When copy writer Josh Thompson received an ominous email from his bosses asking to discuss his role at the company, he knew he was facing redundancy.
The human resources department at FCB New Zealand encouraged him to bring a “support person” to help cushion the blow, an option that is legally required in New Zealand.
But rather than bring a family member, a friend or even a pet, the part-time stand-up comedian decided to splash out NZ$200 (£100) on a clown called “Joe”.
“I was working – because I had a job back then – and I got an email and the email said: ‘Hi Josh we’d like to meet with you to discuss some matters in regards to your role,'” he told the BBC from Australia, where he has been “making the most of not having a job”.
“Basically I sensed that this was going to be a redundancy … so I thought I might as well try to make the best out of this situation,” he added.
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“Joe” accompanied Josh for the redundancy meeting, where the clown made balloon animals, although he had to be told to stop a few times as it was difficult to hear above the screeching of plastic.
“Boy, oh, boy, are they noisy,” Josh said.
When Josh was finally delivered the hammer blow that he was to lose his job, the clown reacted accordingly.
“He nodded his head along when I received the bad news as if he was also receiving the bad news,” Josh said.
“Professionalism at its finest, really.”
Josh said he’d highly recommend hiring a clown as support for any suspected redundancy meeting.
“If you’ve got family, friends, step mums, step dads, step kids, bring them by all means,” he said.
“But if there’s a clown available, especially Joe, I’d definitely recommend it.”