The copy writer behind a clown stunt that attracted international attention was planning to use the gag in a stand-up comedy routine.

But that was before the story of how he hired the clown to attend a redundancy meeting with his employers went viral.

When Australian Josh Thompson was restructured out of his role at an advertising agency in Auckland he chose an unusual support person to take to the meeting.

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Thompson had been alerted to the "bad news" meeting with his now ex-employers, advertising company FCB, and hired a clown for $200 to be there as his support person.

Joe the Clown blew up balloons and folded them into a series of animals throughout the meeting.

He also mimed crying when the redundancy paperwork was handed over to Thompson.

After the Herald broke the story on Friday it went viral, getting picked up by media across New Zealand and the globe.

On Saturday morning, Thompson - back in Australia before he starts a new job with another advertising company in Auckland on Monday - woke up to messages from media around the world.

"I've got a couple messages from some journalists at the BBC and the New York Post."

He said he planned on calling them back.

When asked about what prompted the stunt Thompson said: "There's not much to it really. I thought it'd be funny, so I did it. There's not much more to the story than that.


"The response was all good. They took it well. It was me getting fired, not them, so how badly can they take it."

Joshua Thompson identified himself as the adman who hired a clown to attend his redundancy meeting, that made headlines around the world. Photo / Supplied
Joshua Thompson identified himself as the adman who hired a clown to attend his redundancy meeting, that made headlines around the world. Photo / Supplied

Thompson, a comedian who performs stand-up outside of his day job under the stage name Josh Jack, said he hoped to appear at the Comedy Festival in Auckland next year.

"The story was something that I probably would have taken on stage had it not been leaked."

Meanwhile Joe the Clown remains an enigma with two professional Auckland clowns saying they did not recognise him and had never heard of a clown by that name.

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BJ the Clown, aka Bruce Allan, has worked as a clown and magician for 45 years and said he did not know Joe the Clown, whom Thompson called a professional.

Allan said as a clown he had been asked to do some quirky stunts in the past including helping a man propose to his fiancee at the Devonport wharf, and jumping out of the elevator at the top of the Sky Tower screaming and holding on to the walls, temporarily frightening punters.

His most memorable job was for the father of a badly burned 8-year-old boy who told Allan his son had not smiled or laughed in three weeks.

Allan went to Middlemore Hospital and wound a routine around the boy's hero, Spiderman.

"He automatically smiled. His father cried. He was supposed to be in hospital for another two months but three weeks later he walked out."

Cherry the Clown, aka Ken Samson, said the best clowns were humble, without ego and those who could genuinely make children laugh.

"Kids are the most discerning audience and you can't fool them."

He said a father once tried to hire him to scare a naughty child who was already afraid of clowns but he turned the job down.

Samson, a clown for 28 years, had also been hired to deliver a message of forgiveness to a woman, asking her to take back her dumped partner.