HOLLYWOOD HAS ALWAYS BEEN a town filled with wannabes–wannabe actors, wannabe screenwriters, wannabe directors and wannabe producers.
But now, if the crowd that squeezed into the Laugh Factory yesterday is any indication, it seems another profession has been added to the list–wannabe Bozos. And when we say Bozos, we’re not talking about Dan Quayle, we’re talking about Bozo the Clown.
It was all part of an open casting call staged by the original TV Bozo, Larry Harmon, who launched the clown on TV over 35 years ago.
It seems that there’s once again demand for the famous clown and Harmon was looking for a few good men–and women–to fill those size 25AAA shoes.
Obviously, other journalists could smell a good story … it was hard at times to distinguish the clowns from the reporters.
As the reporter from “A Current Affair” barked questions at Harmon, I was happy that they finally found a subject other than Amy Fisher to explore.
Perhaps, though, in keeping with that story’s high standards, they were planning on doing a story about how Bozo had influenced Fisher or that his car was repaired by Joey Buttafuoco.
Harmon, who these days is too busy running the Bozo empire to dress up as the clown, addressed the assembled multitudes of aspiring Bozos before they took the stage.
“I’m looking for a people person,” he told the group. “Many of you can do many things in life, but only a few are people persons. Bozo is very special.”
LOOKING AROUND THE ROOM, I wasn’t sure how many “people persons” there actually were in the room. But many had indeed journeyed from all over the country for a chance to act like Bozo. There was an allergy specialist from Texas, a toilet seat manufacturer, a ballerina, an aerospace worker and a biology teacher, to name a few. There were even a few professional clowns.
One eager applicant was Joe, who said he’s a commercial fisherman living in Las Vegas. He explained that there isn’t a lot of work for fisherman in Las Vegas these days and he was looking for another line of work, hopefully, as the new Bozo.
He got a quick “Don’t call us, we’ll call you” from Harmon. He obviously wasn’t quite enough of a people person. Perhaps there’s a future in chartering fishing trips at Lake Mead, after all.
Then there was Phil, a native of Memphis, who looked like Bozo, but sounded like Elvis. This sounded like a potent combination that would probably be a big hit at Bar Mitzvahs if he didn’t land the role as the new Bozo. Asked why he wanted to be the next Bozo, he answered, “I’ve got a clown’s heart even without the suit.”
Another applicant was more honest. “I just want to do it for the money,” said Don, a guitarist in a heavy metal band, who lives in Hollywood. With his green hair, he looked like he had just come from a gig. “I’m hoping I can land the job as Bozo, make a lot of money and then retire.”
And in keeping with the “year of the woman” theme made popular by this year’s flock of female politicians, there were even numerous women applying for a chance to be Bozo–what do you call them? Bozette?
BOZO NEEDS A MATE,’ said one eager woman, a plumber dressed in a clown outfit. “He also needs some children and I could be the one to help him out.”
Another woman was Laurie, the medical technician from Texas. She was desperate to give up her job testing people for allergies.
“I’ve got to get this job,” she said, intently. “I’m getting tired of sticking needles in people’s backs.” With that kind of background, she had “people person” written all over her.
So, when it was all over, Harmon would retreat to his office and in a few weeks decide who would be the next Bozo, that lucky wannabe who could now make an appearance in front of a world hungry to see more of the famous clown.
I suppose the fact that there’s any kind of demand for Bozo probably says more about the sad state of our society than anything else, including the recent run on Madonna’s “Sex” book.
Come to think of it, Madonna’s book brings to mind the next logical route for Bozo: Maybe a photo book on Bozo–posing with Vanilla Ice and Naomi Campbell or, better yet, Amy Fisher–can’t be too far away. I can see it now. Bozo the Clown pumping gas wearing nothing but his fringe of red hair.
Even I would shell out 50 bucks for that.