Membership at the World Clown Association, the country's largest trade group for clowns, has dropped from about 3,500 to 2,500 since 2004.
"What happens is they go on to high school and college and clowning isn't cool anymore," he said. "Clowning is then put on the back burner until their late 40s and early 50s."
"American kids these days are thinking about different careers altogether," said Zavieh, 44, who has worked under the moniker Cido for nearly two decades.
"They're thinking about everything other than clowning."
"Our audience expects to be wowed," said David Kiser, Ringling Bros. director of talent. "No longer is it good enough to just drop your pants and focus on boxer shorts."
It's the "EXCLUSIVE!!" that really gives it a sense of urgency.