thompson has since moved to Australia, where has secured a new job.

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A spokesperson for FCB told the Herald that the agency has a policy of not commenting on individual employment matters, but in an email titled "Coulrophobia" (the fear of clowns), admitted that it was one of the stranger stories she had been asked about.