Who’s BB?

Bob Widdop poses with his portrait at Children's Hospital Boston. Photo courtesy of George A. Taylor, MD.

Bob Widdop has been clowning around as “Nurse B.B.” since 1995, when he started making clown rounds at Children’s Hospital Boston and the Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence, R.I.

He was the founding supervisor of the Big Apple Circus’s Clown Care Unit at Children’s Hospital Boston, where his antics have surprised and delighted thousands of patients and their parents. An evangelist for the gospel of humor in healing, BB is known for his compassionate clowning and his philosophy that “there’s a whole lot of medicine in fun.”

A family entertainer for close to 30 years, BB says he wouldn’t recognize an endorphin if he tripped over one, but he knows what fun is! And he believes in bringing it into the healthcare setting for children and the elderly alike.

BB has studied with the best in the business in the United States and abroad, absorbing the finer points of hospital clowning from the Big Apple Circus, where Michael Christensen started the “Clown Care” program that is in many children’s hospitals today. He has practiced compassionate clowning in a cultural exchange with Le Rire Medecin in Paris, created “clown bingo” for the young patients at Children’s Hospital Boston, and been an artist in residence with Clowns of America International.

A U.S. Navy veteran, cancer survivor and former telephone company employee, BB regularly shares his knowledge of compassionate clowning through presentations to social workers, chaplains, child life specialists, and other healthcare professionals.

He also administers humor therapy each winter to the elderly as part of Circus Sarasota’s Laughter Unlimited, and has entertained or lectured at hospitals in Massachusetts, Bermuda, Texas, and Maine.

Among his many accolades, BB received the Red Nose Samaritan Award from the 2012 Clown Jamboree in Mystic, CT and was recently interviewed by The Winthrop Group to be part of an oral history project conducted by Children’s Hospital Boston

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