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I AM the Hollywood Clown

Eric, or has most people know him, Sharpo, is the reason I started doing kid’s parties. Sharpo and I go back almost 20 years, I met him soon after I first moved to Los Angeles to feed my acting addiction. We’ve performed together (and still do on occasion) doing murder mystery’s, worked together in not one, but two sketch groups, played music together and entertained at the occasional birthday party. Like all L.A. relationships, we’ve grown apart at times and went for a long time without seeing one another. We reconnected a few years ago at a yard sale. My yard sale to be exact. He was walking with his family – yes, Eric had become a family man, and I came to find out that he also lived down the street from my wife and I. We are both new fathers, twice over and are both now in our 40’s. I hear it’s the new 20’s, only with less aches and pains.

When Eric asked me if I would be interested in being interviewed for his online “Sharpo Says” blog talk radio show, how could I say no? He is the man responsible for me wondering into the world of children’s birthday parties, no “if’s”, “and’s” or “but’s”, it WAS 100% his doing. And that experience awakened a sleeping desire in me, the desire to write a book.

Thank you Eric.

You can listen to the interview here – http://www.blogtalkradio.com/sharpo/2011/02/15/sharpo-says-interview-with-actor-author-jason-lassen

I AM The Hollywood Clown

My friend Stacy’s disdain for passing out goody bags at birthday parties was recently brought to my attention via Facebook. She realized that she needs “20 of something” to handout, and being a working mom she doesn’t have a second to shop. Within her status, she received lots of advice from her friends on what to do… and what not to do.

“I stopped doing them! They are a stupid idea!!” Allyson said.

“Hate them. Skip them!!!” stated Christine.

Janice’s advice, “I truly do not think the kids will notice no gift bag. Go for it!”

Yet Darcy added, “My daughter actually cried at a party that did not have them.”

While performing at a birthday party, I once witnessed a pack of children ravenously chanting “Goody bags! Goody bags! Goody bags!” It was like the overly zealous kids from Children Of The Corn on crack. I can honestly say that I don’t remember the exact moment when goody bags became the “norm” at birthday parties. It makes you think, “Who started the whole ‘goody bag’ craze anyway?” Obviously, it wasn’t a working parent.

In Los Angeles, the contents of GB’s from a party can get as competitive as the party itself. The really wealthy clients would have the party planning company provide the GB’s so they didn’t have to think about it. I remember clients that would specifically say, “We would like to have the same goody bags that you handed out at the Spielberg’s party, but better. We’ll pay more, of course.” Well, I’m going to let you all in on a big secret. My bosses would send me to downtown Los Angeles to purchase cheap $1 toys in bulk to stuff into the goody bags for the children of celebrity millionaires.

Have we gotten to the point of no return? Are goody bags expected? Is it a regional/class thing? Thus the question: To goody bag or not to goody bag? Do we teach our children that goody bags are a token of generosity and not a requirement?

My wife loves goody bags. She loves getting them and she loves giving them. But for her getting one is a bonus, not an expectation, and perhaps that is the difference.

In my opinion, the best piece of advice Stacy received was from her friend Dawn: “Give them a book.” And that is what she did. Reading: the gift that gives a lifetime.

I AM The Hollywood Clown

Category: Celebrity

On any given day, only 2% of actors are working as actors and only 5% of actors actually make a living on acting alone. Far more common than the “working actor” is “The Working Actor” who finds himself unemployed for long stretches at a time and often end s up working menial jobs.

I am one of the latter actors. Some of the jobs, outside of the TV and Film industry, I’ve had include –

Seismic Retrofitter

Construction Worker


Balloon Artist

Day Care Worker

Art & Music Teacher


and Farm Hand, just to name a few.

I’m currently working as a Seismic Retrofitter and recently had the pleasure of being interview by Mark over at The Working Actor website. Mark’s site is dedicated to the actor who works, but unfortunately is not yet at the level where they make a living as an actor. It’s filled with wonderful, hard working artist, who fill in all the puzzle pieces on TV and film that otherwise would seem incomplete without them. Believe me, you would notice a scene in a restaurant with no other patrons other than the lead actors.

