By Norman Barnhart


I enjoyed bringing my comedy show to a kindergarten school recently and one of my regular bits is to bring a fake spider out of a book – I talk about reading and how you can learn about insects from books and then talk about the book Charlotte’s Web. They like the silly spider trick.


My challenge to myself was to come up with a routine that was a different way to use the classic “Baby Rattler” clown gag.  You recall that the “Baby Rattler” Clown gag is where you show a box and on the outside is says Baby Rattler implying a snake is inside the box. The funny clown looks nervous as the box is shook. Everyone can hear the rattle sound inside that is possibly from a rattlesnake.  But when the box is opened it is a toy rattle like the kind a baby will shake.

The new rattle snake routine:  6 cards with cuddly animal pictures are laid on the table… well actually one is not cuddly – it has a picture of a rattle snake.  The clown points to each card and says, “a cute cuddly lamb, and cute cuddly puppy, a cute cuddly baby rattlesnake…  a baby RATTLER!  Oh my!”


Someone in the audience is asked to give a number between one and six.  The picture of the rattle snake is third from the left as the cards are laid out.  The Rattler is going to be the card they choose by picking a number from one to six.  It seems like they have a free choice of which baby animal but what ever number they say it will end up on the snake – which is important for the big finish of the trick.


If they say one – then you count by spelling O – N – E – that is three letters and will take you to the third from left… the snake.


Two is spelled out also T – W – O and you end up on the snake.

Three is counted 1 – 2- 3 and end up on the snake.


Four is spelled out starting on the right side.  F – O – U – R from the right will be the fourth card from the left which is also the Snake.


Five is spelled out like Four… fourth from the right.


Six is spelled out fro the right side  S – I – X. They always end up on the snake no matter what number they call out.  It is a force of the snake.. so we have a big surprise at the end of the trick… A baby Rattler.


 To help the audience see the cards – use a music stand or card holder to have the cards face up or have three kids hold the six cards facing the audience in their 6 hands.  (Three kids – two hands each.)


“One of these 6 animals will magically appear inside this box.” (The box can be a mirror box magic box that looks empty and then anything can appear from it.}  “Now Susan, since it is your birthday, would you please say out loud a number from one to six.”   Now whatever number she says it will land on the baby snake picture. “Oh noooo – You selected a Baby Rattler!”  Clown looks silly scared.  “Maybe we should just skip this trick?  What do you say?”  The kids call out to see it.  “Well maybe since it is a baby rattler it won’t be too scary.”


Clown starts to look in the box then backs away scared and says I can’t look – let’s not find out if the baby rattler is in the box!”  The kids cry out to see it!  “You guys want me to do it?”  Clown leads the crowd in “Do it! Do it! Do it!”  Clown sneaks up and says,  “Maybe it is asleep – let’s not wake it up.”


“Do it! Do it!” they chant.


Clown says “OK here I go…”  Pick up the box and shake it. The rattle makes a sound like rattle snake. “Ohhh  I can hear the baby rattler!” Act scared then peak in – shake the rattle and act very scared…. Then pull out the baby rattle and look shocked and then silly, “Oh – a baby rattler!”


Bonus surprise ending.  Look in the box and say – oh there are mommy and daddy too.  Release the lid on a snake can and let three spring snakes jup up and scare you!  It’s a  laugh riot as the clown reacts to the surprise.


Remember:  A big chunk of comedy is how you react!  The key is in the reactions.  Watch Laurel and Hardy, Jackie Gleason, Lucy etc etc.  Have fun making people laugh!



Norm is a comic entertainer from Minnesota and has brought laughter to audiences full time for 40 years or maybe more like 50 years… He does want to think about his age.  Learn more at