Humor Therapy Program

An ongoing outreach effort in Southwest Florida’s care facilities: hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and adult care centers. Focused on relationship-building, the talented professional clowns, entertainers, musicians, and trained volunteers provide “humor with a purpose.”

  • Humor is a recognized as a viable treatment for reducing stress, anxiety, depression, and pain perception while having a positive, lasting effect on the body’s immune system, heart, and brain bringing joy and improving quality of life
  • The Humor Therapy Program is therapeutic entertainment in a group setting or a one-on-one bedside visitation and conversation with memory stimulation and physical activities
  • Humor Therapy focuses on relationship-building for the senior community, the special needs community, human services, empowerment organizations, and educational programming
  • It is a long-term partnership offering daily comedy, education, exercise, and health care
  • Consistently presenting reoccurring characters is very important in relationship-building
  • These community outreach programs offer multi-content, one hour (morning and afternoon), professional programs with additional time for a comprehensive “welcome” and “thank you” program
  • Partnering with over 15 senior-care and special-needs facilities throughout Sarasota and Manatee counties, the Humor Therapy and Laughter Unlimited programs fill the gap between the busy health care professionals and overwhelmed family members
  • Created, developed, and presented by The Circus Arts Conservatory’s Chuck and Noriko Sidlow, Laughter Unlimited and Humor Therapy are the only professionally-trained and staffed programs of their kind
  • The pair of professional artists have backgrounds in entertainment, but through their close work with care facility staff, are gaining knowledge in health care skills including nursing, rehabilitation, Alzheimer’s care, dementia treatment, and human services
  • Characters presented range from their signature friendly and welcoming “Chucko the all-American circus clown”, to Groucho Marx, Charlie Chaplin, Jimmy Durante, and other well-known personalities
  • The characters are mixed and matched with classic, trending, era-related, popular, and newsworthy events igniting heart-warming emotion, sensory actions, and repressed physical abilities


A special Thank You to the Selby Foundation and the Pines of Sarasota (a not-for-profit nursing facility) for their “Innovative Partnership Grant” in 2000, allowing the creation of these valuable community programs!

Weekly Programs and Visits include:

Personal In-Room Visits

Personal attention and interaction with bed-ridden or limited-access residents

Monthly Inter-Generational Themed Programs

For children, parents and grandparents to enjoy a comical, musical, and magical review of the current month

A Moment in Time

Dementia and Alzheimer’s-based program which allow residents to lead the visit with their current state-of-mind, the team attempts to recreate that moment using music, physical props, and “validation” conversation to enhance the patients’ quality-of-life

Men’s Club

For men only, the team assesses the group’s common interests and encourages friendship-building conversation

Comedy-in-Motion

A musical comedy accented with visual elements, this program is light and entertaining, allowing the patients to heal through laughter

United Cerebral Palsy/Special needs

A bi-weekly progressive education and entertainment program highlighting the individual’s abilities (as opposed to the inability) encouraging patients to focus on their capabilities to empower and build confidence

Sarasota Memorial Hospital Skilled Nursing and Rehab

Weekly room-visits, weekly Men’s Club, Comedy-in-Motion, and a Monthly Themed Program

Music, Memories, and Mirth

This program has been running every week with many of the same members for the past few years. Current and past events are the focus as well as the history of various styles of music, variety entertainment and comedy, Exercise and the effect on improving the quality of daily life as we age are also part of the program.

The Laughter Unlimited and Humor Therapy Team

Chuck Sidlow

Celebrated international entertainer, producer, and performer

After graduating from Clown College, he launched his career with The Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Baily Circus® in 1977, where he quickly excelled. In fact, after just two years with The Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Baily Circus®, their President, Irvin Feld, named him the “Youngest Boss Clown in Circus History”. He was honored to work alongside circus greats including Lou Jacobs (Dolly Jacob’s father). While performing throughout the US, and with mentor-ship from circus masters, Chuck was able to successfully develop his own comedy routine and style. Chuck moved to Osaka, Japan working as a producer, performer, and talent coordinator with a major Japanese company. For ten years, he worked and traveled throughout Japan learning the business from a different perspective. He grew to appreciate the culture and history and learned to speak, read, and write Japanese fluently. Upon returning to the US, Chuck went back to his roots in Sarasota and began working with Pedro and Dolly at The Circus Arts Conservatory. Since then, he has been a valuable asset to the organization; helping to fine-tune and implement their community outreach programs under the Humor Therapy and Laughter Unlimited branch. He is passionate about relationship-building in the senior and special-needs health care community and is one of the area’s preeminent experts on these types of programs. Chuck’s likeness is featured in an interactive, educational exhibit in The Ringling’s Circus Museum.

Along with being a seasoned, professional musician, Noriko Sidlow is a teacher of culture, art, and language with The Circus Arts Conservatory. She works as an event producer, creating top-quality functions. Originally from Japan, Noriko has been working behind-the-scenes since 2005 at The Circus Arts Conservatory creating support materials, music, videos, and programs for The Circus Arts Conservatory’s Outreach Programs. She is a skilled and talented musician on various instruments including piano, organ, violin, and accordion. She is instrumental in cultivating and developing relationships with the senior community and special needs residents along with their families and the organization’s staff.  Noriko is a talented photographer and videographer capturing the magical moments live.