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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Profile: John Dabney, party clown

(photo by Joeff Davis)

click to enlarge fall_profile1_25.jpg

While studying marketing at Howard University in D.C., John Dabney opened a party-supply store that provided clowns for parties. After moving to Atlanta, business was so good, he started clowning himself to keep up with demand.

“There’s a tremendous market for African-American clowns. Overwhelming.”

“I think African-Americans think the [African-American] clown might have a better connection with the children. The weird part is that it does not matter to children at all. Unfortunately, it is an adult issue.”

His clown name is Bobo. “There was a clown who worked with us in D.C. named Bobo. He stopped clowning, so I stole his name.”

“As a clown, you can educate. You can give them safety tips. They really enjoy it, because it’s not from a parent or teacher.”

On kids who are afraid of clowns: “At 1, they are OK. At 2 and 3, they know what’s going on and when one child screams, it’s a domino effect.”

On adults who are afraid of clowns: “It’s a fear they had when they were children. They’ve never dealt with it.”

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