(Reviewed by JD Jung)
“What’s worse than an out-of-work actor? An out-of-work actor who dresses up like Santa for a month for Hollywood power players and is reminded he’s a lonely depressed, out-of-work actor dressing up in costumes all year round for Hollywood power players who, out in the real world, wouldn’t piss on him if he was on fire. They might have one of their servants do it if they felt generous.”
Actor Jason Lassen takes us into the cutthroat, lucrative business of children’s parties for the rich and famous in his humorous but thoughtful memoir, Hollywood Clown.
I discovered this read while listening to an interview with the author on our local rock station while driving to work. He came off with a witty, dark sense of humor and I just had to learn more.
And who would know more about this world than Lassen? He takes us through his stint (well, a small representation of his 840 parties) of playing “Honey Bear Types”, “Purple Dino Types” and other characters while creating balloon animals for spoiled kids who just want to punch him in the gut or tear his head off.
It’s not just posh Beverly Hills parties, Spielberg birthdays or playing peek-a-boo with Robert DeNiro. He also finds himself in south central dressed like Winnie the Pooh with a gun cocked at his head. There’s also the Armenian christening where cash is thrown down like that of a wedding or Bar Mitzvah. Let’s not forget the holidays, when the parents want to play while the kids are entertained. Also, why not contract Santa for an adult party? Then there’s his run-in with “Demon” Wayans.
Its not all laughs, though. There’s a sadness and sense of desperation pursuing the Hollywood dream and trying to find love at the same time. He leaves family far behind to meet so -called “friends” who would do anything to realize their own dreams even at the expense of those close to them.
Does our Hollywood clown ever succeed in this grueling and superficial town? You’ll just have to find out on your own, and enjoy the journey along the way.