In My Words: Darlene Uyeda, aka Bungie da Clown

Even after 22 years, Uyeda still loves seeing grown men do the hokey pokey.

photo by Mark Arbeit

Kids are funny. They ask me a lot, “Is that your real hair?” or “Are you Ronald McDonald’s wife? You have the same shoes!” One time, I was sitting down, and this little girl just pulled off my wig—so shame! Babies love to grab the nose. Now I can tell when they’re coming for me. I just know.

Some kids—even some adults—are terrified of clowns. I did a show at Red Hill, and when I drove up, this lady ran into her house and wouldn’t come out. One little girl hid under a table for an entire party. The majority of the time, when children see how you are with the other kids, they’re OK. They’ll come to you.

There’s a code of ethics for clowns. When you’re in costume, you’re not supposed to drink, eat or go to the bathroom. It’s like watching Santa smoke—it’s not right. If kids see you, they might be traumatized.

I love doing what I do; you forget everything that’s going on in your life at that moment. When you make people laugh, that makes up for everything—the traffic in getting to the party, how hot my costume is. When you see grown men do the hokey pokey and enjoy it, you know you’ve clicked with them.