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Cover Girl

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john starr extra

I’m in ‘Holding’ with two fellow ‘Background Performer’ pals waiting to be called onto set and we have a great discussion about what we would and would not do on film and for how much. Steve (his real name…good luck finding him) is an ex-Ringling Brothers Clown who recently made a lot of dough for showing his bare butt in a super gay non-pornographic scene on a Hit Premium Cable Show (which by the way you watch and you know you do). Steve doesn’t care about doing nudity and his Wife called him “Sweet Rump Roast” when it aired. My other friend is Leslie (an Ex-Laker Girl) who won’t do naked anything on-camera. Me neither (would you?). I am not a prude, just not a 25 year old hot built Male Model (but I play one on TV….okay not really ever).

I tell Steve & Leslie that I had my 1st audition recently in Drag and don’t want to do it again. Unless someone pays me a big bowl of money. You men picture driving around town cross-dressed in full make-up wearing high heeled sling backs and get back to me how you feel doing it. I felt unbalanced, literally (but got a couple of hoots and whistles teetering from my Car to the Casting Office…thank you Construction Workers of America for your support). With my Cheap Red Reba McEntire Wig I was quite the sight (call me Ugly Drag…”I’m a Pretty Girl Momma” was not my Mantra). Believe me driving around Hollywood in full Clown make-up and costume is much easier than pretending I’m someones Dream Girl. Other than a couple of kids screaming in terror in the car next to me lots of folks honk and are happily surprised when I’m Clowny. However my Drag get up got more of a Danny Thomas spit-out-your-coffee-double-take followed by a sneer and snort by the passing throngs. I’ve got Gay Pride for days but Drag me down is not my scene is seems. Don’t hate me Oscar Wilde.

Are you wondering about my obvious goatee and that Drag audition? This is why pancake make-up was invented! All it took was a couple handful scoops of ‘Medium Tan’ slathered on super thick (as said…I was not a pretty sight). Cover Girl indeed.

Written by jstarr

June 19th, 2010 at 3:19 pm

Circus Circus?

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Here’s a photo from a Paid Audition for a 1930s Circus Movie. No Clown Make-Up requested, just wear your Costume and have a 3 minute Act ready to perform in front of a Big Shot Director and his Flunkies. Oh…and do this with 8 other Clowns in a Huge Rehearsal Hall Somewhere in the Valley (down the street from Busch Gardens where I had my High School Prom). There’s an Old TV Christmas Variety Show Winter Wonderland Forest Set made for Mitzi Gayner that’s pushed to the side of the room and everyone is juggling and dancing and throwing cream pies pretending it ain’t there. The film will Star Several Oscar Winners who run-away and join the Circus, for a change. There is excitement in the air.

75 Professional Various Circus performers are rehearsing outside in a Parking Lot waiting their turn. It seems we all know each other & we greet many with “Hi Clown!” Sitting over there is The Fat Lady (she hasn’t sung yet). 2 Tall Guys both over 8 feet are dressed in Black with Shaved Heads (I say “Sup?” to the one I recently worked with and he answers “Bro!”). Lots of Guys on Stilts in Amazing Costumes (including a 20 Foot Long Tux and a guy in a fabulous Uncle Sam Red White & Blue Number that stops traffic). People are Juggling and Eating Fire. The Sexy Acrobatic Horse Back Riding Gals are all around 21 years & dressed like Ginger Rodgers and Carole Lombard. Their Hair is in Pin Curls or Short Blonde Wavy Bobs. Ooh Lah Lah. The Band Musicians practicing a jazzy “Stardust” on Horns are dressed like Hoagy Carmichael and making moves on the Girls, for a change.

A Little Person moseys up dressed like a Mini-Roy Rodgers and crows “Yippee-I-Oh-Ki-Yay!” while doing Whip Rope Lasso tricks. WHACK! Lots of Nun Chucks spinning (that Hawaiian thing Bette Midler does). A Casting Woman in Charge is doing an excellent Eve Arden impression and is funny and positive and much much much too loud. Luckily (and kindly) she laughs at most everything during our Auditions and comes off like Auntie Shill. Yay nice Casting Lady.

