"Hello, I'm Josh. And this is Joe, my emotional support clown."
Josh Thompson knew he was about to be laid off.
The former copywriter at FCB New Zealand ad agency told the BBC he received an email from his employers that read, in part, that they wanted to meet with him "to discuss some matters in regards to your role."
"Basically I sensed that this was going to be a redundancy," Josh said, meaning he was about to be laid off, "so I thought I might as well try to make the best out of this situation."
And for Josh, that meant bringing a professional clown to the meeting.
As it happens, New Zealand law mandates that companies offer employees about to be laid off or fired the option of bringing a "support person" with them to the meeting, to help weather the bad news.
So Josh spent the equivalent of $100 USD to bring Joe the clown with him, who sat there silently, nodding in sympathy as FCB's personnel department delivered the bad news.
Well, silently except for when Joe made balloon animals during the meeting.
"Boy, oh, boy, are they noisy," Josh said, referring to the screech of rubber on rubber as Joe the clown twisted the balloons.
Ultimately, Joe had to be told to cool it with the balloon animals, because it was so difficult to hear above the racket.