The father is the only one who clowns around at the Farberman house.
Shane Farberman, the 54-year-old entertainer who performs as Doo Doo the Clown — known for his movie role in Billy Madison, in which he starred alongside Adam Sandler — is returning to the Red River Ex for the 25th year. This time around, he’ll perform with his 21-year-old son Aaron Farberman, whose stage name as a magician is Aaron Matthews.
"It’s a thrill. I get to spend Father’s Day with my oldest son, who is one of Canada’s top illusionists now," Farberman told the Free Press Wednesday, during a phone interview that interrupted the clown’s hour-long makeup routine.
They aren’t scheduled to perform together, but Doo Doo the Clown and Aaron Matthews will both work at the fairgrounds for 10 days starting Friday, and the clown said he plans on handing out balloons to the audience before his son’s shows and occasionally jumping onstage to goof around with him.
"We've performed at other fairs and festivals, but not at the same time," Farberman said. "That's why it's so exciting."— Shane Farberman, aka Doo Doo the Clown
"We’ve performed at other fairs and festivals, but not at the same time," Farberman said. "That’s why it’s so exciting."
He added his son has achieved success, performing magic across the country and scripting the magic tricks in the new CBC Kids show Thrillusionists, "all on his own."
The Magic of Aaron Matthews show is scheduled about 30 times from June 15 to 24 at the Ex.
As for Doo Doo the Clown, Farberman said he’ll hand out 20,000 balloons to visitors and will "do little dance parties" with families as he wanders along the midway with a boombox disguised as a suitcase.
Farberman’s dad owned a candy trailer, so he grew up a carnie, selling candy floss and selling kettle corn at fairs.
Matthews also grew up around carnival foods — the trailer’s been their family business for more than 60 years.
"Candy and snowcones run through our veins," Matthews said.
The illusionist started performing at age three, appearing in a tiny tuxedo in a warm-up act where he’d show off simple tricks (like shaking a plain cloth to make it change colours) before his dad took to the resort stage in Turks and Caicos. Now his favourite performance tricks include sticking a nail through his nose and pulling 60 metres of paper out of his mouth.
Matthews said he grew up watching and admiring how happy his father made strangers by simply showing them a trick or telling them a joke. When asked what he tells people who don’t believe in magic, he said "magic is as real as me and you."
"Like most parents, you want your kids to finish university or college, but he puts 110 per cent into everything he does," his dad said.
"If I wake up at 2 o’clock in the morning, he’s got a magic room — we have a little theatre room in our house, which he turned into a magic room — and if I walk in unexpectedly, he’s standing there, practising his illusions."
Farberman, who lives with his wife and three kids in Thornhill, Ont., said he’s "very close" to his family despite spending so much time on the road.
"This year, I’m doing 180 days where I’m not home."
Farberman said his 19-year-old son Dylan and 14-year-old daughter Kaitlyn don’t want to be in the spotlight, in part because of all the travelling required.
His son is studying plumbing at college and his daughter, still in high school, aspires to be a sign-language teacher.
"When my daughter comes home for lunch and she’s got six girlfriends over, she gets a little embarrassed if I happen to be doing a show in town and I walk in in my clown suit," he said.
"She’s like, ‘OK, Dad. Say hello and goodbye. Go on.’"
firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @macintoshmaggie
Updated on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 at 9:30 PM CDT: fixes typo