This article originally appeared on VICE Asia
Josh Thompson knew he was about to lose his job. The Australian-born advertising copywriter had been working for communications company FCB New Zealand for about five months when he received an ominous email from his superiors. “Bad news,” it read. “We’re having a meeting to discuss your role.”
The writing was on the wall; the company had already started laying people off after losing a significant client in Vodafone, according to The Guardian, and Josh knew the “meeting to discuss your role” probably meant “meeting to discuss your redundancy.”
And so, as per New Zealand’s legal requirement that employers allow workers the option of bringing a support person to serious disciplinary meetings, Josh—an aspiring comedian—thought he’d recruit some backup. That backup came wearing a novelty hat, a bib, and a pair of technicolour pants. “I thought it’s best to bring in a professional,” said Josh, “and so I paid $200 and hired a clown.”
It’s understood that the emotional support clown—or “Joe”, as Josh referred to him—proceeded to blow up balloons and tie them into a series of animals throughout the meeting. In several instances Josh’s soon to be erstwhile employers had to ask Joe to quieten down with his squeaky high jinks. And when the redundancy paperwork was finally handed over, Joe started mime crying.
At the end of the day, Josh was still laid off, but he’s since landed on his feet: securing a job at DDB Worldwide Communications Group. When approached for comment, DDB told the New Zealand Herald that clowns truly terrify them.
This article originally appeared on VICE ASIA.