There are several S+M Highly Tattooed Trapeze Acts that try unsuccessfully to talk their way into the Audition. Their stuff is so obviously wrong for this Period Piece that a Stilt Walker saunters by saying “Good Luck with that Ladies”.  They groan. 5 Clowns without appointments were turned away and several of us gloat (sorry). I got this appointment from a Casting Web Site. They work! Do too!

My Audition:  Opened with “I’m here to read for HAMLET.” I then leaned over to give Eve Arden a Long Yellow Doggie Animal Balloon and let it go the second she grabbed for it (it was untied & blew away Phhhttt!…OOOps!).  2 Big Laughs. I Tap Dance while I show my New Red Derby empty and after saying “Nothin’ up my Sleeve” I pull a 12 foot Yellow and Red Thin Polka Dotted Scarf out from my Sleeve. By coincidence the Scarf matches my Costume…who knew? I slowly Jump Rope with the Scarf and instead of really Jumping I Stop & Step Over it while my Harpo Horn blasts HONK. Laugh. Repeat Bit. HONK. Another Laugh. I say “Those other Clowns are not the only ones who can Juggle Scarves.” The more I brag how good I am the more I bungle the Scarves. Laughs, Applause & Exit before they cut me off (5 of the 9 Acts were given the hook when Eve Arden interrupted with “Speed it up dear”). Not me.

A week later I find out I did not get a Call Back. I am not bitter, for a change. Everyone involved is a Total Pro and I wish them well on their sorry ass project that I wouldn’t want to do anyways. So there.

Plenty of Bupkis!

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“Bupkis” is Yiddish for “nothing.”   As in my Dad asking “What’s going on career wise?” and me replying “Plenty of Bupkis!”

Luckily work has been non-stop for months (touch wood). Then due to Valentine’s/President’s 3-Day weekend most filming ground to a halt. Thanks for bupkis Abe Lincoln. Ever the romantic, I had pre-paid for a fabulous French din-din with the boyfriend and decided to turn down a last minute Saturday/Sunday film job offer (what would Cupid do?)   Suddenly a week passes with no bookings. Thankfully I am not obsessing that because I turned down work, everyone in the entire business has black listed me (why? what have you heard?).

On Wednesday I planned to print out my new 8×10 glossy with Lucky the wonder dog to give to casting agents (let him earn the kibble for once). By Friday I finally got dressed and made it out of the house (when did I become that guy in sweatpants?).  The casting gals loved the photo and were positive that Lucky and I will be rolling in Pedigree soon. Excuse me as I light a candle and chant “Come on Pilot Season!”

Friends keep asking me when I will be on TV. Years ago I shot a WONDERFUL WORLD OF DISNEY film where a stunt driver in a Police Car accidentally smashed into me while I was driving my own car in a scene.  As my radiator literally fell to the pavement the Director (the late Vic Morrow who was very kind) shouted “Go with it kid!” Having tons of improv training I leapt onto the car hood and started yelling shtick at the fake Officer that he gave “Coppers” a bad name. Vic said “Cut!” and the crew applauded (and then arranged for my car to be towed back to the studio).  This was back in the TV Guide days (yes children there was no internet search in the dark ages of the 1970s). Finally the episode was scheduled and I mailed out 80 fliers.  My scene ended up on the cutting room floor except a 2 second wide shot of the Police Car hitting me. After the show aired everyone in the Western World called to say they saw bupkis. I learned the hard way to watch first and then tell people afterwards what thrilling moments they missed. Imagine my surprise when last night I accidentally found out my recent Circus Clown shoot was about to air! Who knew? 57 minutes into the episode 4 Clowns ran past the camera (shown from the neck down!)  I played it back twice with freeze frame for the boyfriend to recognize me. Raise your hand if you’re glad I didn’t alert you to miss it too. Of course it would have been fun to receive your text response “Hello bupkis, hello?”

Written by jstarr

February 22nd, 2010 at 3:25 pm