How to Parent
Like a Clown


How to Parent
Like a Clown

My pal Dan Pashman from The Sporkful told me I should interview a clown. I wasn’t so sure. But Dan was insistent. He was like, “No, really. I think they’d have a lot to say about using clowning techniques on their kids.”

Well, I reluctantly went looking for a clown. And I’m glad I did because Dan was right! Clowns have all kinds of tricks up their sleeves. And lots of them are useful in manipulating your own progeny. Or spouses. Or coworkers, really.

Meet Andy Sapora, aka Dr. Baba. He’s a hospital clown with the Big Apple Circus Clown Care Program. Here he is going on a coffee run after a hospital stint with one of his clowning partners, Peter Daniel Straus, who goes by “Dr. Peety.” Andy’s the one with the naturally clown-like hair.


He’s also performed with the vaudevillian Flying Karamozov Brothers (left) and Pagliacci, the Italian opera with clowns (right).


Meeting Andy, I’ve gotta tell you, he exudes clowniness. He seems to approach every single interaction as if he’s looking to turn it into a game. And, as you’ll hear in this episode, that’s how he approaches his family life, too. He even used a clowning principle at his own wedding, when he accidentally dropped the ring. And then … did it over and over and over again. (The principle: if you get a laugh, repeat.) As you can see, his wife liked it.


Tune in for all kinds of clowning secrets you can use at home. Plus sound effects. And an ode to the fart.

How have you tricked YOUR kids out of tantrums?
Or maybe your parents tricked you? Tell all. Down there.

Andy in Karamozov: Rod Kimball; Andy in Pagliacci: Cory Weaver; wedding photos: Todd Warnock

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24 thoughts on “EPISODE #83: How to Parent Like a Clown

  1. My favorite playing the game trick is for tantrums. I used this on many a kid over my babysitting, nannying, daycare-ing and parenting days. And I even use it on stranger’s kids at times. It’s really simple, pretty sure my dad used it on us when we were growing up. When a kid throws a tantrum you tell them they aren’t do it good enough. Give them pointers on having the scream really come from the diaphragm and to really kick hard at the same time you get those arms going. Really tell them to do it better in every imaginable way. Usually this stops them in no time and the tantrum is over. If it doesn’t at least you had some fun with it, lol.

  2. I must have been about 5 and melting down from being over-hungry and my mother grabbed a box of wagon wheel pasta and held it up, made her face and voice as bright as she could and said “wagon wheels!”. Wagon wheel pasta still fills me with joy.

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