Bright red hair, clown face paint, big yellow jumpsuit — these are the instantly recognizable features of American fast food icon Ronald McDonald. We all may know and love this affable, burger-loving clown, but how much do we know about the man behind the red-and-white mask?
Meet Joe Maggard, the eighth of nine men to officially don the iconic Ronald McDonald costume from 1995 to 2007. In a new 6-minute minidoc produced by The Guardian, Maggard opens up about his experience as the mascot. He fondly recalls his years as McDonald's Chief Happiness Officer, and he details his close, personal connection with the clown persona. Things become emotional and strange.
"Joe is present, but no… no, I’m Ronald."
The video begins with a clean-faced Maggard sitting by his pool talking about his initial reluctance to take the job, but that he now feels like the luckiest guy in the world. When asked if he still has his costume on hand, he responds: "The clown’s right in there. The clown’s ready to go. Like any superhero, he's ready."
Then things get surreal, with shots of Maggard passionately singing a karaoke version of "Send In The Clowns." Next, he resumes the interview in full Ronald regalia after applying three hours' worth of makeup. "No longer Joe?" asks the interviewer. "Joe is present, but no… no, I’m Ronald," responds Maggard.
The rest of the video follows Maggard as he attends a Las Vegas carnival in his getup, where he high-fives kids and greets fans. At one point Maggard compares his performance as Ronald to method acting and claims he never really retired since he’s still "serving." He also says he's an advocate for combatting childhood obesity, which seems... counterintuitive.