When I first heard of Mark’s website, I emailed him, told him what I did for my day job and sent him a photo of one of my many treasures I’ve found under houses over the past six years. He liked what he heard, was frightened by what he saw and we set up a time for the interview.

While he was setting up his camera, we were talking and I started telling him about the book I had written called, “Hollywood Clown” based on my years working as a children’s entertainer here in Los Angeles. He loved the stories so much that he wanted me to wait and tell them to him while he filmed me.

The three stories that he used for his website were –

When I played peek-a-boo with Robert De Niro while dressed as Winnie the Pooh, where I had a gun pulled on me, also while dressed as Winnie the Pooh and lastly, when I was directed by Steven Spielberg for one of his home movies.

I told him that those were just a tip of the iceberg. I’ve got a ton of stories about the rich and famous, as well as about your average Joey bag-o-donuts, being nice, very nice and downright inhumane and cruel.

“How do you remember all the stories?” Mark asked.

“Easy,” I told him, “I’ve been keeping a journal for the past twenty-two years and that includes all 845 of the parties I did.”

“I guess I’ll be in that journal now, huh?”

“That’s right. And it’ll be filed under ‘Acting’ stuff.”

Mark took a few photos of me working and was on his way. A few weeks later his feature on me was up at his website. He included a few of the commercials I did for Sprint, Dunkin’ Donuts and Long John Silvers in his teaser for my story. I had a great time working with Mark and am happy that he’s giving people a glimpse at the lives of the non-celebrities that are us… The Working Actor.

I AM the Hollywood Clown (insert Link addition special)

Write what you know so that you know what you’re writing about. The first lesson any writer learns.

Every day people come up with ideas for scripts, be they film or television. Most will never see the light of day. One’s chances of getting a script made grow exponentially depending on one’s height of celebrity. This does not always mean that those scripts should get made. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. (Hello paging Kevin Smith, Gigli? Really?)

Today I was told about a particular script idea that was of great interest to me. Unfortunately, it will suck. Why? Well, number one, it’s a Hallmark TV movie of the week – enough said. And number two, the author of that script, Peter Facinelli, has no idea about his subject matter. Now don’t get me wrong, I like the guy as an actor. He’s brilliant on “Nurse Jackie” and as much as I hate to admit it, I liked him in “Twilight.” I am not admitting to liking Twilight, just Mr. Facinelli in it.

What’s his script about? His wife, Jennie Garth, revealed the script is about “an actor inside the Barney suit – a giant stuffed animated kids character” who ends up meeting a woman who “changes his perspective on things.”

“An actor inside a Barney suit.” The exact topic of the book that I’ve been working on for six years, and that I finally finished last year. I, in true Hollywood fashion, also have a TV script as well as a movie script about the subject. The difference is I know what I’m talking about.

I worked as an entertainer at children’s birthday parties in Los Angeles for five-and-a-half years, and during that time I documented my sometimes-frightening, often-hilarious experiences. I performed for everyone from the Hollywood rich and famous, including Steven Spielberg and Cindy Crawford, to families in such poor neighborhoods that everyone on the block had to pitch in just so Barney could make an appearance at their party. A few other interesting tidbits from my book:

I played peek-a-boo with Robert DeNiro.

I was held up at gunpoint while dressed up as Winnie the Pooh.

I had sex (as defined by most people except Bill Clinton) with a Hollywood producer while being paid to be Santa Claus at her Christmas party. Ho, Ho, Ho!

I overheard a potential plot to kidnap Steven Spielberg’s kids.

I knew someone who ran a kids party business out of the same office as a gay porn production company.

I was faced with the question of whether certain performers were pedophiles.

I witnessed a businesses go under because the “Barney” people sued them for copywrite infringement (Look out Peter!)

…and a ton of other priceless adventures all taken from my first hand experiences

It makes me sad to see another movie being made about a topic (Death to Smoochie was unwatchable, even with Robin Williams and Ed Norton) by people who are clueless on the subject. I hope that Peter Facinelli’s masterpiece doesn’t sour your palettes too much on the subject so that I, an unknown struggling Writer/Actor, at least has a chance to share my party-entertaining experiences with the world.

Good luck Peter! If you want some advice look me up on Facebook.

I AM The Hollywood Clown!

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