Laguna Woods Clown Alley helps bring joy to residents

LAGUNA WOODS, Calif. (KABC) -- Some retirees in Laguna Woods are putting their neighbors in a good mood by clowning around. Their Clown Alley has been around for two decades, but has made more of an impact over the past year.

Margo Bender, more appropriately, Curly Q for this story, hasn't always clowned around. It's something she stumbled upon in her retirement after moving to Laguna Woods.

"And it has turned out to be something we all love," she said.

It's not easy to join the Laguna Woods Senior Clown Alley. All potential members must attend a three-month clown college where everything is learned. But the pandemic last year put almost all clowning activity on hiatus, and performing virtually just isn't the same.

Now, with the pandemic loosening its grip on our ability to socialize, the "happiness brigade" is back in the community one day a month.

"We tell some jokes and we talk to them, we do some skits, we do some magic, we sing happy birthday to people who are having birthdays," Curly Q said. "We visit homes for people who sometimes have not been feeling well and would like to have a little extra cheer."

By now, you may be surprised to learn Curly Q had a career as an escrow officer and computer software specialist, even as a high school attendance supervisor. She says this gig is unlike any other, and it feels good to be back.

"What a clown does is bring smiles and happiness to others. But we do it because it really brings smiles and happiness to us," said Curly Q. "Our hearts are so happy."

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