DDPredardo

Darryl Douglas

Entertaining is a Thrill

As a child, I remember watching a clown on a television show. He was acting a fool and making everybody laugh. There were lots of them entertaining a bunch of kids and a few adults. It was the coolest thing to see people entertained like that. The whole clown suit, shoes, nose, and all was so cool. You had the opportunity to be a fool and act stupid, make people laugh and at the same time, not be recognized. I thought, ‘You can do all that and no one knows who you really are.’

PTCPredardo the Clown is the name I came up with back then. It’s a combination of my last, middle and first names. What’s interesting is that now, many years later, I use that name for my email address. So I guess Predardo the Clown never really left me.

The interesting thing about being a clown is, if you’re making people laugh and giving them a good time, you should want them to see your face because it’s you who is making them feel good. So why hide your face? To me, that was part of the excitement. I’m someone different. Being incognito makes it more exciting.

What made you decide to finally realize your lifelong dream? 

I never consciously set out to pursue the dream of being a clown.  I had honestly given up on it in my 20s when I realized the cost of going to clown school. When I looked into it, back then, it was around $6,000 and the school was located in Oklahoma. I lived in Ohio. I had to pay for air fare and room and board. At that time, it didn’t make sense to me. So I didn’t pursue it further. I could have done like many others, just put on a clown outfit, paint my face, wear big shoes and carry balloons. But it was important for me to be a certified clown.

What were the specific obstacles that you faced?

The costs associated with becoming a certified clown. Not having the money and having to travel out of state to learn to be a clown would have been a hard sell to the family. I couldn’t do it without their support.  So I just kept it buried.

I didn’t tell a lot of people about my dream, except Lucretia Sullivan. I didn’t think at the time that I needed others to help me be accountable. I thought I’d just pursue it and keep it to myself. I found that the more I kept it in, the desire kept burning. I didn’t want to spend too much energy talking about it and not put that energy into doing it.

What helped you get through them?

I guess the desire was always there…lying dormant, because when I saw an article in the paper that Six Flags was looking for scare actors, I immediately jumped at the chance. I read that they needed actors to play scary, psychotic clowns (also elves, doctors, giraffes…), and the light bulb went off. Had I not read the paper that day, I would have missed the article.

The original obstacle (cost of clown school), was no longer there. I now had the chance to just pursue my dream of being a clown.

Were there people that tried to discourage you?

I was prepared to play a psychotic clown because in my younger days I pursued a modeling and acting career. A few family members tried to discourage me from the acting and modeling. Some of the comments I heard were: Models were gay and people would think that I was homosexual; I didn’t have the “look” to be a model/actor; No one in the family has ever done it, so what makes you think that you can?; Why can’t you be happy just having a regular J-O-B?..

So, I never told anyone I was trying out to be a clown.

How did you feel when you finally accomplished your lifelong dream?

As perverse and sick as it may sound, I get a thrill knowing that I have the ability to scare the s%^$ out of people. It is really something to see the terror in someone’s eyes and to know that I caused it.  I guess my dark side has finally come out.

What advice would you give to others that are contemplating finally living their dream?

Live each day as if it is your last, because one day it will be.  I would hate to leave this earth not attempting to do the desires of my heart.

I can honestly say that everything I desired to do in my life I have attempted to do. I have not always been successful, but I’ve tried.

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