|Born||Hugh Nanton Romney
(1936-05-15) May 15, 1936
East Greenbush, New York, United States
|Spouse(s)||Bonnie Beecher (m. 1965)|
A clown I knew who was retiring from Ringling Brothers gave me his giant shoes, and somebody else made me a clown suit.
At Marshall Field in Chicago, I had them take a big bed into the menswear department, one with black sheets. I’d get in bed wearing a nightcap, and my fans would get in bed with me, one at a time, and I’d sign their memorabilia. And then I’d give them a free pint of Ben & Jerry’s.
And I also thought that Richard Nixon was the greatest political education we have ever had, but it looks like we need to relearn them again.
Don’t underlook the Sixties; we started eating more vegetables, respecting women, and we shut down Vietnam. We did a lot of good stuff. But it shouldn’t shut you down from the moment.
Laughter is the valve on the pressure cooker of life. Either you laugh and suffer, or you got your beans or brains on the ceiling.
It had an enormous impact to the point of the United Nations passing a resolution against the killing and hunting of these whales as they are an endangered species. This was a documentary on the plight of the whales.
I became a clown when these docs came to the house in Berkeley and asked me to come cheer up kids. I’d just had my third spinal fusion and I was looking for something to take my mind off the pain I was in.
I’ve been married to the same woman for forty years, and whenever people ask us how we managed to stay married for so long, we usually say as one voice, ‘What’s the secret? Don’t get divorced!’
Sure, I could of done it different… put my clown in a closet and dressed up in straight clothing. I could of compromised my essence, and swallowed my soul.
Well, this week for example, I was just in Los Angeles making a documentary for German television on whales. They had tried to get me in England where they missed me.
What a rush it was to plunge into the bin of official decision and cast a ballot in favor of FUN.
I was at the 1976 Republican Convention in Kansas City. I was running ‘Nobody for President’ at the time. I printed up these press releases and handed them out to the crowd at the Kemper Arena. ‘Nobody keeps campaign promises.’ ‘Nobody lowers your taxes.’ ‘Nobody should have that much power.’ ‘Nobody is in Washington working for you.’
Bob Weir calls me a saint, but I’m ‘Saint Misbehavin’.’ They’re making a documentary about my life, and that’s the current shooting title. I can roll with that, but otherwise the s-word makes me really paranoid.
Keep your sense of humor, my friend; if you don’t have a sense of humor it just isn’t funny anymore.
I had 500 kids at camp this past summer for example. We do nine weeks for kids and nine days for grown ups every summer. The adult camp is a lot of fun.
To let the people know there was life beyond Shirley Dean, we decided to focus on voter registration; each day I set up my card table somewhere in the district, signed people up, and passed out noses.