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.
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.’’
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.