We sit down and have a chat with Cornflake the Clown, the creator of Cornflake’s Magic World– Auckland’s number one entertainment provider for birthday parties, corporate events and preschool shows. He takes time to share a few insights into being a clown and the common misconception that clowns are scary!
What made you decide to be a children’s entertainer and how did you get started?
It may sound cliché but it was a childhood dream. I remember seeing my first clown when I was four years old and being really intrigued. All the kids were laughing and his show was amazing. I became obsessed with magic and got my first magic kit when I six years old. I would get books from the library on magic, and learn new tricks which I would perform for the kids at school. I literally became the class clown. When I was 13 I started my own little business performing as Cornflake the Clown. My mum would drive me to all of the shows – she was my biggest support. I started making enough money to buy new tricks and slowly built the business that is now Cornflake’s Magic World.
What is your show about?
Our show’s are designed to delight children but has a similarity to the movie Shrek in that it has humour for both kids and adults. Parents are often amazed at how much the kids get into the show – cracking up laughing, and rolling around. They often tell us they also weren’t expecting to find the show so relatable to them too. My belief is that kids want to feel loved, respected, and understood. At a core our show is about making kids feel happy – we want them to feel good about themselves. I believe that is a big part of a clown’s role, to not only have fun with kids but to empower them.
How do you make kids feel comfortable if they are wary of clowns?
Sometimes kids can be unsure of a clown because he looks a little strange. The exaggerated features can take them by surprise, so giving children a genuine smile and some time to get comfortable is often all they need. The fear of clowns and other characters such as robots is because of ‘The Uncanny Valley Effect’, where a character has human-like features and mannerisms but is not quite human. This can cause confusion and is why people can feel a bit uneasy. This is why clowns have often been characterised in movies as the villain, but in reality they are a symbol of joy and happiness.
Do you recall any funny moments where something didn’t quite go to plan?
There have been many funny moments where kids do and say the most unexpected things. I once had this little girl up to help me with the show. She was three years old and had short blond curly hair. She didn’t want the magic wand, she wanted to do real magic with her hands. She did the trick and everyone gave her a massive round of applause. I shook her magic hand and said, “Thank you for helping keep it real.” She replied, “I do keep it real because I have real hair!”.
What is the best thing about being a clown?
This job has shaped my life in a wonderful way. When you give joy, you receive just as much joy back in return. I feel fortunate that ‘a day at the office’ for me involves making children laugh, I don’t think you can get much better than that!