Clown thrives on mak­ing oth­ers happy

DAILY GRIND Don’t be fooled by the red nose and wacky wig, clown­ing is a se­ri­ous busi­ness for Justin Lane. Re­porter Jess Lee sat down to talk with the man be­hind Corn­flake the Clown.

Central Leader - - NEWS -

Justin Lane has carved a ca­reer out of mak­ing peo­ple laugh, but build­ing up a chil­dren’s en­ter­tain­ment em­pire from the ten­der age of 13 is no joke.

The 25-year-old has al­ways been fas­ci­nated with clown­ing and it was this that landed him his first paid gig as a young teenager with veteran B J the Clown.

He quickly made a name for him­self in the in­dus­try as the love­able, quick-wit­ted Corn­flake the Clown.

By the the time his 21st birth­day rolled around the Mt Al­bert res­i­dent’s busi­ness Corn­flake’s Magic World had grown so much he was able to em­ploy a troupe of other clowns.

It’s a love of mak­ing oth­ers happy that has kept him in the game and seen him per- form more than 4000 shows in the past 12 years, he says.

While other teenagers were out get­ting them­selves into trou­ble Mr Lane was at home prac­tis­ing his tricks and send­ing off in­voices.

‘‘It’s funny but clown­ing ac­tu­ally made me ma­ture a lot quicker. I knew how im­por­tant it was not to mess up be­cause I ap­pre­ci­ate a birth­day party is a one-off event. It’s im­por­tant to peo­ple.’’

A gen­uine affin­ity with chil­dren and the abil­ity to think on your feet are what it takes to cut it in the clown­ing in­dus­try, he says.

‘‘There’s a whole heap of psychology be­hind magic,’’ he says.

‘‘It’s all about tim­ing, work­ing out your au­di­ence and know­ing how to re­late to them.’’

That trick also comes in handy when deal­ing with chil­dren, and some adults, who suf­fer from coul­ro­pho­bia – a fear of clowns.

‘‘It’s not a huge prob­lem. I’m quite good at talk­ing kids around and let­ting them see from a dis­tance that I’m not scary.’’

There will al­ways be a place for clowns, he says.

‘‘When­ever a kid meets a clown it’s al­most like they’re meet­ing a celebrity and adults can’t help but laugh and smile too as you’re crack­ing jokes.’’

One thing the joker is se­ri­ous about is not turn­ing into an old clown.

He plans to hang up his over­sized boots be­fore the magic runs out.

‘‘I don’t think it’s good for Corn­flake the Clown to be 40. Not be­cause I think I should be grow­ing up and get­ting a real job, I just like the idea of hav­ing a young, fresh clown in­stead of a crusty old one.’’

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

Be­fore and af­ter: Justin Lane is mak­ing a liv­ing from his child­hood pas­sion for clown­ing as the quick­wit­ted Corn­flake the Clown. Go to cen­tral­leader.co.nz and click on Lat­est Edi­tion to see Corn­flake the Clown at work.

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