Making Laughter

Author: The editors

When Clem, aka Albert Alter ’69, clowns around, people smile and grin and giggle.

A native of Tennessee, Alter toured as a professional clown with Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus, performing and teaching from Cuba to Cambodia, from England to Vietnam, and throughout the United States and Canada. He helped establish a clown college for the circus in Tokyo, has opened for the Smothers Brothers and performed with the Oregon Symphony.

Now living in Portland, Oregon, Alter is serious about the funny business, the art form’s history and contributions to culture. But the joy of his work comes from making people laugh, and he still delights — with a touch of magic — in theaters, prisons, schools and especially at Randall Children’s Hospital, where he offers healing laughter to patients and families in the emergency room and pediatric unit.