No, this isn’t about a politician. Staff writer Rebecca Holland interviewed a bona fide Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus clown.
Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey kickoff shows at Roanoke Civic Center
By Rebecca Holland
Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey have rolled into town and will be presenting “The Greatest Show on Earth” tonight through Sunday at the Roanoke Civic Center.
Clown Dean Kelley, 32 and a Kansas City native, joined the show in November 2002. The veteran performer took a break from clowning around to answer our questions.
Q: How did you get involved with the show?
I went to my very first circus as a child and I saw the clowns, and there was just something about them. I said “that’s what I want to do when I grow up,” so I started practicing.
Ringling Brothers used to have a clown college, but it closed in 1997 . I would’ve been eligible to join in 1998. Then they had a posting for an open audition for clowns, and it was the first time they had done that in over 30 years. I auditioned in Anaheim [Calif.], and they offered me a contract that day.
Q: What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen happen during a show?
It is live entertainment, so lots of things can happen and sometimes do.
One time one of our little horses, Goodies, got out of his cage during a show. So everyone back stage was trying to keep him from running onto the floor during the show.