You can rake in big bucks without lifting a finger, by landing a gig as a member of the presidential cheerleading squad! Cheering for the incoming president at press conferences – and booing reporters’ questions — not only renders an important service to our nation, it can be a lucrative and satisfying profession.
“Such cheerleading squads have been around as long as organized government,” says political science professor Peter K. Jortison. “For example, when the Roman emperor Nero acted on stage, he hired 5,000 men to applaud. In modern times, strongmen in many Third World countries, from Idi Amin to Manuel Noriega have used the approach.”
A group of people hired to applaud or heckle is known as a claque.
“It’s a French term that originated in the 19th century when professional applauders sat in the audience at Paris theaters and opera houses, paid to clap, laugh or even cry when appropriate,” reveals Jortison. “A member of a claque is called a claquer.”
At his January 11 press conference, President-Elect Donald Trump stocked the room with paid staffers ordered to enhance the session by cheering as he bashed reporters for asking him embarrassing questions. There will be work aplenty for such employees as long as the megabucks politician is in office, White House watchers predict. Although outsiders don’t know exactly how much those staffers earn, experts say that professional claquers typically make between $100 and $200 for a morning’s work – more than some Hollywood extras.
Political claquer was recently ranked one of the top five jobs in America, just behind mattress tester and brothel reviewer. Yet the job isn’t quite as easy as it sounds.
“It’s like being a live-audience member at a sitcom who’s supposed to laugh at jokes whether they’re funny or not, but it’s far more demanding,” explains Jortison. “Besides laughing at the leader’s jokes you’ve got to be prepared to boo, blow raspberries, mumble in approval, yawn – whatever the situation demands. Obviously, you have to respond on cue. Cheering 15 seconds late will raise eyebrows and can distract the president.”
Landing a coveted spot on the president’s cheerleading squad isn’t easy. Patriotic Americans are lining up for the opportunity to serve the commander in chief when he takes office January 20.
“When you go to your audition, arrive early and be prepared,” advises a professional claquer. “Don’t have just one boo, have a variety to showcase your versatility. Show that you can understand hand signals and take direction. If a presidential advisor tells you to ‘snicker,’ don’t giggle.”