Rob Mermin ran off to join the circus in 1969. He clowned with various European circuses including England's Circus Hoffman, Sweden's Cirkus Scott, Denmark's Circus Benneweis in the Circus Building by the Tivoli, the Hungarian Magyar State Cirkusz, and circus palaces throughout the former Soviet Union. His formal training includes mime with masters Marcel Marceau and Etienne Decroux, and a degree in Drama and Literature from Lake Forest College in 1971. He is former Dean of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College, and President of Blackfriar’s Summer Theater. In 1987 Mermin founded Circus Smirkus in Greensboro, Vermont.
Mermin's awards include Copenhagen's Gold Clown; Vermont's Bessie Award; Best Director Prize at the International Circus Festival on Russia's Black Sea; the Lund Family Center's "It Takes A Village" Award; the Vermont Arts Council Award of Merit; Lake Forest College's Outstanding Alumni Leadership Award; and the 2008 Vermont Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts.
- "A Brief History of Circus Smirkus". Circus Smirkus. Retrieved 2009-04-19.
- "Memo, Shmemo". Greensboro, Vermont: Circus Smirkus. 2006: 34.
- "Balancing Act". Seven Days. Retrieved 2009-04-19.
- "Vermont Arts Council Annual Awards". Vermont Arts Council. Retrieved 2009-04-19.
- "Class of 1971". Lake Forest College. Retrieved 2009-09-17.
- Rabbi blesses the circus. Harris, Ben. Jewish Telegraphic Agency. JTA.org Published June 29, 2009. Accessed January 8, 2016.