Boffo was no Bozo. The surly, ill-tempered Boffo the Clown
(played by Pat McMahon) hated the following: kids, laughter, birthday
parties, and kids laughing at birthday parties. For Boffo, birthday
parties often ended in physical violence and property damage. He
once proudly announced to Slats (his name for Ladmo) that he would
never have to go to court again. The Arizona State Attorney General
added up all the times he had been hauled to court for assault,
intimidation and disturbing the peace and decided that he was too
expensive. “Stay on my good side, folks. Justice may
be blind but it’s a lot better when it’s broke.”
The character of Boffo began to appear on the show in the
mid 1960s. He began life as Ozob (spell it backwards and you’ll
get the drift). This was later changed to Boffo, possibly to
avoid a lawsuit.
My favorite guest character was Boffo the Clown. The idea of
a negative, burned-out clown was funny, even to an eight year old.
The favorite character of all, to me, it was Boffo the Clown.
He was the cynical clown who wasn’t funny, whohated kids.
He always had a splitting headache. He never wanted to be at birthday
parties. The kids annoyed him. He was, to me, he represented all
hypocrisy. Everything is the opposite of the way it looks to you.
Here’s this clown who hates kids, like here’s people
in charge who shouldn’t really be there. It’s kind
of the hypocrisy of business, the hypocrisy of government. To me,
a lot of Pat’s characters represented that, kind of showing
the other side of what they’re supposed to be.
Wallace: It’s Boffo, the funniest clown in town.
He’s hysterical. He’s
. . .
Boffo: Cut the intro. I don’t feel like
Wallace: Why not?
Boffo: I worked a birthday gig today that was
unbelievable. Those kids had ice cream and cake all over the floor
and the mother expected me to clean it up. Me. For a crummy two
bucks an hour. Down on my hands and knees picking up cake crumbs.
Would you believe it?
Wallace: What did you do?
Boffo: What any self-respecting clown would. I handled the
situation with dignity and calm maturity. I dumped the rest of
the cake on her carpet and shoved the rest of the ice cream in
her linen closet. Then I kicked a couple of the kids and smashed
all the birthday presents. To wrap it up, I tore down her curtains
and turned on the garden hose through the window. Happy birthday
to you, happy birthday . . . .
Wallace: Thank you very much, Boffo.
Boffo: I got pride, you know.
Boffo the Clown
"Boffo's Kiddie Fun Park" (1980's)