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