Riding in Cars With Clowns
Review By: Gringo

There's a song on my iPod (hello, life in Tomorrowland!) called Tears of a Clown. Thing is, I've never listened to it beyond the first couple of notes. I think it came with a 1960s compilation CD, or I stole it from the Internet while drunkenly using my computer, which is sadly something that happens more often than socially acceptable.

Having never heard the song, I have no idea what the Tears of a Clown sound like, capitalized letters T and C notwithstanding. But after spending some time in the company of the world's greatest clown, I do know one thing: you should be insanely jealous.

VeeKay the Clown is a well known performer who has a semi-regular column on this site in which he writes about his clowning lifestyle. He's also the subject of perhaps one of our best interviews. Why so good, you ask? Well, keep reading and I'll tell you why, you eager little walnut!

Part of VeeKay's appeal -- to me, at least -- is his complete lack of cynicism and the fact I've never read or heard a swear word from him. Given that the rest of the people who write for this website (myself included) were raised by Papa Cynic and Mama Cuss, reading his articles is a definite breath of fresh air for us. Oh, and on a side note in case you were wondering, yes, Mama Cuss died choking on a ham sandwich.

Ever since the first time VeeKay and I exchanged e-mails, our communication had always been via computer, like two online gamers except we didn't play Quake 3 and we didn't go by made up names like KillZone and ClownBoot123. It's hard to really judge someone by the e-mails they send, but thankfully VeeKay's missives came with interview responses and self-penned articles that shed light on his incredibly affable personality. Yet it seemed like VeeKay and I were never to meet in person.

A couple of months ago, that all changed.

I booked a trip to the Land of the Fake -- Hollywood, California -- to visit some friends, and casually thought it might be a good idea to see if VeeKay wanted to hang out. To my surprise, he said yes. To cut a long and inevitably tiresome story short, one day in May (that rhymes!) there I was, waiting on a street corner to get picked up by VeeKay and hang out for the day.

To get the most obvious question out the way first, no, VeeKay was not dressed like a clown. In fact, I didn't recognize him at first because I'd only ever seen him in face paint and clown uniform. I don't mean it as an insult when I say that VeeKay in person looks almost perfectly average, except dressed with a little bit of flair and with charisma like that jolly friend of your dad's that you actually like. Given the friends my parents have, that qualification is rare.

We got into VeeKay's car, which was a little worn around the edges, and set off. Our destination? Perhaps the greatest destination ever: to visit VeeKay's friend Chuy the Wolf Boy at the circus where they'd both been performing. And yes, I'm aware of the generous lumps of hyperbole stuffed into this six-course dinner of an article.

During the two-hour-plus car ride to the circus (and the equally lengthy journey back), I learned a lot of interesting stuff about VeeKay. He's a veteran, he's doing very well career-wise thank you very much, he's met several Presidents, he's apparently liked by every single human being he comes into contact with, he's got links to genuine Indian tribes, he's...you get the idea.

One little tidbit that came out of our lengthy conversations was the fact that thanks to Listen To Me, the BBC found out about VeeKay and Chuy the Wolf Boy and eventually ended up doing a documentary on them. Despite the obnoxious tone in which I write most of my articles, I have to say that it makes me genuinely happy and surprised that through this gaudy little website I've been able to set in motion something like the BBC documentary. I've also successfully reunited two actors from Ninja Academy thanks to this site, but I'll save that tale for another day.

We met Chuy in the remnants of Circus Vargas' latest ground. The circus was packing up and moving on to a new location about an hour down the road, giving us time to hang out with Chuy and get a meal.

During lunch at a nearby Mexican restaurant -- which coincidentally was playing a Mexican television show on television that VeeKay had starred in -- Chuy came across as a little shy, but that might be because he doesn't speak English as well as VeeKay and had also had an accident that made it painful for him to eat, let alone talk to some annoying stranger from a simple little website. But in the translated snippets of conversation I had with him via VeeKay, I liked his generally upbeat attitude.

Seriously, they must put something in the circus peanuts, because Chuy and VeeKay are two of the most optimistic people I've ever met. They never try and slip sarcastic jibes into their speech, and they're genuinely happy doing what they do. I'm glad I got to hang out with them for a day.

If you're expecting some grand insight into why exactly I had such a good time and why VeeKay seems like such a great guy, you're going to be disappointed. He's a nice guy, plain and simple.

I wish I had some wacky story to share with you, or some tale of how a circus elephant almost killed me, or how I got into a dispute with a random stranger. But no. It was just a good old-fashioned fun day out, and quite frankly I think if you're hanging out with VeeKay, it's impossible to have anything but a good time.

Tears of a Clown? Only tears of laughter when you're with VeeKay.


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