Everyone’s laughing at Matt De Goldi, but that’s the point

The more they laugh at him, the happier he is. Everyone is ready to laugh. (ABC: Kellie Hollingworth)
As well as working for circuses Mr De Goldi spent almost two decades at Dreamworld on the Gold Coast, where he was the mascot clown.He has also performed at birthday parties, shopping centres and agricultural shows.Mr De Goldi said clowns were viewed as optional extras in many of these places, but not at the circus.”The appreciation of what I do is so much better here. Matt De Goldi doesn’t mind in the least when children point their fingers at him and burst out laughing.And he doesn’t care if people think he’s an idiot. I think he’ll do something more serious.”

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Lucy clowns around with Matt De Goldi at the circus. Photo:
It takes Matt De Goldi an hour to apply his face paint and transform into Goldie the Clown. “I’ve got no ability to be anything other than an idiot, so I bought myself a costume and started clowning,” Mr De Goldi said. (ABC: Kellie Hollingworth)
And while it’s hard for outsiders to comprehend the nomadic lifestyle that circus performers lead, Mr De Goldi said some aspects were not that different.His mobile home has a bath, queen-sized bed and kitchen. The circus even has its own school.”You get used to it very quickly because we set it up the same in every town, so the caravans are in the same place, the tent is in the middle, so it’s just like a little town that moves,” Mr De Goldi said.The children who travel with the circus also have the opportunity to get involved.Mr De Goldi’s daughter Lucy, eight, loves clowning around, but five-year-old son Billy isn’t so keen to follow in his father’s footsteps.”I bought him a set of clown shoes for Christmas and he hasn’t worn them. (Supplied: Matt De Goldi) He used to cut my head off and gave me a dollar per show,” Mr De Goldi said.Mr De Goldi’s sister went on to become a trapeze artist, but it was clowning that seemed to be a better fit for the father-of-two.Mr De Goldi never intended be a clown his entire working life, assuming he’d get a real job at some point, but he has been doing it for 26 years. Photo:
Matt De Goldi and his eight-year-old daughter Lucy spend time relaxing in their mobile home. When I come out I’ve already won them over, I’ve just got to be good,” he said.Retirement isn’t something Mr De Goldi is thinking about yet, especially when the job is so enjoyable.”Making people laugh is great, bad days are rare,” he said.While more athletic circus performers have a limited career, he said it was quite possible that he could be assisted onto stage and still be performing in his 80s and 90s.Life on the roadMr De Goldi’s partner and two children also travel with the circus. Mr De Goldi is one of a dying breed of circus performers whose work attire is a wig, face paint, a big red nose and oversized shoes.Better known as Goldie the Clown, the 41-year-old travels around Australia for 11 months of the year with Hudsons Circus making people laugh.Life on the road is not a new concept for Mr De Goldi.When he was 12, his parents announced they were leaving the small central Victorian town of Carisbrook to join the circus, where they began as cooks for the circus crew.Shopping centres and agricultural showsLater, his mother became the sound technician and his father helped with ticketing.Mr De Goldi’s first moments in the spotlight were with Silvers Circus Ringmaster Tommy Hanlon Jr.”He used to pick me out of the audience to be his stooge.
Map:
Mildura 3500
(Supplied: Hudsons Circus) ABC Mildura-Swan Hill

By Kellie Hollingworth

Updated

February 03, 2018 11:42:18

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Never a dull moment: Matt De Goldi has been performing as a clown for 26 years.