No joke, clown Rollo's in driver's seat to be funny

SHOW TIME: Ken ’George’ Higgs drives the local school bus in the Fassifern region and has performed as Rollo the Clown for 35 years.
SHOW TIME: Ken ’George’ Higgs drives the local school bus in the Fassifern region and has performed as Rollo the Clown for 35 years. Rob Williams

KEN 'George' Higgs goes by many names - Kenny, George, Higgsie - but he is best known as his alter ego, Rollo the Clown.

Mr Higgs has been performing as a clown and all-round entertainer for 35 years and has taken his act all over Australia and internationally.

The first week of August is International Clown Week.

Clowning isn't the only thing George is known for in the local area; he also drives the Peak Crossing State School bus and is popular with the kids.

"The old school bus driver left and I just took over so, even after 20 years, I'm still just going around in circles," he joked.

"It's fun taking the kids to school and picking them up in the afternoon - it gives you something to do in between entertainment, but entertainment is the main thing for me."

Mr Higgs first worked at a meatworks and decided it wasn't for him; he then followed his passion for entertainment and became a DJ and part-time clown.

After that he was employed by Dreamworld as an entertainer and finally he decided to start his own business, Fassifern Entertainment.

"Every time I got a job, they put me in a clown suit and then, about 25 years ago, I decided to take it up full-time and work for myself," he said.

"That's how Rollo started and this is what I've been looking like for the past 25 years."

The self-taught clown says he can't imagine doing anything else.

"I've never really had a nine to five job," he said.

"I love making the kids laugh, having fun and making people happy.

"I ride a unicycle, I juggle, I hire out jumping castles, I do magic... I just taught myself for the first 10 years then, when I started doing this fair dinkum, I started meeting people and then it just snowballed.

"It's one of those jobs where you don't stop learning."

Mr Higgs said his career as a clown had taken him all over the world.

"I went to Thailand for the king's birthday and put a show on for him. I went over with the circus troupe," he said.

"I've been to Taiwan about five times. I've been to Papua New Guinea, Thailand and all over Australia."

Throughout his 35-year career, Mr Higgs has noticed fewer young clowns coming into the entertainment industry.

"I don't see any new clowns coming through so I don't know what's going to happen," he said.

Mr Higgs has no plans to retire in the near future.

"The funny thing is that now I'm doing birthday parties where the dad or the mum says, 'We got you because you came and did my birthday party when I was a kid'," he said.

"When the phone stops ringing, that's when I'll stop and, with bus driving, when the doctors take my licence off me because I'm too old - that'll be the end of that.

"Whether that's now, in a week or in 20 years' time, as long as the phone keeps ringing, I'll keep doing it."



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