Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Jason. I moved to L.A. in 1992 like so many other people on the planet do every year to pursue a career in acting. I learned the hard way that you have to have at least 3 or more other jobs that you excel at to survive here in the big city while you chase the golden ring trying to “Hit It Big”. It’s extremely difficult to find any type of work out here that gives you the flexibility to take the time off, sometimes at a moments notice, to go to auditions and if you’re really lucky, the occasional acting gig. I didn’t want to be the stereotypical actor/waiter and years after living out here I fell into doing kid’s birthday parties.
I never realized that the competitive and political world of kid’s parties existed until I was in it. While hanging out with friends I often reach into my grab bag of stories and pull out one I think they would enjoy or not believe. I’ve had many a people ask, “How do you remember all these stories?” I tell them it’s simple; I’ve been keeping a journal since I was 18 years old and I have every party I’ve ever done written down. After telling the stories for years a few friends suggested I share some of my experiences with the world and thus I started to write “Hollywood Clown”.
Thanks for visiting!
Jason (AKA Hollywood Clown)
“Dad, I want to write a book.”
“Sounds good to me, son.”
I was 8 years old at the time and I remember the moment well. My parents were recently divorced, I was living with my father on a farm (that became my home for the next 14 years) and I was watching him shave. I’m a creative type and I believe the confused and angry 8-year-old me was dying to express himself. Unfortunately, I was not blessed with legible, pleasant-to-look-at handwriting, and was often told, “You have bad handwriting.” All I heard was, “Bad” and “Writing.” So as far as other people knew, I stopped writing. I would still write stories, songs and the occasional love note to girls I deemed special to me. After they were written, I would go into the woods, read them one last time, get angry that my handwriting was so incredibly terrible and burn them.
Publicly, I found something I did excel at: making people laugh. I wanted to get as far away from Jason Lassen as I could, and acting allowed me to do just that while making others laugh.
Without ever literally putting a pen to paper, I found myself often “writing” skits to perform and film. This continued for years and at the age of 17 I found myself working for our local news station, WNNE 31, filming and writing sports stories. Ironic because I’m not a big sports guy. My handwriting was not an issue because they had a machine I could type my stories on. But really, how difficult is it to recycle color commentating such has, “Player X takes the ball coast to coast for 2!”
My first week in college I started a class called “Freshman Seminar.” Our first assignment was to make a log and keep track of all our activities for the entire quarter. This way we could see where and how we spent our time so that we could learn to manage it properly. Most of the other students didn’t even do the project correctly; they would just fill in what they thought the professor would want to see. Not me, though. If I was taking a shit, getting drunk, or having sex it was going in my chart, damn it.
“Mr. Lassen seems to only be spending a third of one of the fifteen-minute brackets on foreplay. He should try spending at least a whole bracket or more on this task. But I see you’re spending less time in the dining room. Excellent application of the assignment, Jason. Who else has a success story?”
After the class ended, I found myself still keeping a notebook of my daily activities. My journals started off very vague and eventually became full-fledged, very descriptive novels that included my feelings on what was going on in my life. In one year I can fill a five-subject notebook or more.
My entire life since moving to Los Angeles is chronicled; all the jobs I’ve had, all the people I’ve met and all the adventures along the way. This includes all 845 of the kids’ parties I performed at in one way or another. I would usually come home from a day of work, eat Del Taco, have a six-pack and write down what happened at the party.
For years I found myself retelling stories of my experiences and always got the same response: “You should write a book.” The 8-year-old voice inside my head still heard the two words, “Bad” and “Writing.” That was, until May 4th 2004.
After a 4 year silence, I reconnected with an old friend, Ward Grant. Ward was Bob Hope’s publicist, and served as Director of Media and Public Relations for Hope Enterprises Inc. since 1973, coordinating the comedian’s public appearances, TV work, and accompanying him on hundreds of appearances every year. He also helped write and edit Hope’s books, so when he said, “Jason, I think it’s time for you to write that book now,” I took the task seriously for the first time.
For the next 3 years I would write and Ward would mentor me. He also had me write a family friendly sitcom based on my stories, and had me outline the show’s entire first season. Personally, I think a dark and racy version for cable would kick ass, but I never questioned Ward and just did as he instructed. Sadly, Ward passed away from congestive heart failure on January 11th 2007. I was out one mentor, fan and most importantly, a friend.
I was a lost soul in a sea of uncharted waters. To everyone in L.A. I was “Jason, Out-of-Work Struggling Actor” not “Jason, Aspiring Writer.” For the first time since I was 8, I let friends know that I was working on writing and silenced the voice that heard the two words, “Bad” and “Writing.”
I started to pick the brains of all my writer friends I’ve made along the way here in Los Angeles, and asked for help, guidance and advice. Because of all the celebrity stories, I have been told by some that when my book gets published I’ll never work as an actor in this town again. To that I say, “I’m not really working that much as an actor now anyway, so fuck it. And being poor sucks.”
At times the whole publishing world seems like a private, snooty club that doesn’t really want me as a member. I’ve already had one agent I queried tell me, “This book is written for people who don’t read books.” I grew up on a farm in a middle class family. I am the average American. I am you, and that’s how my book is written.