REAL-LIFE JAPESTER CHEEKO RE­VEALS WHAT IT’S LIKE TO DON THE FACEPAINT

Empire (Australasia) - - Ragnarok 'n' Roll - OWEN WIL­LIAMS

How did you get into clown­ing?

I started 40 years ago in Glas­gow as a ma­gi­cian. I wasn’t ini­tially in­ter­ested in per­form­ing as a clown un­til I learned I could earn more! I in­tro­duced the make-up and some plate-spin­ning and bal­loon mod­el­ling and it took off from there. It’s great fun. I can’t be­lieve I get paid to do it. I’ve got six grand­kids and they love when I work a big gala day or some­thing. They’re chuffed to bits that grandpa’s on the stage.

Is the ‘scary clown’ thing bad for busi­ness?

Ay, that killer-clown craze a few months ago made my busi­ness fall away some­thing ter­ri­ble. I was get­ting nui­sance phone calls and threats. But it’s ac­tu­ally noth­ing new. Twenty years ago I stopped on the way to a gig, in full kit, to ask some kids for direc­tions, and they just ran away and I ended up sur­rounded by po­lice! When they found out I was just do­ing a party it was fine though.

Are you ner­vous about It?

I knew a year ago that it was com­ing, so

I started plan­ning. I’ve had to change every­thing. I’ve stopped wear­ing the make-up, and it’s not ‘Cheeko The Clown’ any­more, it’s just ‘Cheeko The Fam­ily En­ter­tainer.’ I had to get the car­i­ca­ture on my web­site re­designed.

Is there a movie clown you like?

The film I re­ally like is Shakes The Clown. It’s a spoof. Who­ever did it [Bob­cat Goldth­wait] knows all about clowns. They all hang around in a bar called The Twisted Bal­loon, and they sit there drink­ing in full make-up. It’s hi­lar­i­ous.

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